I am a sucker. This is no secret. I can’t watch the shop at home channels because I will end up in the poor house. Every time I see something advertised on TV, curiosity gets the best of me and sometimes I’ve been known to break down and buy stuff. Most of the time whatever I buy never works like it does on TV. If you’re a sucker like me or if you’re just curious if the product is as good as it sounds, here is a buying guide for the five most popular products sold on TV.

  • The Shake Weight


    We have all seen the ridiculous commercial for it and it claims to sculpt your arms in just six minutes per day by shaking this thing around. The workout on the DVD actually takes nine minutes which isn’t too bad. Most importantly, though, it works. However, if you’re not willing to spend $24.95 plus shipping on the Shake Weight, you can always buy dumbbells. A test conducted with a group of people who worked out with two and a half pound dumbbells for 30 minutes a day, three days a week actually had better results.

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  • The ShamWow


    Remember Vince from the Slap Chop commercials? Well, he and his headset are back hawking a towel that’s supposed to absorb 12 times its weight in liquids, plus it’s supposed to be good for cleaning electronics like TVs and computer monitors. The good news is that ShamWow actually holds 13 times its weight in liquids, but the bad news is that it loses its absorbency after just a few washings. My parents own this and they love it! Tests show, though it was good for cleaning electronics, overall a regular towel worked fine for most spills.

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  • The Magic Jack


    This piece of crap plugs into your computer and uses the Internet to make calls for just $20 a year. The sound quality is terrible and 911 can’t find you. It’s probably OK for a second phone line, but I wouldn’t chance it as your first choice for making calls.

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  • UGlu


    Their slogan is “The strength of super glue with the convenience of tape.” So, basically it’s double sided tape on steroids. Most of the things we glued held together even when they got wet including: metal, wood, plastic and fabric but the bond seemed to weaken once heat was applied. It’s fine for small fixes (a fallen hem, broken toy, chipped porcelain figurine) but it didn’t hold up to the weight test, so don’t try and glue your helmet to a metal beam and expect to stay there.

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  • The NuWave Pro Infrared Oven


    It’s only worth paying $150 for if you don’t have a regular oven. It does cook your food faster, mostly because you don’t have to preheat it, but it dries out your food and it’s no good if you want to reheat stuff. It doesn’t cook pizzas, so it’s off my gift registry.

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