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All right, so I'm kind of an infomercial freak.  I can't explain why the raw hucksterism so appeals to me, but there's something in the combination of honest greed and mutually acknowledged prevarication that is deeply compelling.




Today, I was watching this and meditating on the signals of relative quality. Those pads that are supposed to cleanse the toxins from your body through the soles of your feet, for example, offer a free lifetime supply, which is a pretty good sign that you will not voluntarily pay money for their product again.

The Sunbeam Rocket Grill, on the other hand, seems like it's priced on a classic printer/razor revenue model:  sell the unit at cost and make money off critical accessories--toner, or blades.  In the case of the Rocket Grill, you pay for the parchment bags that stuff is grilled in.

This is a pretty strong signal of how much Sunbeam believes in its product.  And yet, still, I am not tempted to buy a Rocket Grill.  I don't own a FoodSaver either.  I wonder if this pricing model doesn't work against the product--making it seem less like a splurge than an ongoing project.  I'm just not willing to make that kind of committment to something I see on television at three in the morning.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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