This weekend, while running on a treadmill, I had the extreme displeasure of watching a half-hour infomercial for a product called the CoreBody Reformer. This is a $265 pile of junk that suggests it will burn away the fat of the obese, via a series of exercises supposedly facilitated by it. Here’s a glimpse:
In the full infomercial, which I (tellingly) can’t seem to find on the internet, there are more extended views of people — women — doing the “CoreBody” exercises. These involve balancing on the contraption’s tube while executing a series of balletic movements against some unspecified amount of resistance. Any guesses as to what percentage of the target audience stands a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever moving like that? Hence, the ubiquitous “results vary” disclaimer in the fine print.
Meanwhile, the real secret to the “success” stories — undoubtedly women paid handsomely to appear as success stories — is not the device and exercises. Also in the fine print at the bottom of the infomercial, you learn that all the “successes” shown in the ad not only posed with their CoreBody Reformers, but “followed the CoreBody Reformer® meal plan.” And guess what? Not only is this rather crucial fact unmentioned in the infomercial, but the details of the “CoreBody Reformer® meal plan” are entirely undisclosed on the product’s website!
One could write a college term paper on the various forms of fraud and theft embodied in this atrocious yet utterly typical scam, not least being the fetishization of the supposed “core” of the body, i.e. the latest variation of the hoary whopper that doing sit-ups will give you a tummy like the models in the ad. One could also note how obesity is such a perfect epidemic for corporate capitalists, a real gold mine. One could ask whether citizens would agree to having the FCC continue granting licenses to broadcasters who use their ethereal desmesnes to air such “paid programming.” One could also ponder the fact that this thing is definitely not small potatoes, in terms of sponsors, as it emanates from the Nautilus, Inc. corporation, which, as it generates over $19,000 in book profits per employee, isn’t big enough to be Fortune 500, but also isn’t close to being a small business.
Suffice, for now, to end with this depressing fact: Consumer Reports endorses this racket!