Thursday Thunderdome: Clash of the Pitchmen

You all know how this works; two things enter, one thing leaves.

Has this ever happened to you? You have a toilet stain that you just can't clean without hurting your back? You need to reach something on a high shelf but your arms are embarrassingly short? You spilled a 2-liter bottle of soda on your carpet and feel as if your non-German made chamois won't be enough to clean it effectively? What if you have trouble turning your lights on and off, but you know how to clap your hands? Or what if clapping your hands seems like too much work, and you wish there was something easier -- like, oh I don't know ..a switch?
Well who you gonna call?
I've talked a little bit about these guys before, but right now if you need that wonder product that you didn't actually know that you needed before you saw the commercial, you have a vital choice to make. Especially in this economy -- you have to be careful who you put your trust. There are vultures all along the road just waiting to pick your wallet clean with lofty promises and fancy tricks.

Usually you can spot them. They wear Billy Cosby sweaters and talk in Australian accents. They stand in crowded sound stages and cut soda cans in half with kitchen knives. They pour eggs into some plastic doodad, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds, and pull out a Filet Mignon.
If something looks too good to be true, it usually is.
But then something happened. TV seemed to learn it's lesson -- bringing forth a salesman who never apologized for being a salesman. He had 30 seconds to get his pitch across, and he used every friggin second available to yell the benefits of his products at us at the top of his lungs. He stuck his hand in a bucket full of dirty laundry (and one scoop of Oxi Clean) and stirred it clean. Like some kind of modern day Moses turning the Nile River into blood -- he stormed on the scene like some over-caffeinated prophet, and stamped his bearded face into our collective memories forever.
That man was Billy Mays.
And for a while, everything was gravy. Oxi Clean sold like hotcakes, it actually seemed to work (I think I've got some at home somewhere). The guy seemed genuine. Then after a while he brought out another product. And then another. A few people started to get tired of him, but it didn't slow down the train any. Folks kept buying the products, and the money kept pouring in.
Money. Power. 'Spect.
But as it always does -- once you reach the top of the mountain, you have to fight and claw to stay there. Because there are always others. Upstarts and wannabees. Pretenders and perpetrators. All legitimate threats to be dealt with, but all no match apparently for the power of Oxygen. Because no matter what they threw at him, Billy would just toss it right back down.
Until now.
Because now there is a new face. A legitimate, albeit unexpected threat to the Mays throne. A Luke to his Vader. A Showgirls handful of marbles thrown on the stage to trip him up and ruin his performance. Younger, hipper, and as impossible as it might seem -- faster talking, the prodigal son had risen from the masses, ready to usurp the throne.
We've seen them both. They're all over YouTube. Remixed to death. Somewhere there's surely a tape of Christian Bale hurling obscenities at them. Ironic or literal, they're the kind of mini-celebrities pop culture thrives on. 20 years from now when VH1 puts together the show listing what was great about the 2000's -- it won't be the throwaway reality show contestants they do montages of, it will be these guys.

The Associated Press filed a report the day Mr. Whipple died. Growing up, many of us used to know the name of the "Where's the Beef?" lady. Joe Isuzu landed roles on sitcoms for years after his relevance should have rightfully dried up. From P.T Barnum to that condescending Australian a-hole who tells me that he's the only one on the planet smart and/or anal retentive enough to design the worlds most perfect vacuum cleaner -- our materialistic free market society hails the pitchman.

What's more -- the salesmen know it too. So much so that they jockey like animals for that coveted top spot. Whether it's crap real estate deals in the profanity-laden imagination of David Mamet, or the endless streams of Ponzi masterminds clogging up our inboxes with spam, the battle lines are clear.
There can be only one.
So the question before you is this: Which one of the TV pitchmen do you like the best, and why?
Here are the rules: First, you can only pick one. If you love them both, you have to pick the one that you liked the most.
But here's the twist.
In order for your vote to be counted, you must also tell me if you own any products that are sold on TV, even if you ended up buying them in a store.

Also -- make sure you vote quickly, because apparently this battle is real. As you might have noticed, both of our contenders today are selling similar products. A fact that did not escape Billy Mays' notice -- which apparently (if reports are to be trusted) led to a actual confrontation between these two at the Superbowl where at one point Billy Mays had to be physically restrained from taking it to the next level against his spiky haired competitor for what he called "stealing his product."
And let me tell you something folks -- Billy don't play.

[Listening To:  Follow for Now"6's and 7's" ]


Heff said…
I have purchased "Kaboom!", and "OxyClean", I must admit.

Wow. Billy Mays is REALLY getting around the blogs. I left a comment about him just YESTERDAY on "The Gancer". And I quote :

"I always thought Billy Mays' most marketable product should have been his BEARD. He could slice off sections of that fucker, and sell it as the most aggressive scouring pad on the planet !"

As far as "Vince Offer", I'm pretty sure his REAL first name is "Jack". Yeah....
jason quinones said…
my vote's for vince because he looks and acts like a total speed freak.
unMuse said…
Vince is a total tool. I refuse to buy the sham-wow solely because of him.

The thing will Mays is that he's developed a reputation for only pitching products he truly believes in. Everything I've bought that he's schlepped has worked, exactly like he promised.
unMuse said…
oh crap. I forgot the products - oxyclean, orange clean stuff, kaboom, orange glo, zorbees.. I know there's other stuff, but that's all I can think of.
JerseySjov said…
i personally haven't bought either product, but there's a bucket of oxyclean in the laundry room at home that i won't touch for fear of billy mays popping out like some crazy bearded jack in the box
Werdna said…
I'm out on this one. I don't know if I've bought any of them. I'm thinking no.

I have also had my FFN CD "borrowed" and lost.

My life is pain. See what happens when don't buy the ginsu knife set...
Satorical said…
Aha! THIS is why I don't have cable. I have not bought any of this stuff, and I recommend launching both of these guys into the sun. For the sake of gameplay, I'll pick Billy over Vince.

I'll tell you who I miss, though, is Corky Carroll talking about how BluBlockers fit his "melon head."
Amanda said…
That Sham wow dude does another commercial for some kind of chopper in which he says "You're gonna love my nuts".
The Kaiser said…
I have to vote for Mays. The beard, the shouting, the fact that I am fairly sure that he is unwittingly a looming fantasy figure in the bear community, it all adds up to win in my mind.

I have not purchased products for either, but I used Oxy-Clean at one point (the chick that lives in the basement apartment apparently uses a lot of it, and leaves it in the shared laundry room. I figure it's a fair exchange for the dryer sheets she steals from us) and it seemed to work quite well. I have to admit to being tempted by the Hercules Hook though.
Frank said…
Billy Mays reminds me of my Uncle Kent: bearded, obnoxiously loud, perpetually wasted. Vince, on the other hand, looks like someone who would break into houses at night to molest children.
Satorical said…
Apparently Vince had a rough night in late March. Google Vince Shamwow Hooker.