Wow! What a Sham!

There is a product out there called the “Shamwow.”  It is a synthetic version of the old fashioned chamois that people used to wash their cars.

The chamois (pronounced “shammy”) is made of leather from deer or, originally, from the goat-antelope called the chamois which roams the mountains of southern Europe.  No kidding!  It is known to be agile, but apparently not agile enough to avoid being turned into car washing products.

The Shamwow is not made of goat-antelopes or deer, so that’s nice.  They are primarily sold at fairs by hucksters, and now on television by those very same hucksters who do their fair sales pitches for the camera.

One such commercial came on the other day, and the remote was too far away to reach without moving, (remember, it was pretty hot) so I watched it.  The huckster showed us how the Shamwow picked up lots of water and had a ten year guarantee, and lots of other things.

As with all infomercial sorts of commercials, the product will save you money!  He made the case for the Shamwow by saying that you could save $20 per month on paper towels. Does anybody spend $20 on paper towels per month?  I can’t imagine a household with that many spills.

One of the big selling points for the Shamwow is that it is made in Germany.  While it is true that the Porsche and BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) are also made in Germany, I’m sure that there are some really crumby products made in Germany too.  For example, there’s that combination hot dog holder/beer mug called the (wait for it) Frank ‘n stein.

Consumer Reports seemed to think that the Shamwow isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but that publication sometimes has an attitude about popular products, so it could be the Shamwow is just fine.

The Shamwow website claims that CNBC has called the Shamwow infomercial the best one ever.  Having the best infomercial is kind of like having the best yeast infection.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the Shamwow is that the name contains the word “sham.”  I’m not saying the Shamwow is a sham, but if it is, nobody can accuse the sellers of false advertising.

When I go to the Wisconsin State Fair, I like to watch the hucksters sell their stuff.  Some of the products really look pretty good, but I am reluctant to buy them, since I know I am easily persuaded by smooth operators like the Shamwow hawker.  I’m probably missing out, but it seems like the few times I’ve bought something at the fair I’ve been disappointed.

Jerry Seinfeld says that he can’t believe he picked up the phone late at night and ordered the Ginsu knives after realizing that none of his knives would cut through his shoes.  I wonder if you could use the Shamwow to wash your Ginsu knives…


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