I want to begin by saying that not all infomercials are guilty of promoting poor quality merchandise or that “As Seen on TV” products are inferior. Like, anything else you have to watch for signs that scream “Buyer Beware”. Are they giving two (or three) away for the price of one? How many “special gifts” are you getting just for calling the toll-free number within the next five minutes? If these people are really in business, is it really cost effective after deducting expenses like additional gifts and more product than you probably need, especially since it ‘s supposed to be so revolutionary?
My tale goes back to around 2001 when between weekend programs I saw something described as a “grip and flip” gadget used for cooking. It was a pair of about 4-5 metal wires molded in a teardrop shape attached to a plastic handle about half a foot long and had a spring mechanism. This incredible idea was to free me from grease splatter, dropped or torn foods and other potential kitchen mishaps. They demonstrated this on what we now call a “gourmet burger” and other entrees such as fish and chicken that have some weight. This could also be converted to make a serious spatula that would rival most traditonal models.
I was very impressed because for $19.95 I could get two of these as well as a food chopper – this would free me from having to peel fresh garlic because with one chop the skin would fall right off. The only thing that stopped me at the time was the fact that I did not have a credit card and check by phone was a very new method of payment of which I was leery. Oh well, I needed to call some people so I thought nothing else of it and never saw anything else on the TV that would remind me how much I needed this.
Fast forward to 2003. A co-worker and I are walking around in Pavillion’s (a slightly upscale member of the Safeway family) supermarket and I see it! It is now only $5.99 and I don’t have to wait for it to ship. While in line, I hold the box like it has legs and had no problem showing it to anyone at my job who asked where I went for lunch. Mmmm …burgers and fish with no splatter that might burn my kitchen and give my apartment manager something else to complain about.
Well, the weekend came and I wasn’t in the mood for turkey burgers but quesadillas. As I lay everything down in the skillet, out comes this new, wired flipping thing that will make cooking less of a chore! I grabbed the handle, clicked once to check the spring action, went to grab and flip – it self-destructs right then and there. Now you may say to yourself, Spanish food can be pretty heavy to handle if you’re looking to make a meal out of them. That was just it. These were cheese-only with six-inch tortillas. I was less than happy but realized there were plenty of good ol’ spatulas to help me finish the job.
I never saw them again until recently and the new “Grip and Flip” is made out of a bendable plastic shaped similar to salad tongs and no mechanism – just one unit. Yet underneath, I saw a familiar no-hit wonder now called the “6-n-1”. Based on my experience, that means it unexpectedly goes from one piece into six while in use.