Shopping is hell.

No-one likes venturing through crowds of bargain hunters, eternal browsers and over-ecstatic kids running all over the place, just to get a pint of milk and a mountain of unnecessary crap. Instead, stay at home, turn on the TV and avoid paying five pence for a carrier bag.

Give the repeats of Midsomer Murders and Come Dine With Me a rest, and explore the endless possiblities on offer in the world of teleshopping. You never know what you might find: brands you’ve never heard of, re-priced Poundland chocolates, or cheap tat that makes a perfect gift for any estranged aunts.

QVC is the only place to start for teleshopping virgins. It defines what to expect from every other channel. Smiling, charmless presenters, who failed in their former lives as door-to-door sales people, plaster on the cheese to give selling worthless shit on TV a go. Even if you’re sure you don’t want anything, they’ll try to convince you otherwise: “Your family, neighbours, even random people you sometimes acknowledge in the street, could break their backs without this extendable, double-ended shovel rake to clean their garden.” Or: “Dear, departed Aunt Beryl would’ve just loved this fugly cardigan that looks like it’s been covered with rainbow-coloured unicorn faeces.”

It gets even more cringey when a presenter aims their come-to-bed eyes at camera five to persuade you that a selection of Christmas lights can be re-used at fucking Easter. And if it’s awkward for you, think of the brand ambassadors! Have a heart, think of the brand ambassadors! They have to sit in the studio while the QVC presenters stroke and finger their products, secretly hoping they’ll get out alive and that they aren’t unlucky enough for their item to be the channel’s ‘Pick of the Day’, meaning more time sat next to the prick of the day.

The products themselves are the type of things that you’d find in the bargain bins of Boots and TK Maxx, or at a car boot sale. You’ll be introduced to the undiscovered delights of Tarte cosmetics, second hand coats, and handbags barely big enough for Thumbelina’s possessions. This tat will probably be new to you, because you’re either tuning into QVC out of boredom or you’re not part of the target audience – middle-class housewives whose idea of a good time is a candle-lit supper with Hyacinth Bucket.

Joining QVC on the list of difficult-to-watch shopping channels are Ideal World, Rocks & Co., and Gems TV. The latter two focus solely on pushing chunky gold chains attached to rocks the size of footballs. Presenters valiantly attempt to out-cheese their QVC rivals while sitting behind a pristine white desk and showing off lines of tacky jewellery like they’re the most beautiful artistic achievements of the century.

Shopping channels exist to test the limits of what human beings find watchable. They’re an ongoing experiment to see how long you can sit in your chair before your fingers start twitching and you buy something you don’t need. See how many of QVC’s never-ending, one-time offers you can resist.

Teleshopping is hell too.

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  1. Tom Batt

    Great article! You said everything I feel.

  2. Very funny and so true!