Any of you who have a television have probably seen an ad for a clever little device that looks useful and that you’ve never seen before . There were the Ronco ads, back in the dark ages — a manual Cuisinart, I think it was…I only noticed because they were louder than whatever my parents were watching. Today, we have the Sham-Wow guy, whose product I confuse with Abby’s favorite “Energizer Bunny” drink, Caf-Pow! (But then I’m an NCIS fan.)
In all these years, I’ve only bought one of these things off the TV ad — but I’ve tried a lot of them with half the items shipped for half the price. Yes, Walgreen’s, Target, Wal-Mart — they all have an end cap called “As Seen On TV!” That’s ASOT — not the greatest acronym, but it will save me time.
And now, I will save you time and money, and speak of many ideas that are well-intentioned, but not always what they seem.
The only ASOT I ordered from the Internet was a product called Nad’s hair removal. It is a mostly room temperature wax that does the job without burning or screwing up your skin. I found out that for me it works great on a bikini line — but not so great anywhere else, because the vast majority of hair on my body is like silk thread. My hair would literally laugh at the Nad’s and slide out of the confining goo. If your hair is medium to coarse textured, you might like the product. The milled soap that comes in the kit is lovely, as is the cream. But you’ll still need a razor for your legs.
Nad’s Hair Removal = B
Then there are the Debbie Meyer bags — Green bags, bread bags, blue bags. They double (at the least) the time veggies and fruits can remain in the fridge. With sourdough bread, it can sit on the counter 10 days without losing softness or flavor — and no mold. The bags should be used for only one thing at a time (do not put bananas and plums in the same bag) and are never tied shut — a slight twist and the weight of the item is all that is needed. Never clean with soap, only rinse with water and air dry. They can be used multiple times.
How well do they work? I adore the green bags — they work like a champ. The enemy is moisture. If you get a lot of condensation, immediately take a paper towel and mop it up before closing the bag again. The place where moisture settles is where the mold will begin. They make a cut of cabbage last a month, or a hard squash for weeks, unchanged. Just remember to remove ALL the packing — I didn’t on something, and now I need to trim and see if what’s left can be green bagged. Bananas also went too fast for me, on the counter – but the ad shows them working, so I may not have remembered to check for condensation in time.
The bread bags also work. I’ve mostly used them for sourdough, but bagels stayed soft and chewy, and tiny muffins also were good. The cheese bags? They are very different — have a zipper — and so far they haven’t worked very well. But I’m not doing a lot of dairy right now, so I may not open it and use it in time.
Green bags = A+, Bread bags = A, Blue bags = C
You know those wonder hangers — you hook five pieces of clothing on the bar, then unhook one end and have a staggered storage? Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, they do work. I bought two packs of them at Wal-Mart and used them in my small apartment closet. They are very hard to assemble for someone whose hands are not strong — but that ball joint doesn’t give out. The problem is, the big C holding the bar in place slowly stretches. Right now those tight Cs look almost twice their height, although they’re still holding.
Buy them for blouses, slips, ties, belts, children’s clothing — but anything with heft, like skirts, dresses, coats or pants, will slowly drag down, position to pop off and finally drop the entire bar of clothing.
Wonder hangers = B-
E-Z-combs, now — there’s an old nightmare. They look like stretch beaded hair combs, but again, these are for women (or men) with a LOT of hair. My fine hair, even immediately after washing, could not hang on to the combs. The instructions say do not nest the two combs into each other — but that was the only way they’d stay for me, and even then they started moving immediately. Construction is not bad, and if you want a basic and a glitz, buy on TV, because the glitz and basics are packed separately for selling in places like Target. They work — but not for everybody.
E-Z-Combs = B
Those little magnetic ceramic blades that look like art deco computer mice and only work when drawn flat across what you’re cutting? The ones you can’t cut yourself with it, unless you try really, really hard?
Dynamite. Buy them! You will want one in every room of your house.
Ceramic Blades (found at Bed, Bath & Beyond) = A++
And lastly, my favorite ASOT. I actually bought my first ones at a craft fair back in the day. Later they showed up as a special at JC Penny’s for holiday gifting. Now? They’re on the ASOT shelf at Walgreen’s.
We’re talking about the Bed Buddy. Hot or cold, simple and oh so useful — and inexpensive, working for years. I keep some at every home I travel to frequently. The very first ones had a washable tube/sack to keep the surface clean on the BB, and they don’t offer it now. Now they also stitch down the long middle to keep too much grain from moving.
Just remember not to overheat, because the insides can fuse together!
Bed Buddy = A+++!
Now…could I really use a Sham-Wow? And why are there no more topsy tail hair do-hickies? My hair is now long enough that it might work!
Ah…they’re still on the Internet! And still “As Seen On TV.”