Monday, October 25, 2010

Legacy of The Weirdo with the Beard-O

Billy Mays has been gone for over a year, but his legacy endures.  What, exactly, is his legacy?  Is it the devastatingly fashionable pairing of blue shirts with khaki pants?  Is it sporting facial hair that makes barbers and hairless young men cry?  No, his legacy is found in cupboards, closets, drawers, and garages across America.  Useless crap that solves a non-existent problem yet somehow simplifies your life while cluttering up your house.

I'm willing to bet that you've seen some of his commercials a time or two.  That is, unless you've been living under a rock for the last ten years.  Or if you're one of those pseudo-intellectuals who likes to claim that you not only "never" watch television, but you don't even own one.  Somehow watching television programming and movies on your laptop is okay though, amirite?

Here's the skinny on each and every one of his commercials:  A bunch of morons demonstrate that they should not be trusted to walk among us in normal society.  Seriously, the most mundane tasks are a challenge for these dolts and I wonder how they were capable of getting out of bed in the morning.  Putting a nail in the wall?  Too difficult!  Grating cheese?  It's so hard!  Making a hamburger patty?  Impossible!  They put on a ridiculously sad face and are, no doubt, lamenting that they are such dipshits.  At that point, our esteemed pitchman arrives on the scene and screams, "BILLY MAYS HERE. . ." and he explains that you just can't live without a metal hook to hang things on your wall, a cheese grater that is a plate, or a mold to make hamburgers. 

His message was pretty simple:  Chaos ensues if you don't buy Hercules Hooks, Grater Platers, or Big City Slider Stations.  Then he appeals to our desire to get a good bargain.  See, this crap is actually worth $40 or more, but they are able to sell it for $19.99 (+ Shipping & Handling).  But WAIT!  If you call in the next ten minutes, they will double your order. . .blah, blah, blah. 

Why have one plate that grates cheese when you can have two?  I always wondered why you would need two of the exact same object.  It just seems to scream that the item must be totally flimsy crap that would break if you gave it so much as a hard look.  Am I alone in not understanding the appeal of the double your order offer?

Perhaps I'm being too harsh on The Weirdo with the Beard-O.  Some of the stuff that he hawked actually does work.  OxiClean and Kaboom! both come to mind, but the vast majority of the items he represented were completely unnecessary useless junk.

His commercials were so pervasive and he was so persuasive that thousands upon thousands of television viewers succumbed to his sales pitch and picked up the phone (or the laptop) with credit card in hand.  Maybe even someone you know.  After all, if you buy in the next ten minutes they will double your order. . .of course, the additional shipping charges are quickly glossed over.  But you should call and call right now!

Unfortunately, the people who are most susceptible to this sales style are generally the least able to afford whatever is being pitched.  Not that any of it was expensive, but making credit card purchases when you are already in debt is the worst thing you can do.  If there is one thing that people with a spending problem love to do, it's whip out credit cards and spend money that they do not have.

I guess that's his real legacy.  An America deeper in debt, but with a bunch of stupid gadgets in our kitchens and garages.  Thanks, Billy Mays, thanks a lot!

But never fear, compulsive spenders of the United States, Vince has stepped in to fill the super-sales void with Sham-Wows and Slap Chops.  Call now and he'll send you two Slap Chops plus a Graty!  Wonderful, just wonderful.

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