And a Free Set of Ginsu Knives

Atlanta radio personality Clark Howard has a wealth of consumer and financial common sense advise on his website. He has a section on products pitches that border on scams including one for the "Amazing Auger" where, through an infomercial, you are allegedly charged a low price for the item and then hit with a $100+ shipping and handling fee.

I have never ordered a product in response to television infomercial or related advertising, but a few years ago before my dog passed away, I did research the Auto Cool after seeing it advertised. Auto Cool is a small fan that when attached to a partially opened car window is supposed to create air flows to cool your vehicle's interior on hot days. After a short time reviewing information available online, I was not impressed with the company, and found numerous alleged complaints about the product.

My interest was to assist me with my vehicle (known back then by the family as the "Mobile Doghouse"). A couple of years ago, my wife was pregnant with twins, and my old blind Springer Spaniel had become so quirky with old age problems that the Mrs. could barely handle her anymore while I was at work. As a result, I began taking my old friend with me to the office. She slept most of the day anyway, so sleeping in the car or on the carpet at home did not make any difference to her--at least at work, I could let her out regularly.

The summertime was a challenge, but I used our shady parking area and large bags of ice in the backseat to create a freezer effect in the car. The Auto Cool was not advertised to allow for pets to stay in the car, but I wanted to see if it would help me with my self-created auto freezer. Fortunately, my research dissuaded me from any further consideration of this product.

I do owe product infomercials and special TV advertising a debt of gratitude. The memories of classic products like The Psychic Friends Network, Zamfir and His Magical Pan Flute, and Matthew Lesko: Get a Government Grant for Anything have provided me with many laughs throughout the years.

Now, if an offer includes a free set of Ginsu Knives, you have my full attention...