Is there a purchase disappointment in your past? The biggest one for me was the Veg-O-Matic I bought at the fair in 1960. I guess you could’ve called me a gullible innocent and fresh meat for the company that made the Veg-O-Matic and hawked it at fairs.
When I tried to pass the slick Veg-O-Matic demonstrator, effortlessly slicing a potato into delectable, crinkled French fries and then another one into clever, waffle-like circles with one swipe using a special attachment (included in the package), I discovered my subconscious mind had planted my feet in front of the show. My mind was void of any conscious command to move on.
He was amazing! Before my very eyes I witnessed the circus barkeresque huckster cover his workspace with a scrumptious array of veggies fit for a Sunday buffet at a Four Seasons Hotel. Half an hour later I left with my purchase (some assembly required) under my 17 year-old arm, anxious to duplicate the culinary creations in my own home. I knew my mom would be so impressed.
“How much was it Sweety?”
“Twenty dollars, but wait’ll you see all it does!” I exclaimed as I tore the magical machine out of its box in preparation for a demo.
“Well, I hope you’re not disappointed, Sis.” Evidently Mom had seen the same demonstration before and with the eye of a skeptic was able to run the, it’s-too-good-to-be-true tape that goes with age and experience and pass up deal.
Still in my bliss, I set the contraption up on our kitchen counter and headed for our supply of big russet potatoes. With my starchy victim in hand and my best announcer voice, I put it in the proper position for transition. “All you do is place your potato here and p-p-p- ppuuuuushhhhhhhh.” I ran out of air to say “push” properly as I tried to get the potato to process. Using a stepping stool we kept in the kitchen to reach into the high cupboards, I put all my body weight on the second push, but still nothing happened. The potato refused to budge!
How did that guy’s potato morph with such ease? At the time I was too disappointed to figure it out. I just packed up the gadget and used the stool to put it on a top shelf with the Seal-a-Meal and the automatic weeny cooker. Out of sight, out of mind.
It was the next summer and my annual visit to the fair that I figured out why my Veg-O-Matic couldn’t do what the fair guy’s gadget could do. It has to do with the blades. His blades were probably made from really expensive steel, where the blades on my machine were way cheaper. There was probably small print somewhere on the packaging that said, “This Veg-O-Matic is not identical to the one our demonstrator uses.”
Actually I’m very thankful for my Veg-O-Matic experience, because it gave me the skeptic’s eye at a very young age and saved me from the consumption of a parade of QVC offerings which, over the years, would have amounted to a sizable chunk of money.
Note: In seeing how to spell Veg-O-Matic, I found out it’s still on the market! I got excited all over again! Here’s what the ad says:
“The Veg-O-Matic slices, dices and makes mounds of fries in seconds!
One of the products that started the Ronco revolution!
The Veg-O-Matic was such a breakthrough time-saving device that the original is in the Smithsonian museum. The Veg-O-Matic lets you slice and dice all types of fruits and vegetables in just one stroke. You can chop an onion without crying, instantly slice a firm tomato, effortlessly turn whole potatoes into fries and more! Comes with four cutting blades for all your kitchen chores.”
It’s still 20 bucks, but I’ll bet the blades are still cheap and I’ll also bet the one in the Smithsonian has better blades.