Every once in a while, a new snake oil salesman of late night bursts into the scene, complete with his own shtick. Back in the 90’s, the Grandfather of Infomercials Ron Popeil flashed his Joker-like veneered smile. The early part of this decade was ruled by Billy Mays, his oxford shirt, and his perfectly groomed beard. Now there appears to be a new player on the scene — Offer “ Vince” Shlomi, crooked faced pitchman of the ShamWow!
Here at We Took The Bait, we try our best not to judge people based on their looks, but let’s be frank: Vince Shlomi looks like a total creeper. He looks like a guy you might see peering through the window of a junior high locker room with one hand on a video camera, and the other on… well, you get the picture. Still, the fact that he punched a hooker in the face doesn’t mean that the ShamWow! doesn’t work, right? Vince Shlomi might be a Grade A Douchenozzle, and The ShamWow! just might be the most parodied infomercial product in history, but if it can absorb my messes and dry my yacht then I might be able to resist making fun of his weird face and prostitute assaulting tendencies in the future. For a day. Until we review The Slap Chop.
The ShamWow! isn’t a new invention by any means. My Dad has used chamois like these to dry his car for decades, but Shlomi would like us to believe that the ShamWow! is somehow superior to other chamois because it’s made in Germany. Those Germans make great things apparently like… uhm, Volkswagen? BMW? Liederhosen? Wienerschnitzel? Heidi Klum? Oh yes, Deutschland is known around the world for being on the forefront of absorbent towel technology.
I was really excited to review the ShamWow! because I rarely get a chance to spill shit all over my kitchen just for kicks. I armed myself with a couple cans of Coke, and paid a visit to our local drugstore to purchase the ShamWow!, avoiding the S & H charges and paying just $19.99 for a box that included four large chamois and four smaller chamois. Although eight towels may seem like overkill, it’s important to note that the ShamWow!, while machine washable, shouldn’t be used in a clothes dryer. Considering these things (supposedly) hold 20X their own weight in liquid, I can’t even imagine how long it may take them to air dry, meaning you might actually need all eight towels in rotation if you have a large family.
I decided to start small, spilling about a quarter of a soda can on my counter to see how quickly the towel could absorb. True to its word, it sopped up all the coke, and left the counter virtually dry with absoutely no effort.
So far, so good, but not anything that a paper towel can’t do. Despite what Creeper McCreepson might want me to believe, there is no way that we spend “twenty bucks a month on paper towels anyway.” I don’t know anyone who spends $20 a month on paper towels. I’m tempted to say that maybe the family with 18 kids out in Arkansas does, but they seem more like a cloth napkin type of family, don’t they?
Moving on to the next surface, the kitchen rug. Please note that although I went into this review with an open mind, there is so way in hell that I was spillling something on a rug that set me back more than $9.99 at Target. I spilled a nice big spot of Coke on the rug, gave it a couple of seconds to really soak in, and then blotted it as instructed – sort of rolled it over the wet spot and then kneaded the chamois with my knuckles over the surface of the spill.
Oh no! I’ve spilled a cola!
Allegedly absorbing 50% of my cola right here.
As you can see, the ShamWow! did manage to absorb some of the liquid. Not all of it by any means, but enough of it to make the spill control a success. But is this really anything special? I’m going to let you in on a little secret here: it’s a towel. That’s what it’s supposed to do. Yes, it’s a really absorbent towel, and yes, it likely does the job that it would take two rags to do, but is it really something you have to have? Is it going to replace all the other towels in your house and revolutionize the way you wipe up spills? No. Plus, it kind of stinks. Whatever that thing is made out of – the pelt of the elusive German chamoisbeast or something- it smells similar to a middle school bathroom.
I have a lot of rags at my house, and they absorb shit all the time and never get any glory for it. No one in their right mind would pay $20 for eight pieces of the old t-shirts with ring-around-the-collar, boxer shorts with shot elastic, and flannel shirts that my husband wore in 1992, but they do just as good of a job cleaning up spills as the ShamWow! Neither one of them has any magical attribute that prevents or cures stains, so if you’re counting on the ShamWow! to save your ass when you spill your fifth big old glass of red wine all over your white shag carpet, you are sadly out of luck. I’d recommend dropping to your knees and trying to salvage the wine out using your mouth. At least it’s not going to waste. Kidding! Please, like I’ve done anything remotely like that…recently!
There is one cool thing that the ShamWow! can do, and that is absorb a bowl full of liquid and then hold it without dripping. I know, pretty awesome, huh? I can’t imagine a situation where you’d actually need to do something like that, but you never know. Maybe one day you’ll find that your dinghy has sprung a leak and you need to bail it out, but you have no buckets whatsoever, only a crate full of ShamWow! that your very life now depends on. Behold:
So, let’s see how the ShamWow! held up to the many virtuous claims made in the infomercial, shall we?
– Doesn’t drip. As far as we know, it was completely drip free.
–It’s like a towel, it’s like a sponge. Exactly, and you probably have both at home already.
-You‘ll be saying wow everytime you use this towel. Nope.
– Holds 20X its weight in liquid. The official website has now revised this claim to 12X its weight.
–You’re gonna spend $20 every month on paper towels. No, I’m really not.
–Call in the next 20 minutes, we can’t do this all day. Sure they can, and they will. Call whenever you want. Oldest trick in the infomercial play book.
Unable to Confirm:
– The Germans always make good stuff. Not sold on this one. Please see Tokio Hotel, Blutwurst, and the years
1914 through 1945 for more details.
Where to Buy: The Official ShamWow! Website
Price: $20.00 for 4 large and 4 small chamois
Number of exclaimation points in this review: Infinity