A seemingly innocuous sign on a drugstore shelf: “As Seen On TV.”
As seen on TV AND in the vast array of colorful, cluttered mail order catalogs that show up in my mailbox every weekday. As Bought By the Easily Duped, the gullible, the ever hopeful.
Because, at the root of it all, lies hope—the hope that this one product will solve all our problems, cure all ails, or at least the pesky ones that routinely annoy us.
From ridding us of the dark creeping mold spotting our bathroom grout to the wrinkles clustered around our eyes, these products offer the promise of a far better life than the miserable, angst-ridden one we’re living.
IT’S THE LAST NAIL CLIPPER YOU’LL EVER BUY!
IT’S THE LAST ULTRA-SONIC PEST CONTROL PISTOL YOU’LL EVER NEED!
IT’S THE LAST STEM CELL THERAPY WRINKLE CREAM YOU’LL EVER BUY!
And it’s the last garden hose you’ll ever buy.
In fact, you’ll pray for a drought so that you can rush outside, lovingly lift this hose off its support and dance through your yard, sprinkling, spraying, and bringing new life to your parched landscape. If this hose were attached to a maypole, it couldn’t provide any more delight.
After months of being badgered by my mother to buy this hose, I finally gave in. Given that my mother weighs 11 pounds, making sure that she had a lighter-weight hose to drag through my yard seemed like the daughterly thing to do. To be honest, though, watching her drag my existing garden hose across my flower beds, knocking flowers off, crushing tender shoots, pulling up newly planted specimens, and ripping off not yet ripened veggies, brought me to that moment of desperation when finally I drove over to my drug store and bought the AMAZING Pocket Hose. It would solve all our problems.
The insert that came with it contained more instructions and warnings than people find accompanying their gas grill. It warned the user to watch out for the whip-like reaction once attached and water turned on. “Facial Injuries” shouldn’t be included in the warnings list for a garden hose, should they? Seems to me that this supple, lightweight hose ought not to require so much forceful restraining, but apparently, once water has entered its cavity, it turns into a convulsing, writhing beast. Perhaps describing this hose during operation as an Angry Boa Constrictor-in-a-Box might have been more truth in advertising than what was provided.
The instructions warn the user to turn the water on slowly to allow the hose to accommodate the volume. Okay, fine. I’ll add a few minutes onto the watering chore. I’ve got nothing else to do today, after all.
I stood, mesmerized, while I watched the hose uncoil. Its tightly constrained folds expanded. It grew longer and longer. I lifted it. IT WAS SO LIGHTWEIGHT! What a thrill! It had solved our problems! My mom was giddy and anxious to use it herself.
The next day, I went outside with my mom to use it again and to show her how.
Like so many household products advertised on TV and in the catalogs, obviously the purchaser is assured only one – 1 – ONE use and then the damn thing breaks.
It. Was. Broken.
I paid twenty dollars for this piece of junk. My brother happened to be standing there at the time. He told me that he had gone online to check the reviews for this product and discovered that, universally, no one got any more uses out of it than one. And, yet, the thing is still being hawked through various venues. GADZOOKS.
Abject misery and weeks of depression were avoided because, fortunately, I found the receipt for the defective product.
I rode my bike back to the drug store, took it to the counter, and explained to the clerk what the problem was. She was unmoved by my hysteria. When will I realize that the person behind the counter doesn’t give a twiddlydoo about the products being returned to the store? It doesn’t matter how hard I try to convince them that the product’s manufacturer is running a scam and every item ought to be torn from their shelves and sent back with a curse-filled letter demanding a full refund. No, the clerk stands there stoically nodding, wishing I would just go away.
So, here I am then, telling all of my readers, most of whom do pay attention to what I say:
DO NOT BUY THE AMAZING POCKET HOSE!
Don’t buy the Car Swivel Tray or the Bracelet Buddy, either.