Operators are Standing By

My brother Tod Goldberg, in his Las Vegas Mercury column this week, recounts what he learned during his one year foray in the infomercial business:

1. When they say, “If you call now, we’ll cut the price in half,” what they mean is, if you call at any time, ever. And when they say operators are standing by, they mean minimum wage, barely literate mutants who will, at any given time, give the home phone number of an account executive out to a dissatisfied owner of a facial product that purports to make you look 20 years younger but that usually is about as effective as a bottle of Jergens, are standing by.

2. There exists a gold-plated ThighMaster.

3. If the company you work for gets rid of the free bagels and coffee and fires people in the Human Resources Department, it’s time to begin preparing your resume.

4. If someone from a Chilean port city calls to complain about receiving a massive shipment of therapeutic rice-filled pillows infested with vermin, just take a message, quietly log out of your computer, say goodbye to all your friends and exit the building immediately.

5. When preparing to launch the Ed McMahon Miracle Fryer infomercial, do not ask in the middle of a meeting, “Isn’t it weird that there isn’t anything remotely miraculous about this product and that no actual frying takes place?”

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