ShamWow, PedEgg and Snuggie are true As Seen On TV classics -- and goldmines -- that celebrate the innovative, outlandish spirit of the industry; and the impressionable, impulsive issues of people who buy these things -- like me.
So Consumer Ally asked the question: Do they work?The Product: ShamWow
The Price: Online offer $14.95 plus $7.95 shipping and handling: $9 for two in stores
The Claims: Easily removes cola, wine and pet stains
Buy-O-Meter Rating: 2
ShamWow is a square of felty-feeling cloth that claims to quickly and completely soak up big spills and little piddles. The infomercial, with its Boardwalk pitchman and his ShamWow sleight of hand, says the cloth holds 12 times its weight in liquid. And that could be true, if you soaked the cloth in a pail of water, not a common cleanup chore.
But ShamWow's theatrics don't mean it's good for most everyday uses. It will clean up a counter top soda spill. But it leaves a wet film, which you must grab with a paper towel.
The infomercial shows ShamWow effortlessly sucking up a cola spill on a carpet. But when I poured a cup of water onto my rug, ShamWow took up a bit of the liquid, but the rest stayed no matter how much I blotted and pounded.
You can wash ShamWow, which is nice and better than adding more trash to the world. But the idea of using ShamWow to clean up after my puppy, and then throwing it in the washer, is kinda gross.
(Here's the original infomercial)
The Product: PedEgg foot file
The Price: Internet offer: $10 plus $6.99 shipping and handling. $10 in stores
The Claims: Gently removes callouses and dead skin
Buy-O-Meter Rating: 4
I want to give a shout-out to PedEgg's marketing department for creating a transparent website that clearly states the product's price and shipping and handling charges: no funny business about handing over my credit card before I know what I'm paying.
I like the PedEgg, a palm-sized callous remover inspired by the micro-cheese graters that some women use to scrape their feet.
The PedEgg is easy to hold and good at sanding rough, dry skin. Too good, sometimes, because if you're not careful, you also can rub away young, healthy skin, and then feel raw for a day or two.
PedEgg's file fits into a shell that collects skin cells as you smooth away evidence that you walk the earth -- usually in too-tight shoes. And the hull does catch the filings if you file the bottom of your heels.
But when sanding the sides of your feet, gravity works against the PedEgg, and shavings float to the ground like a dusting of snow. It's awkward emptying the PedEgg because the grate fits so tightly into the hold. More than once I pulled the two apart and ended up with a mound of skin on my bath mat.
The Product: Snuggie: The blanket with sleeves
The Price: Online $14.95 plus $7.95 shipping and handling: $10 in stores
The Claims: Keeps you totally warm and gives you the freedom to use your hands
Buy-O-Meter Rating: 3
How did the world survive winter without Snuggie, the ubiquitous and "original" fleece blanket with sleeves? From the amount of media attention it gets, you'd think there's a Snuggie in every pot.
I've been lounging in a leopard-print Snuggie for a couple of weeks. The sleeves don't add much to the experience. They're so wide, they don't keep you warmer than a blanket or as warm as a sweater.
The Snuggie is comfortable -- my dogs love to lie on it -- and toasty enough with or without the sleeves. But lounging is the only thing you can do when your arms are surrounded by Snuggie. The thing's so long, it's easy to get tangled up in the bottom when making a refrigerator run. So sitting on a sofa is your safest bet in a Snuggie.
Also, the Snuggie is open in the back, like a hospital gown. The temperature differential between back and front is very disconcerting.
I mostly use the Snuggie as a throw: The sleeves, I can live without.