Frugality, Motivation, Random Thoughts

What I Have Learned From Watching Television Shopping Networks

A few nights ago, I couldn’t fall asleep.  So, I got out of bed and did a little ‘channel surfing’.

Between reruns of Sports Center and The Andy Griffith Show, I spent a few hours watching a couple of ‘television shopping networks’.

Now, I’m hooked.  Not on the products – but on the way that the products are presented and promoted.

Here’s what I have learned –

Every product was presented as a ‘special value’ or ‘amazing deal’.

As each host introduced a new product, a little box, with product details, would appear on the left-hand side of the screen.  And, inevitably, the text would state – ‘special value’ or ‘first time offer’ or something similar.

Each product was promoted by a product specific ‘host’ and a product-specific ‘guest’.

It was amazing.  As a new product was introduced, a special ‘guest’ would appear to talk about and promote the product.  The host and the guest would interact and exclaim how ‘special’ or ‘nice’ or ‘breathtaking’ or ‘unique’ each product was.

Callers would call in – and want to talk to the host, like they were old friends.

Callers called in and spoke to either the host or the guest, or both.  And, inevitably, the caller would say something nice – really nice – about the PERSON to whom they were talking.  Yes, the caller would mention the product – and how they ‘loved it’ – but, the key to the whole ‘call in’ segment appeared to be the callers’ desires to talk to the various hosts.  It was amazing.

Products were always available ‘at a special price’ or ‘via flex pay’.

No matter what the product was – a set of pillow cases, a pair of earrings, a power tool – the host would mention that it was on ‘sale’.  And, sure enough, on the graphic, the ‘original price’ would have a ‘strike through’ and the ‘value price’ would be highlighted.  On top of that, most items were available on ‘flex pay’ – where they charge your credit card for 1/2 or 1/3 of the payment, two or three months in a row.  Again, callers ‘loved!” this feature – and many remarked how ‘easy this made it for me to purchase’.

The setting for each product was custom-designed to evoke a specific mood and reaction.

I noticed, for instance, that when they sold a particular toilet cleaning product, the entire ‘stage’ became a well-lit, beautifully decorated bathroom.  When they were selling clothing, each item was shown on a different size model.  In fact, ‘plus size’ models were featured.  The entire production evoked a sense of ‘connection’ between the customer and the product.

Each host had her / his own way of promoting the product, but all of them knew how to steer the conversation back to the ‘wonderful product’.

Again, no matter what the ‘guest’ or ‘caller’ might say, the host had an uncanny ability to promote the product.  Over and over and over again, the product was ‘my favorite’ or ‘the third one I’ve owned’ or ‘my mom’s perfect gift’.  Not only did they sell the product, they sold their ‘love’ for the product.

Every item was ‘almost sold out’ or ‘available in limited supply’.

No matter the item, the color, the size, or the quantity – Near the end of each segment, it would be ‘nearly sold out’.  And, as the host talked to the ‘producer’ – she’d be informed that those who ‘called right now’ could be assured that the product would be available, but they needed to call ‘right now’.

Some thoughts –

I have never purchased anything from a ‘home shopping network’.

I find it fascinating (perplexing, and a bit sad) that the callers seemed to consider the hosts to be their ‘friends’.

I wish that I could promote ‘debt reduction’ with the same fervor that these folks promote ‘products’.

I find it odd that after years of selling products via television, these networks still ‘run out’ of items to sell.

Surely, they really are running out?  Right?  They wouldn’t, you know, lie to us?  Would they?

Put the card away, be thankful for the stuff you already own, and call your real friends –

Tell THEM how wonderful THEY are.

You’ll save money, you won’t have to make payments, and you’ll be talking to someone who really wants to hear from YOU!

And, late at night, when you can’t sleep, come back here and read through the No Credit Needed archives!

But, hurry!

Supplies are limited!

4 thoughts on “What I Have Learned From Watching Television Shopping Networks

  1. I completely agree that the hosts are using all the tricks in the book to part viewers with their money. And before I met my mother-in-law, I used to think people who bought from QVC and HSN were quite weird.

    But while I would hate to see my in-laws’ credit card bill, I’ve changed my tune quite a bit. I’ve been the lucky recipient of many items purchased on these networks – the quality is quite good, and the prices often are fantastic. I have bought a few things myself, but a few – the key, as with all shopping is discipline.

    One particular bargain that comes to mind is a set of 40 gift bags including matching tissue paper that I purchased a while ago. I generally save any gift bag we receive that is in good enough condition to be re-used; however, I’d discovered that my supply was low and I infinitely prefer having a bunch on hand so that I don’t have to make a last-minute dash to a store and spend more than necessary. While channel-surfing, I saw that QVC was selling the gift bag set and that the price worked out to less than $1 per bag, including S&H. The bags are of good quality and I’m happy I bought them – although I would have paid the same price for fewer bags of more sizes. (I realize I can just use gift wrap, which is cheapest of all, but that doesn’t really work for a gift composed of several different pieces.)

  2. Every now and then when I’ve been channel surfing I’d stop momentarily on a shopping network but the stuff they were selling at that particular time had no interest for me.

    I am amazed, though, at how many celebrities tend to go on and sell stuff and sometimes the “teaser” makes it sound like it’s going to be an in depth interview.

    I wouldn’t watch as long as you did. I’m afraid I might buy something. 🙂

  3. My personal favorite home shopping channel is the jewelry channel. The piece goes on sale for ridiculous prices but then as more people call in the price lowers and what ever the last piece sold for everyone pays.

    I’ve personally never bought anything from these shows, but you can’t help but love to watch them for their comedic value.

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