Vodka, Me and QVC
So, it’s Saturday night. I’m supposed to hit a party with my BF in Brooklyn but I’m all kinds of exhaustified. I decide to be responsible (read: drink cocktails at my apartment instead of at a bar), tell the BF to have a boys’ night and settle in for an evening of total control over the clicker (“remote”, for those of you who didn’t grow up in Jersey).
Five minutes into vegetating, I remember Saturday night TV sucks monkey balls. Disgruntled, I select some program about Fashion Week on the off-chance it’ll make me give a flying fuck about the charade. Only after I’ve refreshed my double-vodka-splash-of-grapefruit do I realize the channel I’m watching is QVC. It appears I’ve stumbled on a fashion show comprised entirely of QVC apparel and accessories. Innnteresting.
Imagine, if you will, the textile equivalent of a diesel-filled eighteen-wheeler spinning out on a highway and totaling five cars before bursting into a fiery ball of toxicity. Except less sad and more fun, because no one dies or gets screwed over by their insurance or whatever. The QVC runway is the Fashion Week equivalent of a multi-car pileup – a ghastly, poorly lit parade of tacky, ill-fitting synthetics set to mind-numbing synthesized string instrumentation, and it’s taking itself verrrrry seriously. The melodrama of the event only adds to its inherent hilarity – even the models look like they’re about to bust a nonexistent nut laughing. I’m not watching so much as rubbernecking.
At the conclusion of the runway segment, I’m obvs too wildly entertained to tear myself away from the nylon/poly carnage. I ready myself for the product bonanza portion of the evening by splashing a little more vod (eff the grapefruit) into my Priscilla Queen of the Desert cup. Perky host Lisa Robertson fills the screen, clad in an overwhelming amount of red. I have no idea what she’s saying. I’m too busy gaping at the presence of Heidi Klum.
My first thought is, Wow, how nice of Heidi to swing by QVC’s party on her Fashion Week rounds and pretend she likes their jewelry! Except Heidi’s doing more than smiling and nodding at the pieces – she’s GUSHING with PRIDE.
I’m confused. Is it possible that this darling of the exclusive, uppity and uber chic faction of the fashion industry actually designs a line for QVC?
It is. As the glitz bombardment begins, I learn that Wildlife by Heidi Klum isn’t just a line of QVC costume jewelry – it’s a way for otherwise trend-shy women to dabble in fashion’s latest via the power of accessories. Gag me with a spoon.
First up, the Ombre Chain Bib Necklace. Heidi’s all kinds of psyched about it; Lisa is absolutely losing her shit. My eyerolls don’t do jack to dampen the onscreen enthusiasm: Both giddily don the bib chain and proceed to discuss its merits at length. This goes on for approximately four minutes.
At first, I’m non-plussed. It’s a bunch of chain linked together costing upwards of fifty bucks, and a generic interpretation of edginess to boot. Heidi and Lisa keep talking.
A great way to vamp it up without going overboard; The perfect hint of edgy; Dress it up or down; Look at all the necklines you can pair it with, it’s a fabulous with a low-V OR a Mock-Turtle; Rose Gold is very trendy right now; Eek! It’s even more wearable in Gunmetal!
Okay, fine, maybe the chain bib is kinda cute. Borderline cool. Still, it’s not something I’d look twice at if I saw it in a boutique.
The thing is, I’m not in a boutique. I’m in the comfort of my own apartment. I’m two vodkas deep, alone and just the teensiest bit bored. AND QVC KNOWS IT.
Retail value of $75.00; Call now, and snap up the Chain Bib Necklace at its one-time-offer price of $54.50! Lisa gets an update from her invisible earpiece, and delivers the news to the camera with intensity. We started with 400 offers, and we’re already down to 200. Heidi beams at the camera; the necklace glows right along with her. Lisa looks concerned, like she wishes she had an infinite amount of these offers so everyone could experience the unbridled ecstasy of the bib chain. If you’re going for the Gunmetal, we recommend picking up the phone immediately. We don’t want to see you miss out on this incredible piece at this amazing value.
The ticking clock flashes on the screen. One minute, thirty seconds left. Heidi says “versatile” about nine thousand times. I sip my drink and listen attentively to her adorable German lilt. I’d probably get it in Rose Gold, as I already have a lot of silver. Heidi’s right – that color’s totally In.
The number of offers left plummets from three digits to two. Maybe I’ve confused generic with versatile, maybe the bib chain’s lack of in-your-face badassness is what makes it chic with an edgy cherry on top. I could buy this necklace. No one is stopping me. I could say I got it on Etsy or eBay. No one would know.
The offer expires. I exit my trance-like state and wonder what the fuck just happened to me.
I’m the snobbiest of skeptics where home shopping is concerned. I’m immune to impulse buys, and I’m cheap in the dirtiest sense of the term. A fifty-four dollar necklace that was, in retrospect, totally meh should have been a breeze for me to resist. In any other context – boutique shopping, ebrowsing, whatevs – it would have been.
What was it about the chain bib necklace that made it so tempting on QVC?
Nothing. Because on QVC, it’s not about the necklace, cocktail ring, coat, skincare line or whatever else they’re selling. It’s never about the thing. It’s about establishing a connection between you and said thing. QVC dreams up a story of you and the thing, and delivers it with a warm smile and nurturing vibe. It swaddles you and the thing in a blanket of promise. Sartorial satisfaction, material bliss – it’s yours! All you have to do is pick up the phone. Like, now.
QVC brought me thisclose to buyer’s remorse by getting into my head. The real jaw-dropper is, I’m not mad at them. I’m impressed. I sat through the Wildlife segment in its entirety, playing with fire every time a new piece hit the screen, marveling their ability to make me love something I’d otherwise not give a shit about every single time. It’s quite the accomplishment. Particularly if the viewer’s a cold-hearted skeptic like me.
I’m too fascinated to stop now, which means a psychological experiment is in order. I drink vodka. I watch QVC. I allow myself to get irrationally sentimental about stupid material things. I write about it.
In the next installment, I’ll observe the selling powers of QVC maharajah Isaac Mizrahi. Stay tuned. Unless you think this idea blows or whatevs. Mwah.