May 19, 2011 -- Three in 10 Americans have bought infomercial products, according to a new ABC news poll, but few are 100 percent satisfied.
Becky Worley tried out the newest products on the infomercial market, from jeans to towels to a "Gyro Bowl." Now she tells "GMA" viewers which products she liked, and which ones she didn't.
The Pocket Chair
The pocket chair is a small canvas and metal stool that folds flat for easy storage. The concept is decent, but as with many infomercial products, it's not all it's cracked up to be.
First, the chair does fold up compactly, but pocket-sized? No, not unless you are the 6'5" host of the infomercial and you wear big and tall pants. That said it does fit into a purse or a bag and is easier to carry than a large folding chair. The stool is comfortable but a bit unstable, my kid fell over twice trying to sit in it.
My biggest complaint is the construction. In order to engage the safety clasp you need to rotate out a strip of metal. Not only is this stiff and difficult to do, but the metal bent often while I was rotating it out and it felt degraded from the motion. It also altered the angle of the safety strip so it now pops out occasionally when I engage it.
I would keep this in my car for the kids soccer games or casual use, but I'm not expecting a long life of use for the pocket chair since it already feels like it might break.
Overall Grade: C+
We asked the company for a comment and they said... "the pocket chair is lightweight and small enough to take anywhere. it was fully tested for stability and supports up to 250 pounds."
The Perfect Fit Button
Perfect button is button you can add on to pants that requires no sewing. Like a decorative pin you'd put on a jacket or a sash it pierces the fabric and then has a cap that protects the skin from the point of the pin. In my experience it worked well on pants that were too loose and needed tightening, but on pants that were too tight it didn't work great -- it left a gap in the fly that looked weird, and when the pants were too tight the end of the cap on the point side digs into your skin. It stayed on through multiple washes but it did get progressively harder to remove the cap after the washes.
Overall Grade: B
I would use it as a temporary stop-gap for a button on pants that are too big, but not as a long-term solution for tight pants that need a bigger waist.
The Wearable Towel
A good infomercial product solves a problem you didn't know you had. The wearable towel addresses a problem I don't actually have. Towels that fall down when you try to wear them for long periods of time. Is this a problem anyone else has? Also there's a technology that's been around for a while to help people who suffer from the desire to wear their towels -- terry cloth robes, they work great.
The wearable towel is a large terry cloth bath sheet that is bigger than a traditional towel and it has three holes for your arms and head so it will stay on your as you lounge around the house or pool. Basically, it looks like a toga.
But for those who need hands-free toweling?
Overall Grade: C
My complaints with the towel itself are few. The cotton is absorbent, there are multiple sizes and a few different colors, but when I wore it, I was cold. It's not like a robe that has full coverage, it's more like a towel that leave your shoulders exposed and it didn't fit me that well so it was a bit breezy. This is like a sad cousin of the snuggie, that while being equally ridiculous, just isn't functional enough to merit the money or the space it would take up.
We asked the company for a response. The designer and inventor of the wearable towel Ariel Raphael Stein said "customer reviews don't lie! 80 percent of respondents in America would recommend this to a friend."
The Gyro Bowl
The gyro bowl is a cute plastic bowl with handles and an inset bowl that rotates to stay upright most of the time. It's intended to help kids keep their snacks from spilling all over the house. When my 3-year-old twins tested it they were mostly able to keep their snacks in the bowl, but a few times the contents shifted and because of the way the way the bowls nest, crumbs spilled down into the outside bowl and scattered through the holes in the bottom bowl onto the floor and the couch. Also, when moving around snacks did occasionally fall out. I prefer the snack traps or snack catcher bowls that have soft flaps on the top that keep cereal contained but let little hands in.
Overall Grade: B-