a long time co-worker was leaving the regular day job to pursue Big Dreams recently and i decided to give him a shake weight as a parting gift because for almost two years we’ve been having an on going humorous “debate” about whether or not anyone actually buys a shake weight for working out or if the sales are entirely due to spontaneous gag gift purchases. actually, it hasn’t really been a debate since we were both were pretty much convinced that everyone who purchased them was doing if for laughs. or, at the very least, the folks involved in producing the shake weight for men and shake weight for women videos were “in” on the joke.
i mean, c’mon, it’s obvious, right? at least obvious enough that the shake weight wikipedia entry comments on the “…perceived sexually suggestive nature of the product…” in the second sentence, saturday night live wasted no time producing a satire of the commercials which left little to the imagination, the daily show has mentioned the product enough to warrant tagging video clips with “shake weight” and a los angeles morning show aired an incredible live “news” telecast on the product that you’d be forgiven for thinking was an developed by the onion.
but my confidence in my assessment that it was pure satire was, er, shaken when i saw the product in walmart with a television playing a continuous loop of the product promos. could some people are actually buying these for the “workout” or had the satire reached such epic proportions that even walmart wanted in on the action?
so, odin and i went to walmart and picked up a shake weight and a muscle mag ( to be ripped apart and used for wrapping paper ) as a humorous parting gift. after odin walked up and laid the items on the check-out counter, the Very Nice Cashier asked him in a not-joking tone if he wanted to look just like the man on the cover of the magazine. i told her, no, that it was for a friend and she proceeded without a hint of sarcasm to tell us about how she bought one for her mother to exercise with but that she didn’t use it very much and that mostly her little sister now runs around the house playing with it. shortly thereafter the gift was unwrapped to guffaws as folks took turns, um, working out.
in the end i guess the jokes on all of us. as of, august 2010 a reported two million Shake Weight units had been sold for a total of $40 million in sales.