COLUMN: ‘As seen on TV’ trains little Morris sales reps

Never have I been able to claim the sales gene.
I’m not sure why I can ask any question for the Daily Journal without a hiccup, but the idea of making a sales presentation gives me the willies.
I’m quite thankful that many people do have the gift for sales. Our advertising sales folks make it possible for me to earn my living in the paragraph factory.
Which is why I’m so surprised by kids who show a flair for the art of the deal. But they’re being tutored by infomercials.
The TV ad folks have known Saturday morning was fertile ground for a long time. Nothing inspires that must-have-it-feeling like a cool commercial showing you how much fun XYZ toy can be.
I’ve borrowed a page from my parents’ playbook to respond to the “Can I have it, pleeeeeease?” Especially if the toy had been advertised on Saturday morning, the answer was, “Not anytime soon.”
At 7 and 4, my kids are young enough that I can still steer them away from the channels with the heaviest ad content. When I get caught, I fall back on a the old chestnut – you can put it on your Christmas list … if you remember it.”
But lately they’ve stepped their game up. After watching an infomercial-style commercial twice, my kids are pressing the case they’ve been sold like pros.
Of all things it’s not a toy that’s caught their attention. It’s a toothepaste dispenser.
“It uses every drop in the tube.”
“It’s no mess and even kids can use it.”
“If you have a broken arm you can still brush your teeth.”
I haven’t been able to convince them that infomercials often exaggerate the true impact of the problems that their product solves.
They still are mesmerized.
I suppose I brought this on myself. The kids had been asking for Bendaroos – colored, wax covered strings that can be arranged to make different crafts. The answer was “no” for a long time.
But when a well-meaning family member asked for a suggestion for a birthday gift, I mentioned the bending things.
The birthday girl almost never plays with them.
My 4-year-old likes to bind a big clump of them together to make “airplanes” or use to tie up his action figures in perilous predicaments.
My husband hates them because he finds them on the floor, usually covered in cat hair. Ick.
But we’re still working on that central lesson of life: Things are never as cool as they seem on TV.

Michaela Gibson Morris is a Daily Journal staff writer and mother of two. Contact her at (662) 678-1599.

Michaela GibsonMorris/NEMS Daily Journal

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