“Most labour-saving infomercial products are intended for physically disabled users” and “most labour-saving infomercial products are impractical gimmicks that cannot possibly work as advertised” aren’t mutually exclusive propositions. Just, you know, recognise who’s actually being targeted by the scam here.
People without whatever disability the gadget is being marketed to
ameliorate (or “ameliorate”) wouldn’t really have the experiential
qualification to discern the above difference, though, right?
Oh, absolutely. I’m referring to the oft-repeated conversation that goes:
- “Informercial devices are scams, but they’re targeted at stupid lazy people who deserve to get ripped off, so that makes it funny.”
- “Actually, most such devices are intended for physically disabled users, so any criticism of them is presumptively ableist.”
The third leg of the triangle is that consumer fraud in assistive devices and services for physically disabled users is actually a massive ongoing problem, since fraudsters have identified physically disabled folks as a vulnerable population who have very limited ability to seek redress when they get ripped off. The upshot is that a great many of those infomercial widgets really are predatory scams – but not for the reason the chuckleheads in the first bullet point thought they were.
And also financial scams in the tv order business. Someone who can go to the store easily when the gadget hits physical shelves will not be slammed by shipping and handling shenanigans. Someone who needs the convenience of mail-order can be hit by those (‘free’ second item for additional s&h more than both items are worth, unstated s&h more than item is worth, etc). The item can be perfectly fine and useful for the intended purpose but come with charges no one ought to have rightly expected.
Even with reputable avenues, you can end up with things like name brand listings on Amazon being for mislabeled non-brand products. Sometimes even when Amazon’s the seller. Good luck proving it if someone denies it.
And for that matter, someone who can go to a physical store also has a place to return a defective item in person and may be able to physically inspect a sample beforehand. Someone ordering direct from a television ad or the internet doesn’t have that.
You must be logged in to post a comment.