October 6, 2011
Life is a journey. A journey littered with the temptations of gizmos "As Seen on TV."
Perhaps that journey starts in your car where you notice that the inside windshield is just filthy. There's an app(liance) for that. Onward to the muddy soccer field to watch your kid play, then home for snack time and some mending.
Ah, and to think that all these activities can be enhanced by the magic of products you've seen on television! Or not. I enlisted a couple of gal pals, Mary and Georgia, and we tested a half-dozen of these would-be miracle products to see if they lived up to all the high-volume TV huckster hype. You'll be shocked to learn that not a single one was perfect. But some were a lot better than others.
THE WINDSHIELD WONDER ($9.88 reduced to $5) is a sort of washcloth on a stick for the inside of your windshield. "You won't know how you lived without it," says the ad hype, and removable handle means "it fits in glove box."
What they don't say on TV: It's bulky and there's no way it's going to fit in your glove box unless there's nothing else in there. It won't be long before you lose the handle and both of those little green absorbent "bonnets" (as the company calls them) that clean the windshield.
Ellen says: Don't bother
THE AMAZING POCKET CHAIR ($9.88 reduced to $5) lets you "take a seat anywhere."
What they don't say on TV: Who has pockets big enough for this heavier-than-it-looks thing? It requires serious strength to set up, and adults beware: Only about half of your rear will fit on the skimpy seat.
Ellen says: Good for kids
CLEAN STEP MAT ($19.88) "absorbs mud like magic." It's "perfect for pets and kids" because "no need to wipe feet."
What they don't say on TV: Yes, you do too have to wipe your feet — vigorously — to get the mud off. And it takes forever to dry. Good luck getting your dogs or your kids to stand there and wipe their paws/feet long enough to actually get the mud off. It works, but it's not magic.
Ellen says: Take a pass
DELUXE GOPHER PICK UP & REACHING TOOL ($9.88) "extends your reach nearly three feet," eliminating "bending, climbing or straining" with "suction cups for better grip."
What they don't say on TV: Too flimsy to pick up items weighing more than a few ounces, this model broke almost immediately. Suction cups get in the way so you can't pick up a piece of paper easily either.
Ellen says: Just awful
ONE SECOND NEEDLE ($9.88 reduced to $5 for set of 8) means, "No more struggling to find the eye of your needle. …You can thread it blindfolded."
What they don't say on TV: Not made for bigger sewing projects since the larger head makes you tug harder than with a traditional needle. The free sewing kit that came with it was junk. One of the needles was defective, but the others you really could thread with eyes closed. Excellent for small jobs.
Ellen says: A problem solved!
EGGIES ($9.88 for set of six) allow you to cook hard-boiled eggs without the shell so you'll "never peel a hard-boiled egg again."
What they don't say on TV: The cooked egg is flat on top, making it ridiculously misshapen for deviled eggs. Four pieces of plastic for each Eggie is way too much to keep track of. And peeling a hard-boiled egg is the very least of my cooking woes.
Ellen says: Too much trouble
Copyright © 2015 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC