I hate to call this column 2010's Worst of As Seen On TV products. It's so negative. It's so Grinchy. It's so exactly-what-I-mean.
Let's just say that the following infomercial products stand out -- and not in a good way -- among the dozens I've tested and reviewed since beginning this column in April.The Product: Shake Weight
The Claims: Tones and firms arms in just six minutes a day
The Price: $20 in stores
I just received a long letter from Shake Weight talking about the exercise science behind this phallic looking, pumping dumbbell that claims to tone shoulders and arms in just a few minutes a day.
Of course, shaking two pounds of anything -- a pineapple, jug of milk -- for six minutes a day is bound to tone biceps and triceps and won't cost $20. When I tried the Shake Weight, which I found tedious as well as ridiculous, my neck seized up and hurt for days.
Granted, Shake Weight has received enormous national attention. But I think the product's pumping, throbbing, tongue-in-cheek (if you know what I mean) infomercial is the key to its success.
The Product: BarkOff
The Claims: Trains dogs to stop barking anytime, anywhere
The Price: $10 in stores
BarkOff is a palm-sized dog silencer that promises to stop Fido's barking with ultrasonic waves that only dogs can hear.
I tried BarkOff on Rosie, my cute but yappy dog who goes crazy when the doorbell rings. Not only did BarkOff not silence my dog, it made her mad and she barked at the gadget.
BarkOff didn't work on my neighbor's nonstop barker, either.
BarkOff claims to stop barking anytime, anywhere.
Evidently, anywhere but here.
The Product: Jupiter Jack
The Claims: Turns your car radio into a hands-free phone.
The Price: $5-$10 in stores
Jupiter Jack promises to turn any cell phone into a hands-free device, and any car radio into a wireless speaker. It is supposed to help motorists comply with local laws that prohibit drivers from playing with their cell phones while navigating the road.
Jupiter Jack, however, is an iffy gadget that overstates its ability when it puts "any" before phone and car.
I tested the Jupiter Jack on three cars. And it performed loudly and clearly on only one.
Will it work on yours?
Don't know. Can't tell. Which is why I say, "Hit the road, Jack!"
Biggest As Seen on TV Disappointments of 2010