Shamwow and the human condition

Jonathan Grubb writes to inform us of the interesting reviews at Infomercial Ratings of Shamwow, the unpleasant-smelling absorbent cloth.

The reviews people have written for ShamWow's (heavily advertised on infomercials) are hilarious and, at times, heartbreaking. My favorite:

Father died thinking of this crappy product!

2/24/2009 - Bryan of Washington, DC, USA writes:

My father had an illness that didn't let him get out of the house much, and his memory was on the downfall over the last few months. He was in his room watching tv and he saw the shamwow commercial and for some reason really wanted one. Since he doesn't ask for much, me and my wife (his daughter-in-law) decided to buy him a set to use around the house, as he didn't get out much.

The product arrived and we had him wait to open it until we got back from the hospital because we thought he was having a stroke. When we returned he was out of it and went to bed. We woke up in the middle of the night to him crying loudly in his room, which is next to ours. He has spilt his bed pan and tried to clean it up with the shamwow cloth. It wasn't working and he thought it was HIS fault! After hours of calming him down, while I cleaned up the mess with towels, we took him into the kitchen to show him it works. WELL IT DOESN'T, and our neighbors also tried it with theirs that arrived the next day, and theirs was a bust as well.

My father was always in a sad mood after that, as he thought it was his fault it didn't work and he could only seem to remember the commercial saying how good it was and his failure with it. My father died at the age of 72, crying mad as my niece brought in some shamwows her boyfriend had bought to show them to us, not knowing she was there to see my father on his death bed! HE SAW THEM, and we all tried to take them out before he saw them!!! He started to cry and yell, and as I took my niece out of the room, my father yelled out a scream of anger and pain I had never heard before. He never got to say his last words to me or our family, all he saw was his own failure and shame and he died in tears, thinking only of an angry world, and not of our LOVE FOR HIM! This product is garbage, and should be banned, burnt, and that evil man selling it to be drowning and try to save himself by using his own product to soak up the water, as he WOULD DIE!

Shamwow reviews [Infomercial Ratings]

Update! Here is a Unicron Chaser, as requested:


Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

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  1. But I don’t understand? Shamwow is made in Germany, and everyone knows the Germans make good stuff!

  2. Well, that story was pretty depressing. So appearently the shamwow has an xbox 360 level manufacture defect rate? That or about 1/3 of the reviewers were secret operatives.

  3. I’m lost for words. The reviewer could do whatever he needs to do, none of us would blame him.

  4. I like all the reviews that say something like: “My kids spilled coke on the carpet to replicate the commercial and now my carpet is ruined.”

  5. This is a horrible experience, but if the only thing you learned from it is that commercials on TV are not precisely accurate then please also consider that when a loved one’s decision making ability is impaired then perhaps you should be a bigger influence on the decision making process than Billy Mays.

  6. Woah.

    What are the odds, huh? (nervously adjusts collar)

    We bought some, but to date I’ve personally only used them on my coffee table to build Lego on top of.

    They’re so soft and big that they make an excellent pad for that kind of activity.

    Can’t recall having actually absorbed anything with them yet though.

  7. but I can’t help but wonder how many of those reviews are scientologist astroturfing, which, if any of you know about Vince, the shamwow guy, could be a possibility. but then what if i’m astroturfing right now to get you to buy more shamwows and support Vince’s crusade against scientology.

  8. I suspect performance art in that review, but it’s still FUCKING DEPRESSING. Thnx to Hel for the kitten chaser.

  9. What makes me sadder is the fact that ShamWow won’t even sop up the tears I am shedding for that old man 🙁

  10. @#9 +1. Brilliant, too-sad-to-be-true writing. Fictional, I assume, but it still ruined my day.

  11. I call “fiction” — brilliant, horrifying, black humorous fiction — but not true.

    Or else, let’s say it happened in a parallel universe. A sick, twisted, hellish parallel universe.

    I hope.

  12. That is the funniest damned thing I’ve read yet this year. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

  13. If it is true, it’s not unlike several stories I’ve heard from friends and relatives who have known someone who was, to one degree or another, suffering from dementia during their final days.

    At least the father’s ire was aimed at a product and not the man himself. A good buddy of mine in college lost his dad to a disease (some kind of cancer, if I remember) that made him angry, disoriented and forgetful… more so as time went on.

    The last time he spoke with his father he was 17, and his dad was berating him for things that had never happened, or had happened when he was a kid, or to other people. The very last words his father ever spoke to him were, “Get out of my sight, you worthless piece of s**t. I have no son.”

    Prior to his illness, the two of them had built a cabin together, gone on countless whitewater rafting trips and had sung in the same church choir. Total buddies.

    So… yeah, a bad end. But if a loved one has severe dementia, better that they focus on As-Seen-On-TV fantasies than on your actual relationship.

  14. This is why natives dragged their elders into the bush when they got to old.

    Dying sucks, but people with dementia and alshimers have to loose who they are first – its the saddest thing.

    I worked in a palliative care unit with an Alzheimer lock-down wing. I have fed people who have forgotten how to swallow. I have been hit on by a 102 year old woman. I have changed the diapers and given the baths. (actually, for 102 years old she was the healthiest person in the hospital. I kid you not. After 102 years she was fully functioning. She was nice and her brain was comparatively sharp. But she liked to wander and pee in things.) I have made it known to my loved ones that i want them to kill me if i ever get like that.

    Dementia takes EVERYTHING you have. EVERY SINGLE THING.

    Live fast, die young. Your brain is like fruit – once it rots enough its not fruit anymore.

  15. The stinky artificial chamois has been around for quite some time. It didn’t work well back then and despite the “ShamWow” name and hype, it still doen’t work well. Despite the pitch, it isn’t new or original, and probably isn’t made in Germany either.

  16. I’ve never had any problem operating a Shamwow…like any other chamois they only work well if thoroughly soaked underwater and wrung out.

    Operator error.

  17. LOL! That is the funniest story ever!

    As if that really happened, its just like all the crazy radioactive powder reviews on Amazon 🙂

  18. I don’t trust Vince Offer and think the Shamwow is is indeed as a sham,wow. but what should be illegal is making-up such a stupid tale to besmirch a product.

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