As Seen On TV, But Not In My House

by Jessica Azar
Originally Published: 

My kids go berserk whenever a commercial for some off-the-wall toy comes on TV while they’re watching a show. First, they scream for me to come look at the amazing piece of crap until I quit doing whatever I’m doing to stop and stare at the TV with them. Once I’ve had five seconds to look at it, they alternate between begging me to buy it in the style of Oliver Twist and making a case for why it’s the best thing ever.

Thanks to our TV, I already deal with this on a daily basis at home, but then one day they discovered that Walmart has an entire store section devoted to this crap. So, when all I want to buy is a laundry basket and some chicken, I’m instead bombarded with pleas for things like SpongeBob Chia Pets. “As Seen on TV” is coming at me from all sides.

Here are a few of my “favorite” items of As Seen on TV merchandise and why I will never buy them.

Squishy Sand

This product promises that it won’t stick to anything, including hands and hard surfaces, which, according to their deluded logic, makes it a perfect indoor toy! Um, no. I’ve battled the devil’s dust known as Moon Sand, which promises the same thing. Its granules will get into my carpet and likely harden like Play-Doh over time, and I spend enough time cleaning crap off the floor. Also, my kids would probably try to put it in each other’s eyes to see if it hurts like real sand. Just no.

Juggle Bubbles

This stuff is advertised as a special bubble solution that can be blown into bubbles that will not pop even as you bounce them around as long as you wear the special gloves. So, what they are really telling me is that I have to buy a pair of these gloves and solution for each of my kids, because if I don’t, they will torture each other by popping each other’s bubbles with ungloved hands. What happens when the bubbles hit something other than the gloves? Do they burn your skin? Do they smell like those nasty chemical-scented plastic bubbles we used to beg our moms to buy from the grocery store? If so, heck no. My kids need all of the brain cells they can manage to hold onto, thanks.

Party in the Tub Light

Bath time is hell on earth at my house, and I’m not turning out the lights in the bathroom so that this thing can do its stuff. Wet floor + lights off = me falling on my butt. Call me crazy, but I’m not anxious to turn my kids’ bathroom into a freaking strip club. I know the kids are naked because, well, it’s bath time, but I try to run a family-friendly environment around here. The infomercial touts it as a fun solution to get your preteens to get clean by having a “Party in the Shower” with this stuck on the wall. Let me just create a Ginuwine and R. Kelly playlist for them while I’m at it! What next, dance lessons on DVD from Channing Tatum?

Um, no…for them, anyway. Now that I think about it, this might make a heck of a Valentine’s Day gift for my husband.

Hamper Hoops

Aw, how clever! The creators of this product think that by putting a hamper that looks like a basketball hoop on my kids’ closet door that they will actually throw their dirty clothes in it! Wrong. Clothes would, of course, continue to be thrown down wherever they’re stripped off, but now the Hamper Hoops would also be used to house the evidence of things that they aren’t supposed to have (like candy wrappers). And of course they would attempt to slam dunk and thus hang on the Hamper, leading to things being broken and a possible urgent care visit for my NBA wannabe. Ain’t nobody got time for that, especially this mama.

Tummy Stuffers

These things are designed to be a way for kids to clean up their room by stuffing everything that’s out of place (most likely the entire contents of the room, if it’s my kids) into a stuffed animal with an expanding gullet. First of all, they need to learn to put their stuff where it actually goes and not in a toy. Secondly, not everything in their rooms should be shoved into the same container. My youngest still wears a Pull-Ups diaper at night and often pulls it off before coming out of her room in the morning. She has been known to throw it under her toddler bed instead of in the trash can 10 feet away. Now I ask you, would you want a pee-soaked Pull-Ups thrown in the same plush, fabric bag with clothes, toys and a sippy cup? Yuck, no. There’s no telling what other kinds of additional nastiness my boys would stuff into a Tummy Stuffer, so I’m going to pass.

The As Seen on TV marketers brilliantly turn kids into veritable sales hounds who their parents can’t escape. It’s much like having a used car salesman with a high-pitched voice follow me home, harass me nonstop, then wake me up at 6 a.m. to give me his pitch yet again. The diabolical producers of crap know their commercials are adding fuel to the fires of parental frustration and exhaustion, which will surely lead to sales made in moments of sheer desperation. If the day should ever come when I’m finally worn down enough to pick up the phone and order something from As Seen on TV, I just pray that it’s for something useful like a Channing Tatum dance lessons DVD and not the Tummy Stuffer.

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