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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ginzu Psychology

Ginzu knives. You know the product. You can't find them at local stores, but with this televised offer, you can get them now. Operators are standing by.

That's an infomercial for you. Hawked on TV channels at times otherwise reserved for test patterns, infomercials demonstrate to you products that you simply cannot do without. The products of course create no muss, have no fuss, and perform genuine miracles. And better yet, you see them making succulent pot roast, toning perfect bodies, and sculpting perfect julienne fries. The perfect product is received in a perfect way as breathless and excited, the audience coos and applauds rapturously, prompted on by ecstatic delirium of the host.

Of course, when you finally get the miracle product, it doesn't do the job, breaks after a week, and is far less functional than the can opener, pressure cooker, or dumbbell it replaced. Which explains why local stores don't carry such junk, namely because it's easier to bring your dull ginzu back to a Wal-Mart than mail it back to a p.o. box in Costa Rica. Now of course, we all feel dumb after we buy this crap, but at least we have the alibi that we saw the darn thing in action.

Unfortunately, when it comes to another type of infomercial, we don't even have this excuse. I am of course referring to the most nefarious infomercial product of them all: the self help video, course, or tape. Self help infomercials, whether they help you earn a million or feel like a million, don't even explain their product, they just have testimonials for the product. That means that you won't see or learn how this information works, you just have to take the word from those very satisfied and genuinely honest customers whose lives have been profoundly changed by that information. Of course, unlike a ginzu knife, you can't bring information back when it invariably doesn't work, which of course isn't their fault because you haven't followed their instructions to begin with. So there you have it, the perfect infallible product: you buy it in ignorance, use it ignorantly, and when it fails it's because you're an utter ignoramus. Makes you want to become a psychologist, a con artist with dignity!

And of course, I'm right. Just take my word for it, of course.

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