It was about 1, maybe 2 AM when I saw the commercial.
I was on hiatus from work, and found myself falling into my old student routine of waking up way too late, and staying up way too early in the morning. My sleeping pattern had shifted along by several hours, and so when most folk go to bed and drift off, I was preparing some cheap snack and switching between channels to find something to sate my bored mind.
Which is how I found out about The Price.
When you have too many channels, eventually you stumble upon the ones that contain random people selling random things. Juicers, tools, self-help books; a cavalcade of tat that couldn’t get any advertising during the peak hours. These products are purely designed to take advantage of the people whose lives are so bad, they stay up all night desperate for some kind of stimulus.
People like me.
Normally they’re amusing enough. Little vignettes of overblown acting and bombastic statements. Each item will change your life. Each product will make you better, make you happier, make you more efficient, healthier, and wise.
At the low, low cost of £99.99.
But between the smoother choppers and the multi-use weights, The Price came up. It seemed much different, much more unique than any of the other infomercials I saw, mostly because it seemed so cheap.
I was chewing listlessly on a bowl of cereal when the previous commercial faded away, and the black screen began to glow with a bright blue. The set looked like the kind you could set up in your spare room – blue sheet hanging in the background, blue cloth over a table set up in the foreground. Whoever designed this sure liked blue, put it that way. Aside from that, there was nothing else there, and no sign as to what was about to happen.
Then, after a few awkward seconds, the host appeared.
Imagine every infomercial host you’ve ever seen, and multiple those tropes by 10. The Price’s Host was bubbly, in-your-face, and had a mid-Atlantic drawl that grated as much as it oozed a mix of charm and sleaze. His looks resembled that typical, late-thirties self-help guru, but while his lips stretched out in a welcoming smile, his eyes seemed focussed on something else.
Either way, I was too bored or too intrigued to switch over, and so I watched the commercial for The Price.
And let me tell you, it did indeed change my life.
I’m just not sure yet if it was for the better.