ShamWow versus Zorbeez: Two men enter, don't both die in a fire because there is no god

There's a rivalry in Hucksterville, as Billy Mays has called out Shamwow's pitchman Vince Offer to claim that the Zorbeez chamois was the original and bitch shouldn't front, etc. According to PopMech there was even some rapping involved, I'm sure to the embarrassment of everyone but those who make a living by being shameless. PopMech tested out both. Turns out Shamwow is a lot better. But here's the thing: they're both just synthetic chamois. And they're nothing new. You can pop down to your local auto parts store and pick up the classic "The Absorber" for about ten bucks. Same stuff (or better), comes in a handy protective case, lasts for years, and won't entice anyone to rap. Above, a video showing how similar the pitches are for both the Shamwow and the Zorbeez. The Shamwow may be a better product, but they definitely ripped off Billy Mays. But who cares about Billy Mays?
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16 Responses to ShamWow versus Zorbeez: Two men enter, don't both die in a fire because there is no god

  1. DMcK says:

    “If these guys ran for office there would be no stopping them”

    Key bellwether question, re: the candidates’ respective character: which one would you want to blow rails with? VINCE ALL THE WAY, man!

  2. stegodon says:

    The ShamWow guy’s given first name is “Offer.” How can you compete with that?

  3. wrybread says:

    I wonder why this style of salesmanship is so common in the world of selling high tech towels. I was down in Venice Beach a few months ago and there was a guy selling these things exactly as in this video: jumping around, calling out audience members to various challenges (and there was, oddly, a big audience), and handling the chammies a bit suspiciously, as if he were performing a magic trick and this wouldn’t normally work.

    Someone needs to go undercover and get trained as a chammie salesperson, and write a book about all the bizarre processes and theories that go into selling modern chammies.

    And @4:

    “of course those guys won’t go into tv because they know that working directly with crowds they can turn over much more money than working through a tv screen.”

    Are you sure? I’m thinking that even if they’re 1/100th as effective when filtered through a TV, they must reach at least 1,000x the audience, resulting in more sales, no?

  4. dculberson says:

    Lizardman, it’s probably just a linguistic error on my part; I’m probably just conflating ‘synthetic’ with ‘imitation.’ Which I know is not the case. It may be that I’m used to seeing something ‘original’ or ‘natural’ that’s good then seeing cheaper imitations using the name of the original item as a ploy to gain credibility. For example, leather versus leatherette. [Which is most, but I know not all, settings is a cheaper, less durable material.]

    Unrelated point, Lizardman was my favorite character on Soulcalibur. I know you’re (probably) not named after him, but your name always has positive memories attached to it.

  5. The Lizardman says:


    I am pretty sure. That is not to say that some of them don’t make the transition and do well but think about this (and google ‘jam auction’ if you aren’t familar – it is best known as a scam but there is a real art to it as well that applies to mostly legitimate work as well) dealing with a person with cash in hand means essentially no chance for the buyer to be stopped by a friend or to truly consider their purchase or get stuck in an ordering process and back out (it can also mean easy escape with the cash and no chance of refund / return) An infomercial runs only every so often but you can run your live pitch as much as you want and during better hours.

    The product is really irrelevant – we are talking about selling snow to eskimos and that takes a certain personableness in the sales pitch that gets filtered out by tv as medium to a lage extent. As I said, I work these sort of guys from time to time and it amazes me that some of them are so good with words that written on paper o read by someone else sound like useless BS but when they do it live even I am almost reaching for my wallet.

  6. The Lizardman says:

    Dculberson, and I was just asking why it seems odd to you. I never think that natural or synthetic implies anything about the price or quality – mainly because I have personal experience showing me that it goes both ways. To me ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’ are simply neutral informational terms that lead to no predictions about price but for you it seems that synthetic implies a cheaper price point and I wondered why…

  7. clockwork says:

    i bought a ShamWow last year. when i got home i poured coffee and wine all over my carpet. my living room looks like a medical waste spill happened there. thanks a lot Vince!

  8. The Lizardman says:

    @12 Per your unrelated point – I am not named for the soul calibur character (visit and you will imediately get the reason(s) behind my name) but I am a gamer and I do sort of compulsively play Lizardman in the SC series. However, for me, SC’s Lizardman somes in a distant second to Reptile from MK.

  9. dculberson says:

    Weird that a synthetic chamois isn’t any cheaper than a natural one.

  10. skramble says:

    its Vince and Billy Awesome Show, great job!

  11. dole says:

    @DMCK: I dunno, but I think this is a more suitable gadget post than ShamWow shucking.

  12. Tiggy says:

    Yes, but can you get another Absorber free if you buy one in the next twenty minutes? I don’t think so!

  13. The Lizardman says:

    @1 Why? In natural v synthetic there is no hard fast rule for one being cheaper to produce or functionally better than the other, it comes down to a case by case. I don’t know the numbers for a chamois but I would suspect that the higher price of the synthetic is based off better performance and/or increased cost of production.

    Nobody cares about Billy Mays because he is just a mediocre pitch man with nothing else going, at least Vince has a cool anti-scientology conspiracy rap going. Really both these guys are the low end of the talent pool and that is why they are doing infomercials. I have worked with guys who do jam auctions and seen many others that run rings around them – of course those guys won’t go into tv because they know that working directly with crowds they can turn over much more money than working through a tv screen.

  14. Peaceflag2007 says:

    If these guys ran for office there would be no stopping them

  15. dculberson says:

    Lizard, I was just commenting that it seems odd. I know that something being “natural” doesn’t mean it works better. (But then, the inverse is also not true..)

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