30 April 2009

Consumer Reports turns to the viral video

I have a love/ hate relationship with Consumer Reports. I credit them for doing their part in keeping an informed populace informed and I love them for taking the nutritional supplement snake oil salesmen to task on a regular basis. But when it comes to their reviews of major appliances, cabinetry and other stuff I know a lot about I take their studied opinion with a grain of salt. On the whole though, I'm glad they're there. And now that they own my pals at The Consumerist, I'm beginning to like them all the more.

Anyhow, Consumer Reports has been making a number of videos and several of them turn a skeptical eye to the world of products sold via infomercial.

Not to kick our friend Vince the Shamwow guy when he's down, but here's Consumer Reports' video review of the Shamwow.

Here's their take on the AbRocket and other exercisers:

Here's their take on my favorite, the "Amish" space heater

Finally, here's a final video. It's not related to infomercials but it is something near and dear to my heart. Namely, a ringing endorsement of ammonia as an all-purpose cleaner. Woo hoo! I feel vindicated at last. Clients look at me like I have three heads when I tell that that all they need to clean their new kitchens is a bottle of Parson's ammonia.


  1. I use ammonia! Have for years. And I don't buy all that stupid fancy soap either...at least not after I took college chemistry and found out that soap works by one method only and soaps on the market are simply of more or less dilutions and fancied up with perfumes and scents.
    I love whistleblower, debunking things like this! Thanks for a great post!

  2. Amen! I had a similar epiphany when I learned that detergents' foaming action is entirely manufactured. Real soap produces foam and since most people associate foaming with cleaning, nearly all cleaners add a foaming agent to their formulas. Ridiculous. It's all such a waste of money, and it's fascinating to me to see how many of our cultural ideas about cleanliness are internalized marketing messages. Don't get me started on skin care!

  3. I've always been a fan of Comet, but I'm beginning to think you have it in for poor Vince, the ShamWow guy...

  4. You know, he was just that annoying Shamwow guy until his very public fall from grace. Now he's Vince Schlomi, the annoying Shamwow guy. Everybody knows his name but I wonder if he sees that as a good thing.


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