ShamWow, Paper Towels, and Vince Offer

I’ve been talking (a little too much probably) about the commercial for ShamWow lately. The spokesman for the product is a little too abrasive in my view. He seems to be indicating that we’re all idiots unless we own this product. For the record, the spokesman’s name is Vince Offer. Mr. Offer indicates that we should all buy the ShamWow because we’re going to spend $20 to $30 per month on paper towels. I found that really hard to believe. So I started keeping track of how many paper towels I’ve used over the past two weeks.

I used 11 paper towels over a two week period, which is an average of 0.86 towels per day. Bridgey did not track her towel usage, but she’s in the kitchen much more than me, so I’ll estimate that she uses 10 times more than me. That’s about eight and a half towels per day. That’s a total of (about) 9.4 towels per day which, in a 31 day month, works out to almost 300 paper towels per month. Since we use the half sized paper towels, this amounts to about 150 regular sized paper towels per months. That’s about 2 rolls of Bounty per month. Certainly not $20 to $30 worth.

These are estimates (of course) for our usage. I’d like to do more substantial tracking of the data so I could get some solid numbers on our actual usage. I also realize that our usage is lower because we don’t have kids. Several people with children have pointed out that they likely use $20-$30 a month worth of paper towels. I ran the numbers on that and it works out to about 32 full size paper towels per day on the high price range. (Note: we use the half sized towels in our kitchen because they seem to be used more efficiently.)

I’d encourage anyone reading this to take note of their usage and report back what their totals for towels and price turn out for a month.

On a mildly related note, I checked out Vince Offer’s wikipedia page and found this:

In 1999 (Mr.) Offer released the Underground Comedy Movie to scathing reviews. Lawrence Van Gelder of the New York Times described the movie as “a series of sketches built around subjects like masturbation, defecation, alienation, urination, necrophilia, voyeurism, casual brutality and mockery of the unfortunate.” He added that Offer “makes the common mistake of equating the recognition of comic potential for comedy itself. For the successful, talent bridges the gap, but here it is absent.” DVDs of the film were marketed via television infomercial.


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7 Responses to ShamWow, Paper Towels, and Vince Offer

  1. Sean says:

    I have ShamWows. They actually helped save my basement when my washer leaked. [Side note: if you can’t find ShamWows, apparently ceiling tiles hold a load of water as well.]

  2. pixelfusion says:

    The commercial is irritating to me. Coincidentally, I had run the numbers on our paper towel usage, with a young-ish child (7) and we are at $15-20/month although I think the number is declining lately.

    Ironically, we were given a ShamWow by my in-laws a couple of months ago. We haven’t used it yet.

  3. Bridgey says:

    I definitely don’t use 8 + paper towels in a day. I would estimate about 2. Sometimes on the weekends I might use as many as 5. I’ve started cleaning mostly without paper towels but with washable microfiber clothes, washable sponges, and the like. Paper towels are reserved for really icky messes, drying my hands after washing them from touching raw meat or cleaning the litter box, etc. But I can track it if you want to.

  4. Cindy says:

    ShamWow is the American consumers As-Seen-On-TV dream come true. Sure, I use paper towels every now and then for things like cooking bacon in the microwave or wiping my cat’s mouth after giving her meds but …

    I use a single roll of paper towels (if even) a month. Matt and I tracked our usage a while back so we could consume less of them.

    In the kitchen, I use kitchen towels (gasp) and wash them weekly, on the super small cycle, in hot water with a little detergent and bleach.

    When I clean, I use a dish sponge and old toothbrush and two of the half-size paper towels on mirrors and the shower doors.

    I have dust rags.

    I have old towels to clean up spills and other messes.

    At Matt’s warehouse, they use hand towels and I switch them out weekly and wash them with our hand towels at home.

    No need for a ShamWow in this house.

  5. Prairie and I were also somewhat staggered by the “$20-30 per month” in paper towels claim. We tend to buy a new roll of paper towels…um…maybe once a month. Once every two months is far more likely.

    Like Cindy, using actual, washable towels works fine for us.

  6. Gretchen says:

    The $20-30 a month estimate is definitely too high for our household. We typically use microfiber towels for just about everything from cleaning in the kitchen to other household cleaning. We have tons of them and change them out almost daily, throwing them in the washer once we accumulate a full load. (Note that kitchen towels always stay separate from “non food related” towels. ‘Cause, ew.) Paper towels remain reserved for the uber-gross/bacteria-laden…like if one of the cats sporadically decides the litter box is optional.

    We purchase one case of paper towels from Costco per YEAR for somewhere around $35. Incidentally, we also purchased our microfiber towels at Costco for something like $17 per 25-pack.

  7. Kristan says:

    Yeah, I replace our paper towel roll maybe every month and a half to two months. I don’t really like touching paper towels. They are icky.

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