Jeremy Weisz 2:46
So it’s kind of a cool, what’s he selling something or what was he doing?
Ron Popeil 2:49
Um, he just took donations. Oh, and he picked up two people on the street. I’m sure they had to be a little balanced even when he didn’t want it. do is get someone light red side and someone heavy on the other.
Jeremy Weisz 3:04
Yeah. What were you selling at the time? Mexico street
Ron Popeil 3:08
slicers knives, those kind of thing all mostly food products. Okay. In fact, they were all food product. Yeah.
Jeremy Weisz 3:16
Were they ones your dad’s products that you got from this factory or a lot of them?
Ron Popeil 3:22
Most of them were right. Oh, yeah.
Jeremy Weisz 3:24
I always like to get one fun fact about someone that most people don’t know. You’ve been interviewed a lot of times your book. What is most people don’t know about you?
Ron Popeil 3:36
Well, most people, most people haven’t read my book. I when I think of my book, I always think of the most my most embarrassing moment, which is
Unknown Speaker 3:48
my book three times.
Ron Popeil 3:50
And do you remember what my most embarrassing moment was?
Jeremy Weisz 3:53
Did you say in the book, this is my most embarrassing moment was it? I mean? I have a couple the shoe shoe Ryan’s story rings about I don’t know if the shoe shine story was it with the that turned his boots complete Was that it? The general yeah
Ron Popeil 4:09
Jeremy Weisz 4:11
that was all have you tell that that yeah that’s and I like what you did after his boot I’m not even gonna tell the story but yeah you’ll tell the story yes five in one fryer we got to talk about right
Unknown Speaker 4:24
Ivan one fryer his
Ron Popeil 4:27
thing to talk about a lot of a lot of work man. I feel like I’m poor. I’m poor and I’m dying to make a few dollars to survive and I have to work these long hours and in good motivation right now in a 16,000 square foot home. Yes.
Jeremy Weisz 4:49
We have Ron Popeil inventor who is one of the legends of sales infomercials and direct response marketing. Over the last 40 years Ron’s products have pulled in more than $2 billion in sales. He is most famous for products and infomercials like the Showtime rotisserie, where he says set it and forget it. The chop ematic the veggie dramatic the food dehydrator and for using the phrase But wait, there’s more. And there is more. He’s still going strong his latest product the five in one fryer which can cook a 15 pound turkey in 46 minutes. If you can believe that. You got to watch the infomercial for yourself. And you could check out his product innovations at Ron co.com or 5in1fryer.com Ron, thank you for joining me.
Ron Popeil 5:47
Thank you But wait, there’s more. Wait, wait, wait, wait you talk about what makes the my fryer do a 15 pound turkey and 46 minutes The fryer, the turkey is bigger than the fryer, right? And that’s what makes it so fascinating people to build a fryer. You can build a big box, throw the oil and put the turkey in it have the oil cover the turkey, but no one’s gonna buy it because most people have small kitchens. Right. So the key to the invention is to try to make something small. That does big stuff. Yeah, that’s key. And I don’t know if this will work because I’ve never I haven’t done too much Skyping before but maybe this will give your audience an idea. Yeah, if I hold that up like that it’s going to the printing will be back. You can see it. Yeah, see that? Yeah. How’s that Turkey fit? Briar, you got to go to five on one fryer calm. To figure it out. Right. It’s infomercial it is as well.
Jeremy Weisz 6:58
Yeah. I want to To talk a little bit about the process how you came up with it, some of the steps where you do that,
Ron Popeil 7:05
yeah, I’m gonna ask you go ahead out does that Turkey fit in the fryer?
Jeremy Weisz 7:12
Well, I mean, they have to watch the infomercial to find out. Have you seen the interview? Of course. Okay. Yeah, no. Yeah, I know how Yeah, got it because it’s interesting. You know, there’s, you know, you have to clip it and obviously flip it. Yeah. I’ll let you know they should watch it but absolutely just all the elements are interesting of that particular infomercial because the stuff that is just subtle stuff is powerful. Like where you show the frying oil. You know, when you someone dropped something in like to the frying oil originally, that basically is kind of splatters up. You know, and, and but that is powerful.
Ron Popeil 7:53
Everybody that cooks food today. Normally fries, food even So many people on elf gigs. People are still eating french fries, fried chicken, fried zucchini steaks, fried mushrooms. Great down south fried ice cream fried Oreo cookies, corn dogs. And most people around the world do not have a fryer. And what they do is they take a frying pan, put oil in it, turn on the flame or electric stove. It’s heated up that way and the old gets hotter and hotter. At one point in time if you leave it on long enough, it’s going to catch on fire. It’s going to combust splatter Saturday, I do yeah. When you put a piece of frozen food in that has some moisture in it, like frozen chicken strips, or french fries. When that food hits the oil and every man that’s watching your show. has ever seen his wife or his wife has seen him frying something on a frying pan with a hot oil in it. They always say be careful, yes, because it is going to splatter someone very well may get burned, or you have a small fire in your house. And so that was the motivating factor to try to create a fryer fryer that was super safe with my fryer. When the food hits the oil, the lid falls down so you can’t be splattered. If you put too much food or too much oil in the machine, and it rises up, it gets to a level where it goes into holes, causing the oil to go between the inner and the outer so it doesn’t get on your calendar. And of course when you’re using the safety extension sleeve, when you’re doing that Turkey, it’s so high that oil can’t even come near the top. So it’s a super, super safe machine and the only machine in the world that has past the new high standards of big food fryers of underwriter laboratory. The only one so I’ve kind of been set aside as a pretty safe fryer.
Jeremy Weisz 10:11
So what was the What made you create it? What was the idea? I mean did you splatter because you could create anything
Ron Popeil 10:17
first? No, you cannot cannot create anything. I would have loved to have created Velcro.
Those are the kind of things that that I look at is you know, Velcro, my favorite Come on, who doesn’t think that little tiny thing and I used to have a home and Aspen and we used to see these little things on the on the mountain before the summertime and then that’s where the idea came from. How to do Velcro. I wish that’s a real invention. There was a lot of publicity on Turkey fryers outside Burning houses down. A lot of people getting hurt. And every Thanksgiving underwriter laboratory and the fire department and CNN they keep showing decks catching on fire and it truly is the most dangerous product on the planet. And anybody that’s ever had a fried turkey knows that fried turkeys are absolutely delicious. And of course, that market is small for people who fried turkeys. But the people who hear about how great a fried turkey taste. That’s where the real market is. In North America. Of course my product also does leg of lamb, and of course leg of lamb is all over the world. So doing big food, roast beef and that kind of stuff. It’s just not solely designed for Turkey but North America. These are where it’s at. Anyway, that was one of the motivating factors to start. The other was the safety reason that I talked about earlier. And putting those two together with a small kitchen and trying to create something small that did stuff that was big. That’s, that’s where the problems come into play. You know, I’m in the infomercial. Um, I don’t know what’s in the latter infomercial, but I remember doing one infomercial that said, that never got to the air was that we did 20,000 pounds of Turkey in my kitchen to test the product. In essence, it was closer to 30,000 pounds of Turkey. Wow. I received turkeys from two major companies who supplied turkeys over the last bunch of years complimentary to me. And they saw the prototype and they thought it would increase the turkey business. And so truckloads of turkeys would come to my house frozen. And of course I have a lot of freezers in my house. And that’s a lot of turkeys to test. If you’re probably going to ask me what I did with all course Yeah, what do you do? Well, we have a fire station down the street. And they were recipient and of course, we got a lot of turkeys. To the homeless people. Fresh fried old turkeys Come on, they love you. Yeah, they did. They did.
Jeremy Weisz 13:39
So wrong. What were some of the I mean some people would hear those things and go I don’t want to be in the frying business. If you know there’s a light liability things are catching on fire. What were some of the steps you went through to to bring it to market?
Ron Popeil 13:51
Well, the first as the product originally. I was thinking about health also.
I I’m the world’s lion on the world’s largest collector of olive oil. I’m in the Guinness World Book of Records. I have a ranch and I produce my own olive oil. I’m not an expert on olive oil though, even though I’m the world’s largest collector of it. Um, when you when you think about frying food, you the people that are into the health aspect of not wanting to eat fried food, right? I wanted to do something in that arena. And so I started looking into oils that in particular olive oil, and most chefs around the country will say that olive oil is not good for frying, because it doesn’t have a high smoking point. And it’s true when it comes to To extra virgin, which is the most expensive and virgin, which is the one underneath it. Those have low smoking points, but there is one olive oil which is the cheapest one you can buy in the supermarket called pure or regular olive oil right and it has a high smoking point. And so I wanted to push that I’ve backed off of it a little bit because I wanted to open the world to other oils because whether you’re using pure olive oil, and olive oil is healthier. Yeah. You can use corn oil, you can use canola oil, you can use vegetable oil, you can use grapeseed oil, and they all work the same. Um the pure olive oil is slightly more money then the canola vegetable and corn oil. And a lot of people are concerned about budgets. And so I didn’t want to close the door of that huge audience who said well, Ron, I’m not worried about health. corn oil is just fine for me canola vegetable, I’ll buy the cheaper oils, as long as you tell me that the results are going to be exactly the same. And they are exactly the same. And so that was one thing that I started in a heavier fashion and then tapered off to the to the less expensive oils.
Jeremy Weisz 16:40
Yeah, cuz you still mention it in the infomercial? Very little very Yeah.
Ron Popeil 16:46
And if you notice the apron I was wearing. It says ron paul pulls olive oil fryer. Yes, Yes, I did. And so the original infomercial had a lot more olive oil is healthier in it. And I’ve tapered it off in the show,
Jeremy Weisz 17:02
you know? Yeah. So what were some of the steps you went through because it’s not you know, it’s maybe easy to use but it’s probably not easy to formulate all those components. How did you
Ron Popeil 17:15
let’s analyze the frame but don’t keep in mind. It’s a five in one fryer it makes bread. It flavors steams, it boils. It does a lot of other things. Pasta other than them fried shrimp now we’re just talking about frying.Let’s take turkeys for instance. Turkey ranges anywhere from nine and a half pounds up to up to 2025 pounds. underwriter laboratory will not allow any food to be fried in your kitchen and get an approval if it’s more than 15 pounds. So now we’re locked in to that 15 pound window and nothing more than that for indoor fryers. But you have a nine pound turkey a 1011, a 12, a 13 and a half. They’re not always exact. And so every weight has a different amount of oil that goes in the machine. Because the bigger the turkey, the less oil you need. The smaller turkeys use around five quarts of oil, by the way, which is the maximum underwriter laboratory will allow is five leaders anywhere in the world. We use maximum five quarts a little bit less than the maximum that we can go to. So if you have a nine pound turkey, 10 pound turkey, it’s going to be in the range of five pounds. words when you get all the way up to 15 pounds, it’s going to be almost a quart less about four quarts of oil. So learning the exact and the amount of time for each Turkey is different. Now we give you a chart and a DVD and a big sheet. Big sheet is how to try a turkey in my machine with big print, because I hate to read things that have small print. And so we give you that big sheet you get a DVD, the video that shows you step by step. So the customer understands with the chart, a 14 pound turkey takes three and a half quarts of oil and it cooks for 38 minutes. It tells you exactly how easy it is. And doing a turkey is pretty easy.
Jeremy Weisz 19:59
What were some of the challenges when you were coming up with the invention.
Ron Popeil 20:04
Well, how do you protect the splashing aspect of the dangerous frying pan? The cute thing happened I was flavor flavor, the wrapper. And I hate rap. I’m not sorry. But he’s one of my favorite people on the planet. I was at his house for Fourth of July which was like being where there was a big bomb. Because he shoots off a lot of fireworks and he gets arrested almost every year doing that wonderful guy though. great talent and ice. He was frying some food in a frying pan and get a lot of people over. I was not there at that dinner. But some of my friends were and the oil Was splashed and everybody and someone screamed out Hey, that’s not a set it and forget it product got back to me and then I started thinking about the frying pan and what you were talking about earlier as I introduce the show the early part of the show how about people frying foods and are you afraid of being burned or having a fire in your kitchen? When frying foods with frozen chicken strips, like I’ve solved the problem. When the food hits the oil in my machine, the lid is in place you cannot be splashed. And that in and of itself is pretty nice thing to have on a fryer. The holes that go around there. Most of the stuff is patented. Mm hmm. Well, rising up, go into the holes doesn’t overflow, that overflow idea. If you look at Outdoor turkey fryers, the big problem is is they lower the turkey in the hot oil and the displacement causes the oil to overflow and right propane underneath it right? They go. And so that really opens my new show. I don’t know if you saw the, my latest infomercial that I’m just starting to air but and by the way, I shot that in my house in Beverly Hills right outside my front door. And I went and I shot it on my iPhone. Really? Yeah, I do all the shooting. We did have the the infomercial show that was done in a studio, but all the food shots, the styling. All of that is done by myself. Well, I do the I do most of the editing the voiceovers. Fortunately, my sister teaches voice And she’s really good at it and she has all this great equipment. So I’m running over to her house all the time doing voiceovers, taking something out, putting something in better.
Coming up the other day hashbrown potatoes, did you know that you could buy frozen hash browns in the supermarket? Like 20 cents apiece? No, you get 10 of them in a package for two bucks at Walmart. People that are hooked on McDonald’s hashbrowns I’m thinking, wow, just show them real mother. Show them in just a couple of minutes time. You have all the hashbrowns for your family in the morning. Have something that they relate to when they go to McDonald’s or they have that that hunger for biting into one of those hash browns. I think you know what I’m talking for sure.
Jeremy Weisz 23:57
Ron Popeil 23:59
you’re not One of those health nuts I am actually I’m
Jeremy Weisz 24:02
very healthy. But I like the non healthy too. Good. Yeah. So run, what iteration? Is this, this model that you see how many iterations did it take to get to this version?
Unknown Speaker 24:17
Jeremy Weisz 24:20
So I’m sure out of the gate, you’re
Ron Popeil 24:22
in the infomercial for the benefit of your audience and the infomercial. If you look at the background, I’m only on the show of the early part, you know, saying, but in the background, you will see some of the prototypes. Yeah, you see, the different shapes. They were some were bigger than others. Some were triangular, some were too big for anybody’s kitchen, right? And you keep working at it to narrow it down and you finally end up with at the Problem is this. Most of my inventions take two to two and a half years to create this 113 and a half years Wow. 13 and a half years, about $4 million out of pocket. We’re not charge I don’t charge for time. This is testing foods, the fruits and the vegetables and the other meats.
The cost of getting patents, prototyping, farming, prototyping out, travels to China, working with manufacturers. I could write a whole book on business with manufacturers in China. Yeah. You can’t believe anything over there. That’s the bottom line.
Jeremy Weisz 25:55
So why did you stick with it? your usual is two and a half to three years after Five years while you’re like, forget it, this is I could have already done three products.
Ron Popeil 26:05
I did as I received an award once. And at that particular word, I had to give a speech. And I remember saying, oh, relating to what Winston Churchill once said,
Never, never, never, never, never give up.
Unknown Speaker 26:31
Ron Popeil 26:33
I just, that’s it. It’s part of my DNA. And so, but whether this project will be successful or not, I have no idea. The whole business is of television marketing is so different today than it was when I first started and there’s something to be said. From when everybody was watching TV, to hardly anybody watching TV. The unfortunate thing is the TV stations have not dropped their prices and commensurate with the size of the audience. And, and that’s the problem of marketing products on TV, you have to go to retail. You have to be in all those other venues, the social media, and that’s a whole learning curve in and of itself.
Jeremy Weisz 27:35
And not only are there you know, not in a pill watching TV, but there’s also back then there are less channels. I mean, now people have 1000 channels.
Ron Popeil 27:45
some Sony cute stories.
I remember well what everybody wants to eBay. And the biggest program on TV when it first started was wrestling. Like, I don’t know if you were born then. But wrestling was the biggest Jewish number one without an Argentine brockagh. Some of the older people that are watching, say, I remember him or Benito gardini who used to use his head because he was the stranger with the referee, what’s in what cheek.
Unknown Speaker 28:22
Ron Popeil 28:24
after the business got started, we were I was instantly successful.
And they’ve been so many products.
I took in my best friend as a partner and he bought the media. And I remember I lived in Chicago, and we had a two minute, a one minute commercial on a product and in those days, we would put product in the stores and there was no ad numbers and things of that nature. And we show the product and direct them to go to a chain of stores like Walgreens or thrifty. Those kinds of stores.
Woolworths and the Blackhawks somehow.
we’re going to be on TV in Chicago.
And the TV station had no advertisers. They put it together too soon, too late, weren’t able to get advertised. Yeah. So I had my partner call up his contact at the station, and they already had the commercial. And they ran the commercial in the butt between the first period and the second period. That was great. In a huge audience, and the price of a spot was 100 and 125 or $150. Total cost for a one minute spot for the whole city of Chicago.
Jeremy Weisz 30:19
And everyone’s watching the game probably every Friday.
Ron Popeil 30:22
And they made a little mistake, the station announcer made a little mistake at the end. And he didn’t read it exactly right. And I said, call him back I said, Call up the station, get a free one and make the call to make it and and they agreed that was a mistake. And they ran it between the second and third period. Still the same hundred and 50 bucks
and then I said Mel, if they They make another mistake.
He said, Well, the game will be over with then.
Unknown Speaker 31:06
I said, but
Ron Popeil 31:09
if it maybe there’ll be an overtime. Make sure that if they make a mistake again you call back and you get it in between the end of the game and the overtime. And don’t you think they made a mistake? We got a third spot in after the game was right over with and we got three spots in the whole big city of Chicago and its outlying area. All for $150 it was the deal the lifetime deal of the century. Right. Right.
Jeremy Weisz 31:48
So what happened that they
Ron Popeil 31:50
sold a lot of products and stores Yeah, of course we sold about a product that stores are you kidding?
Jeremy Weisz 31:55
How do you fulfill that and with all that demand is it sometimes they
Ron Popeil 31:59
go product was already in the stores.
We drove people to go to those stores. And of course the more advertising the more people are going to see it. More people are going to be convinced as provided that they know you produce good stuff. The prices has to be right within their price range and those days I think that product was 995 and available the law will worsen Walgreens and they instantly sold out.
Jeremy Weisz 32:37
Yeah, and you mentioned around the you know, now it’s a little bit different than it was before what’s working best lately. In selling the five one fire.
Ron Popeil 32:47
Well, the 501 fire just came out so it really Oh really? Okay. It’s it’s brand new. Most people have not seen it.
Unknown Speaker 32:58
Ron Popeil 33:03
You have to go to retail.
And the social media as I said earlier, to be successful on TV today. You cannot, I believe you cannot put a product together and just go on TV and expect to get sufficient orders to cover the cost of the media. And that’s a serious problem. If TV time cost nothing, every piece of product you’d sell, you’d make a profit. So it is the cost of media that determines your profitability. The one thing about the infomercial business and direct response business that most people do not know is that when you buy an airing, and let’s say you buy a spot on CNBC See at four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon.
What forget what the station says how big their audience is.
How many people bought your product, how many people got on the phone and ordered it?
whatever that number is. That’s what you can expect to get the following Sunday that following Sunday, within a 10% range. That’s what it’s going to be probably for the next year or a year and a half. Now you can quantify what that spot is worth. Because it’s only going to bring in X number of orders, right? Most people don’t know that. It doesn’t run. You’re going to get 50 orders. And then next week, you’re gonna run the same show. It has to be apples and apples, same time, same show, and you’re going to get 2000 that’s never going to happen. It’s always going to be within In that 10% range. Today, the business has changed because you get phone calls and you have a website. Wait a second, you get so many phone calls. And you can determine where those calls from what spot, those false phone calls came from. But collectively, if you’re running 300 stations across the country, and they’re all feeding the website, you have no idea. Mm hmm. Now you can, if you have a defined amount of money and a defined amount of time, look up the percentage and stop. How many phone calls came in and how many total website orders came in. Then you could look at a percentage and say, well for every every call, I get on the phone I get to website orders. I think it’s more than closer to 5050 as I’m testing it right now, but retail is the unique that out there because the TV stations have not dropped their price and commensurate with the size of the audience drop. And it has dropped substantially, especially to the younger, younger kids out there.
Jeremy Weisz 36:33
Is that why QVC and home shopping network is desirable for people because they don’t
Ron Popeil 36:38
realize when TV time cost you nothing. Every piece of product you sell, you make a profit. It’s and their audiences are wonderful. QVC is a lot bigger than HSN. I’m going to be on QVC I found out yesterday with I’m going to introduce the five in one fryer turkey fryer on April the 19th with a small quantity of product but I’m trying to figure that what I’m going to do now. Sure frying a turkey that’s pretty simple but I said it’s a five to one. It makes bread. Coffee can and dole pineapple can breads. Fruit nut breads, pizza bread. How about a ham, scrambled egg and cheese breakfast toast in the morning. I mean stuff that it boils, Easter’s coming up, you can you can boil over 100 eggs in that machine, less than 20 minutes of boiling time. It does a lot of pasta you mentioned earlier Yeah. Wait boy pasta and it also strains it too. Right? Yes. And then it flavors themes. Do you know what flavor steaming is no flavors steaming is where you take. We demonstrated in the infomercial where we take some red wine, some little water, some fresh, whole cloves of garlic, some fresh rosemary and time and that comes to a boil and the steam that comes up from that. It’s a basket that has a whole chicken in it. Or a roast beef in it. And it it steamed that flavor steams that big chunk of food. And in one hour, it picks up the flavor of the of the liquid that was boiling underneath it. We were doing it with beer the other day. just taken a making a beer flavored chicken. Then we took the liquid out, put some oil in the fryer takes 13 minutes to eat the oil. And we just fried that flavored steamed chicken for about five minutes which sear the outside. Go steamed food doesn’t look that great, right?
Jeremy Weisz 39:16
And so we get that golden brown on the outside.
Ron Popeil 39:20
Right. So that’s something else I thought about when the turkey when we do a turkey, we take a quarter of a cup of pancake syrup, the cheapest pancake syrup you can buy with two cups of warm water. That was the whole turkey with it and dry it thoroughly. That’s going to give you a nice gardener. Interesting. Yeah. And we do that with all our turkeys. If you want to darker put a touch more syrup in the water. You want it lighter. Don’t put as much serve in the water. Interesting color. Now you can color the turkey as light or as dark Cuz you like it when you fry it? Same thing with the chicken or
Jeremy Weisz 40:04
so well how are you not fatter. I mean, if I were you I would be obese.
Ron Popeil 40:11
I know what I did today and I felt fat today. This morning. I buy a lot of I’m a good customer at QVC. I understand they do buy quality. And I was watching their show the other day. And they had these crab cakes on. And there were around. And of course the the guy selling it and they sell a lot of them on a continuity program where they order and they keep sending them to and they’re kind of pricey, but they are as good a crabcakes as you’ll ever have. And they’re around so I’m thinking he’s telling you to put them in the oven. Anytime you have to use your oven. You’re going to use a lot of electricity or gas And so I said, I like what, what people like about fried food is it’s crunchy on the outside and soft textured on the inside. And so what happens if you take those crab cakes, and you fry them? Well, they arrived yesterday from QVC. And I last night, I put them away and this morning I couldn’t wait to come downstairs in my kitchen. So what do you do? Do you fry the whole thing? The whole frozen thing? Put a bunch of them in the basket drop them in the hot oil. Is that gonna work? Maybe I would do that. Yeah, maybe not because the the crab cake is a nice round ball. And for the time it takes for that hot oil to permeate through something that frozen is going to take too long and the longer it’s in the oil, the darker it’s going to get So the first thing I did was take the crab cakes the balls, and I just put them in the microwave for one minute out of there, then I put them in the basket and let them cook for three minutes. Perfect. So, now when I go on QVC, I can relate to all the people or talk to all the people who buy their crab cakes and other foods that are breaded and say, Hey, wait, forget the oven. Here’s a faster way to do it. And you’re going to get the crunch. You’re always experimenting. And we’re going to go after people who buy those crab cakes that are watching me on QVC I buy those crab cakes. That’s a good reason to buy the fryer. Mm hmm. But I still had to do what I still had to put the whole thing in frozen to see what would happen right and I was Correct. In eight minutes time, the middle of the crab cake was not hot. 10 minutes, I’m sorry, too much time, too much time up for the first one. The instructions will be one minute in the microwave, three minutes in the fryer. You’ll have the through the way like it so that I thought I did that this morning.
Jeremy Weisz 43:30
So after all these pitches run, you still have to think about what you’re going to include, like how long do you have on QVC
Ron Popeil 43:37
m, they haven’t told me but in monitoring shows. To prepare, I look at other people that have go on their shows and come up with the conclusion that it will be about 16 minutes
Unknown Speaker 43:56
and that’s tough.
Ron Popeil 43:59
It’s not tough at all. was a rotisserie because a rotisserie does one thing it rotisserie roast the leg of lamb this this same thing and you actually see it as a truly we call it the Showtime rotisserie because if I call it was a show to me. That’s why I named it. Showtime this year is a little difficult because everything takes place inside the container. Hmm No. And you got to show how to do the turkey. You got to show how it does french fries for rock Cornish hands at one time to five to two and a half pound lobsters. I was doing dumplings this morning fried dumplings. You got to show chicken. Should you make the fried chicken on the show. Those are the kinds of things you have to work out ahead of time, and then the breadmaking. And then the boiling, and then the flavor steaming Well, you 16 minutes. And if you do, and you know the show host is gonna want to talk somewhere. And how do you get it all in? Yeah. It’s going to be quite trying. I will do it. Somehow these things do get done. Yeah. But they have to be well thought out. What or do you are you going to do it? Are you going to do the turkey right away? I think not. I think I’m going to take one minute and have four machines. Because you don’t you don’t see the sleeve. I want to keep them guessing a little bit how that Turkey fits on the machine. So there’s some show them the fried chicken coming up or take four of those machines. Get four quick shots of food. Then take the machine apart show the different safety features how the cord is magnetic. So if you accidentally hit it, it will knock over your machine and then show the turkey and then show some more fried foods and then go into the I’ll be carving a leg of lamb I know. And then go into the boiling and the flavor steaming and the baking and, and then talk price. Because the customer at UBC always gets a better price than anyone else. So the same package that I’m selling on TV. Exact same package in this. Normally it isn’t the exact in this situation, it is the exact same package. The custom rule will save at least $40 She buys on QVC. And it’s a real saving. And I have to pitch that to them.
Jeremy Weisz 47:09
At this point, do you have to pitch it to them? I mean, you probably had a relationship with them for how many years? Do they still treat you like everyone else?
Ron Popeil 47:19
Jeremy, you learn one thing in my business. Yeah. You’re only as good as your last product. I don’t sit on the laurels. There’s the rotisserie did 1,400,000,000 in sales, something like that? Most of my products the food dehydrator was big item. Six 700 million. All the items normally do a half a billion in that category.
But it’s it’s their labors of love. Don’t have to work right? It’s not like it’s not like I remember when I was younger. I was on a curb in New York City. And I remember how hungry I was. I don’t remember how old I was, like physically hungry. You mean physically hungry? Yeah. I know remote, cold. And I was of course I was in an orphanage for a few years. So my father’s parents, my grandparents took us my brother and I out of the orphanage up in upstate New York. And I didn’t have a good relationship with my grandfather. My grandmother spent her life in the kitchen and I learned everything from cleaning toilets, the floors to washing dishes. to doing everything in those days, a grandmother a good grandmother would do and and so picking up an SOS Brillo pad and scrubbing pots and pans. That was part of my world. And it has helped me today in creating product and the way people think. Oh my own, I owe an awful lot to her.
Jeremy Weisz 49:30
Do you think that’s why you gravitate towards the kitchen products?
Ron Popeil 49:34
Yes, always. And from a marketing standpoint, everybody’s got a kitchen and everybody that my wife doesn’t visit the kitchen too often.
Jeremy Weisz 49:47
While you’re cooking 1000 pounds of Turkey so she doesn’t get to
Ron Popeil 49:50
not that’s not the turkeys. Lots of other dishes though. I have two little girls. They’re excellent cooks.
Unknown Speaker 49:59
They do. A lot of baking
Ron Popeil 50:02
and one of my other daughters is a chef.
All the all the kids cook well. All except my wife. Wife. Cooking, we
Jeremy Weisz 50:13
won’t have her watch this. I don’t know sleeping on the couch.
Ron Popeil 50:17
Jeremy Weisz 50:19
So what keeps you going Ron? Like you said you don’t have to work. What keeps you driving ahead?
Ron Popeil 50:26
I don’t know. It’s um, could be
Unknown Speaker 50:30
Unknown Speaker 50:33
Ron Popeil 50:37
do doing nothing. I think I would get super bored. I think a lot anybody they people think you know, if you if you didn’t have to work, you wouldn’t work. If you work most of your life. It’s pretty forget that you’ve come into a city situation where you don’t have to. It’s a force. The guy I look up to, everybody has an idol. I had the privilege of working with Steve Wynn for 22 years. I was on his board of directors and, and he’s a great friend and I watched him work up close. Now, there’s, there’s a guy and he’s got a lot more than me. And he works every bit as hard as I do. Except that he’s been replayed. He’s truly one of those guys. that old saying, jack of all trades, master of none.
He truly is a master of all trades. Yeah. Genius at everything he does. Amazing. Just amazing. I’m good at a few things.
Jeremy Weisz 51:54
What did you see up close working with them closely?
Ron Popeil 52:00
He had a saying deliver the promise. He has a feel for what is his customer wants. And he’s capable of delivering it. He has a talent that that draws great talent to him. If you talk to him, You succumb. And if you’re good at what you do, he’ll recognize it. And you want to be with him? Because you’ll be going places and so I learned a great deal from hanging around in
Jeremy Weisz 52:46
the run, you know, obviously, you early on, you didn’t have success handed to you. Talk a little bit about what was your childhood like? huh
Ron Popeil 52:59
well, I’m My father when I was 15 or 16 years old, I never knew my mother.
Unknown Speaker 53:07
Ron Popeil 53:10
was the call of the day.
And I couldn’t sell. I had an innate talent for selling. And getting on standing on going to state fairs every summer 12 hour days, cutting up a lot of food.
Unknown Speaker 53:38
making a lot of money.
Ron Popeil 53:41
I remember I was at I was in the Ohio State Fair, and it was the end of the fair. And President United States was either leaving or coming into the city of Columbus. Everything gets shut down. When the President’s plane is a time period, I think in those days, two hours before two hours, but there were the Secret Service at the airport. And I had this bag of money. It was a lot of money. And I’m walking around and this guy walks up to me and he says, excuse me flashes some weight D and
what do you what do you have in the bag?
Unknown Speaker 54:32
Unknown Speaker 54:34
Unknown Speaker 54:37
Open it up.
Ron Popeil 54:40
He saw the money is okay, good. Get out here. That was it.
Jeremy Weisz 54:45
You’re a drug dealer or something?
Ron Popeil 54:47
Oh, they weren’t drugs in those days.
Unknown Speaker 54:53
Run a long time ago.
Jeremy Weisz 54:57
One thing you know, your book, you know The salesman of the century i thought was phenomenal. One thing that shocked me from it was how open you were about the personal stuff. You know, you you talk about your parents and how you went to a foster home to
Ron Popeil 55:16
foster home and orphanages. Yeah. To me, they’re great. Yeah. We’re here somewhere. It’s me all those things are tough stuff. But let me go back to when you went got a disease called retinitis pigmentosa ‘s you can’t drive it he can hardly see. And yet he’s driven and you can’t talk about it. He watched him get in office john into his little tender and he didn’t want Hell, and I’m just scared to death that he’s gonna just trip and fall. And amazing. blindness is just a terrible, terrible thing. And he’s had a greater portion of his life. And yet, look what he has accomplished. We go into the Wynn hotel on the Encore Hotel in Vegas. Everything is him from the moldings and the room, so detailed, he does all the voice stuff when you’re there. Just an amazing man. And the handicap that he has me I have no handicap of any time. Not like him. And so there are a lot of people out there that industry spite of some terrible things lift themselves up and then they get the job done. We’ll never retire. I’ll always keep in mind I want to run a business.
Unknown Speaker 57:18
Ron Popeil 57:20
the prior project has some other products that I created as well. Because there’s always ancillary products you want to have to sell along with the main product. Yeah. And so I have this blossoming onion cutter that makes french fries and wedges, lemons and a shaker that that I design that keeps your hands clean if you if you if you cook people know that when your bread chicken fish or meat your hands gets the Oh, you’re always Washington fries. Yeah, this this item here keeps your hands clean when you’re doing that kind of reading. But I’m trying to sell the whole thing. Because I don’t want to go back into business. As you know, I sold my business. They can 2008 something around that. And I just want to keep creating new products. So I’m not the one that’s going to be putting this thing on TV and having customer service. No, I’m looking for the inventor. I just want to win more products. want someone else to take all these products, put them on television, go to retail with them. And
that’s my goal.
Jeremy Weisz 58:47
We’ll see. I want to hear about Maxwell street days. What’s a typical day when you had to be it in selling and Maxwell’s
Unknown Speaker 59:01
Ron Popeil 59:05
while you didn’t put on a suit, that was number one.
It was some of those days were cold. And Maxwell seat was only good on a Sunday. You know, when I look at some of the old black and white movies of Chicago and New York
with all the push parts and things of that nature,
and that’s what Maxwell Street was, it wasn’t clean.
But every Sunday, people would go down that street, walk down the street, no cars, and look for cheap items, use motors.
All sorts of stuff that you find at a flea market today.
And it was nothing much more than a flea market and It started early in the morning. It ended about 230 in the afternoon. And at which time you threw all the garbage away, cleaned off your tables, folded up the tables, brought them into the fish store behind you had to deal with that smell. Of course, the fishbowl was closed on Sunday. I paid 20 or $30 a week to keep the stuff there so I wouldn’t have to keep
carrying it in my car. That would have been difficult.
And it was just hard work standing.
Standing in one place for long periods of time.
Your back hurts. It doesn’t hurt. It didn’t hurt them. It hurts today. I’m about I’m about three inches shorter. Today than I was when I was working on the actual Street. When you stand, that spinal column gets the pads disappear as much. Yeah, yeah, you get you get shorter. So don’t try not stand a lot. Take a break and sit as much as you can. It will my voice. I remember at the end of the day, I didn’t want to talk to anybody. Not as much as bad as the state fairs. state fairs were long hours. He started at the same time as Maxwell Street. Setting up and the fair would open up like it nine or 10 o’clock in the morning on the Sunday and you were ready to go at eight o’clock because you could get their employees get get into the fairgrounds early but It’s those late hours till 10 o’clock at night. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:04
For a long day
Ron Popeil 1:02:06
and you don’t want to talk to anybody. Some of the things I recall when you get hungry you got to take a break and eat. There was chili, chili and onions, a bowl of chili
Really Oh, Wisconsin State Fair. They used to roll this Husky this form the corn that had some charcoal underneath it and they wish to roll it into butter. Sounds great. So good. But as I mentioned in my infomercial, olive oil fried corn is much better tasting than the corn on the cob. That’s true. Because I remember how it tastes and it was good with the butter. It’s better without well.
Jeremy Weisz 1:03:06
What did you learn from the crowds? How did you modify your sales pitches throughout the years?
Unknown Speaker 1:03:12
Ron Popeil 1:03:15
the presentation is basically the same all the time. You know? It’s the you’re working the people who are you talking to? Who looks like they can afford and have enough interest. And so your focus of attention is with your audience. You’ve got 50 to 75 people in front of you. And
Unknown Speaker 1:03:48
you, you look for people who
Ron Popeil 1:03:55
can you think and afford your product who have sufficient interest that you can develop
with those people to buy your product and you attempt to get them down closer to you.
And you would say, can you step over here? There’s a little place for you here. And, and she may be the first one to buy the product. What I never did was ever have someone start the buying that work for me. But they used to call it shill that other salesmen used to use. I never had to do that. I and another good thing is, which was a town not a talent, but uh, we’d always keep someone who wanted to buy the product. But we would keep them to watch another demonstration. I
Jeremy Weisz 1:04:51
love this part of your book, by the way. Yeah,
Ron Popeil 1:04:53
yeah. So they would start the buying the next time and you’d always have a crowd. Nobody likes to walk up to a salesman that talks to large crowds and be the first person standing there. So there’s always, always keep someone in front of you.
Jeremy Weisz 1:05:12
How did you discover that? Because for me, I don’t know if I’d be disciplined enough, the person’s ready to give you their money. You hold off on it. How did you discover do that?
Ron Popeil 1:05:22
That was just passed down from generations of salespeople really. We’ve done the same thing. In England.
Selling sweets was a big thing. And so I didn’t did not invent that. It was just passed down and and people still do it today.
Jeremy Weisz 1:05:45
So what do you include in that presentation that works so well, because I remember a story in your book, you’re talking about you and Mel, and you go and you sold $500 and he sold $8. And you probably taught him the presentation. Yes. And so what Were you doing differently or what was working with how you did it?
Unknown Speaker 1:06:05
First of all,
Ron Popeil 1:06:08
Mel did not have the dexterity
of using the product as good as me. If you have to be more concerned about what you’re doing, not cutting your finger off and then your presentation, your sales presentation is going to be lacking to a great degree. And so I think that has something to do with it. There’s a variety of things I’m not gonna we, I don’t know if I had the I think I mentioned in the book Wait, there was a contest that took place in West Springfield, Massachusetts, and we were selling knives. And my cousin Arnold, who was in my knife show still running today. And there was another gentleman his name was nickname was frosty last name was was Shawn frosty was Sean frosty thought he was the best pitchman in the entire country. And Arnold could have been one of the best, certainly one of the best pitchman in the country, certainly with knives, and I was good. And so I said, Look, I have this location at the eastern states exposition. And it’s a 12 hour day and we’ll just rotate it really entire 10 days. Sean, he was he thought he had it hands down at the end of the show.
I had A little bit more money than Arnold. And we had both more than doubled. frosty was shot.
And I remember him saying, I will never work with you ever again.
And the fact that I had a few dollars more than an Arnold didn’t mean I was better than him. It the those, that that amount of money, it could have swung toward him, right. And so we were equal and, and he is a better knife worker, he could use a knife better than me. And his presentations were long and mimer I could get two presentations and for every presentation that he made, so we had our different ways of doing it. But the bottom line, were At the end of the day we were equal.
Jeremy Weisz 1:09:02
Yeah. So what are what were some of the most successful products of all time?
Ron Popeil 1:09:08
Oh my goodness. Oh wait, this will be backwards. The words will be backwards. Can you see that?
Jeremy Weisz 1:09:15
Yeah, inside the shell egg scrambler.
Ron Popeil 1:09:18
One of my favorite inventions. I didn’t like I didn’t like scrambled eggs that had the slime in it. And I was destined to make a product. Not that I was going to make a lot of money on it. I really wanted to make a product basically for myself. And I did. And that product got me so much publicity though. It actually homogenized the egg yolk and white together at a needle that had a little bend in it. And when the needle spun and I revolutions, it whip people thought if you put an egg on a needle, the egg would crack open I didn’t know that until I tried it a bunch of times and it didn’t. So when he came down and hit a button caused little mabuchi motor to turn around and cause that needle to spin, opened it up great for French toast. Because when you put the bread in the egg, it just sucked up a whole leg because there was no slime on it. Right right. It was in for great chefs. That’s a phenomenal product, but it never really
made big money. The bedroom Matic the pocket fisherman
I was ahead of my time with miracle broom, only to have the dustbuster come out with a real quality product. I have autocomp now you see the cups everywhere at Starbucks. Mr. DENTIST was a great Mr. Dennis. When I went to the dentist. He had Your teeth claim he came down with this arm and he had this little round thing that spun around right and polished your teeth. So I made up a small and unit with a couple of batteries in it. I made an electric one. Today you go in the drugstore,
Jeremy Weisz 1:11:16
they’re everywhere right? oral B Sonicare. Those are
Ron Popeil 1:11:21
I sold a lot of them. But I said in the commercial buy a separate Mr. Dennis for your dog.
Golden Retriever for dogs okay.
So open your mouth. You get a cold out there so I get this your teeth with this thing with the camera running excuse as separate Mr. Dentists, so I can say an extra unit marketing.
Jeremy Weisz 1:11:54
What about the food dehydrator? How did you come up with that?
Unknown Speaker 1:11:56
dehydrators we have two of them.
Ron Popeil 1:12:00
Yeah, I had 2 million
Unknown Speaker 1:12:10
Unknown Speaker 1:12:12
Ron Popeil 1:12:15
food dehydration has been around for hundreds of years. Indians did it. Think about the stuff that dry in the sun.
I’m designing a food dehydrator
wasn’t a difficult thing to do. The food dehydrators sales were gigantic because of what we talked about earlier when everybody watched television. And so if you’re the only guy on TV with a food dehydrator, and there’s another number, not a lot of other products, and you see this product and it makes beef jerky and it dries bananas for banana chips and apples for apples snacks and horses for horse race.
Unknown Speaker 1:13:02
Unknown Speaker 1:13:04
like that joke.
Jeremy Weisz 1:13:06
I know I listen to your book three times. I’m
Ron Popeil 1:13:10
like so yeah, it, it was simple. It worked. nothing could go wrong with it. I read my first one was with a light bulb.
Jeremy Weisz 1:13:22
Ron Popeil 1:13:23
my first food dehydrator was with a light bulb, instead of having a heating element in it, there’s enough heat from a light bulb if it’s enclosed in a container to dry your foods. Interesting. It was to Mickey Mouse though, to make into a giant product. And so I went to a heating element, which did basically the same thing that the light bulb did. And 50% of the people who bought the food dehydrator May be tricky with it because the beef jerky was pretty expensive, right? He bought it in the stores and still is today
but for health food nuts, you know
no additives no preservatives for the banana chips and take your vegetables. We made
Jeremy Weisz 1:14:19
four roll ups out of like natural fruit roll ups out there.
Ron Popeil 1:14:22
Yeah. Great, great product. I love that because of its simplicity. And it was just
Jeremy Weisz 1:14:31
simple. What was your first infomercial? What product did you do?
Ron Popeil 1:14:38
Oh, could have been the food dehydrator.
infomercial 20 minutes in 30 seconds.
Unknown Speaker 1:14:47
It could have been that.
Ron Popeil 1:14:50
My memories not that good. If someone’s
Jeremy Weisz 1:14:51
thinking about doing an infomercial. There’s certain elements that people make mistakes with or leave out. Don’t Don’t do infomercial.
Ron Popeil 1:15:01
Know, the cost of media today?
It’s not like it was. And
unless you have a spectacular product that the retailer will love
that fits in every venue. The chances of being successful in an infomercial business is slim.
Slim. Mm hmm. Now the people know, the most successful people.
And I’m not the most successful guy in the infomercial business.
But Guffey, ranker. is Bill Guthrie and Greg rancor. Two great guys.
Jeremy Weisz 1:15:49
Ron Popeil 1:15:52
But they’re in the continuity business. You buy the product at a low price. They keep sending it to you every 60 or 90 days. BINGO, BINGO and they have a good product. And people are always getting your audience never dies because there are more kids growing up with acne and so as you get older you get rid of it, but there’s always a whole new audience, you know. Then they do quality shows, and their quality guys and everything they do is first. Yeah. But that’s continuity. Yeah. Continuity product. Then infomercial business is great. But
Jeremy Weisz 1:16:39
Ron, who else to look to is top of the field in marketing, and no direct marketing. He’s always
Unknown Speaker 1:16:47
Yeah. You know,
Ron Popeil 1:16:57
I have to say who I just mentioned.
Got the Greg rancor?
Good stuff? good product. good presentation. Let’s face it all presentations showing you the problem. Show you solution and you have the price. Yeah. And that format
Unknown Speaker 1:17:22
Jeremy Weisz 1:17:23
there obviously you’ve had tons of success what were some of the big mistakes that you learned a lot from.
Ron Popeil 1:17:30
First of all, I haven’t had any mistakes.
I’ve never had a product that I didn’t.
I’ve always made money. The eggs scramble, I didn’t make a lot of money. But if you go over all the items with you, Mm hmm. You’d have to say Winner Winner Winner, winner, winner. Winner. I am hoping the fryer with more time and money put into it will be a winner. It’s a worldwide product because people fried food all over the world. People are always afraid of getting burned. It will do big foods like Turkey.
It’s the only
it’s the only one that has the
approval on large food fryers. You might ask me about the butterball turkey fryer. A fillet with that. No, no, not
only Europe, I’m sure some of your audience is sold a lot of machines.
butterball turkey fryers, nice size box, probably too big for someone’s kitchen. But they still sold tons of them. Every major retailer carried it and their history November the 20th because they lost the safety loose or safe. approval, because they can’t meet the new regulations. So the only one guy out there that can meet the regulations.
Unknown Speaker 1:19:09
They only run with a small fryer.
Ron Popeil 1:19:11
So that’s a good position to be. And yeah, I hope it’s a reason for someone to want to fill up all those retail stores that won’t have a tricky prior this Christmas.
Jeremy Weisz 1:19:24
I mentioned the beginning ran about there was a fun fact. And the most people know about you in you mentioned, there’s a very embarrassing story that you had early on. with, you know, I’m talking about from your book, the most embarrassing part of your book, where it has to do with the National Guard.
Ron Popeil 1:19:49
Oh, well, that was that was Yeah, that was the story that
Yeah, that was my most embarrassing moment. Um,
I was selling a shoe shine spray.
It was clear in color. In those days, people weren’t wearing sneakers or sandals as they do today. We had conventional shoes. And
they were people who so many people shine shoes for a living.
And women shoes had righted colors as they do today. And what do you find red shoe polish or green shoe polish or tan shoe polish. And so we started selling this shoe shine spray in an aerosol can. It was clear. And
I think we call it Penny shine.
And we just sprayed it on the show. And if you looked at the shoe that was sprayed and the one that wasn’t In one look pretty nice. And the other one didn’t. And we tell them how much price was $2 for a game. And then we tried the other shoe and the customer would opt to buy it or not. And we sold a lot of them in stores. But, and I was making a lot of money, but it wasn’t good enough for me. I asked myself who needs to have their shoe shot to the army? Well, how am I going to get to the army, but we had an actual guard in Chicago that had a big armory.
That in near Chicago, and Michigan Avenue, it’s still there.
And that’s where the National Guard marches up and downs, this giant block I said I gotta find someone to get me into this army so I could sell all those guys marching up and down
and I had a beat up
crushed in Chesterfield truck just to deal with a cigarette and I bought this thing for 350 bucks
Unknown Speaker 1:22:25
Unknown Speaker 1:22:30
I bought it
Ron Popeil 1:22:32
just before I ended up finding this contact who got me in to the armory and I walked in with my with Mel and we’d have these cases of spray. And the sergeant was he was getting everybody was getting paid off somehow. The guy that got me in was getting so much money. And he had taken care of and the sergeant said, attention at ease. Ron Popeil is here. He’s got this spray that’s been approved by the National Guard. Was it approved by
$2 a can. And even if you didn’t have to demonstrate it, if they could shine these boots and shoes, they were in heaven, man. And so the money was they were throwing money at us. And we used to come up every Wednesday
and load up this truck and we’re making but that wasn’t good enough for me.
Jeremy Weisz 1:23:46
Seems to be a theme with
Ron Popeil 1:23:48
this to this guy. My connection. Yeah. Um
How do I get to sell the entire National Guard’s so I got to Find out that I had a general if I wanted to sell the National Guard, and I said is there were sir general and my friend said, we have one here is a three star general and I’ll set up an appointment for you. And so we set up the appointment. It was a summer night, summer, daytime. And Mel and I went there. I remember knocking on the guy’s door General’s door. And a sergeant opened up the door. And I saw the biggest office I’d ever seen in my life. And the carpeting was royal blue. And I remember that when I put my first step in Germany, my foot sank, way down in this carpeting. I had never, ever felt that comfort zone before. We walked in and the general had was sitting behind The desk and there were two chairs in front of the desk but they weren’t. One was in front of the other, they weren’t parallel with each other. And I sat on the one closest to the general and my partner with the case of of the spray sat behind me. And I started to tell a general about how great the product was. And without asking I turned around and took the cat out of the package and or Mel handed me a cat and I walked without being asked, and the sergeant is just standing there. Now the sergeant really is the generals made. He cleans the clothes and presses it shines the shoes and every every generals got they call them aides the other way I made a basically the same right and When I go around, I said, gentlemen, let me show you this food over here for you. And he pulls up his pants and I spray it. I know that that glistening versus the other, it’s not any different than in the stores, where the people would compare both and say, Well, what a difference. I knew that was going to happen, no matter how beautiful the sergeant had sprayed that had shine the generals boots, and sure enough, he’s looking at it and the sergeants glaring down and as I’m talking to the general, I looked down at the boot I sprayed and it turns the color of your shirt. White as white as that. Now the general Scott
he’s got one white boot.
Unknown Speaker 1:26:55
Ron Popeil 1:26:58
never saw that before. I didn’t want to say I said the shine is going to come back I don’t bullshit and I don’t lie, but I gotta tell you that shine is gonna come back. I Polet from left field
I took in spray the other boo, hoping
but if did not, did not.
And I said and I got up and I said there’s something wrong with the can. That’s what I said to myself and I got up and I walked over to my partner whose mouth was open
and his eyes were not blinking.
He is good along the side to watch the presentation he got out of the chair
and I grabbed the box out of his hand and I put the box in front of the generals face they said pick out any can
General put down another can hoping I was hoping that whatever was wrong with that can by choosing a new can, we would get the desired results. And then I looked at the gentleman, I said, Do you have another pair of boots? And he said, paused and looked up at the sergeant said, Sergeant. Bring me another pair of boots. The sergeant did not move. Whoa, General says some. And it Sergeant doesn’t move. And then the general got angry. He said, I said, Bring me another pair. Yes, sir. He turned around, went into a room came out with another pair of boots, and I sprayed
that boot. look great up. Thank you. Must have been McCann. I don’t know what’s gonna happen with those two.
I sprayed the other boot really quickly. glean as, Oh, it’s starting to another pair of white boots. Now general Scott two pair of Snow White boots. I say to myself, I gotta get out of here run for combat.
Unknown Speaker 1:29:23
So I stood up
Ron Popeil 1:29:27
and I looked at the general right in the eye. And I said, as I’m looking at you, Jeremy, I said,
well, General, can I sell the National Guard?
He looked at his boots and he looked at me and he said, quote, well, if it’s okay with Colonel Kane, it’s okay with me. I said, Thank you very much, Jim. General, that turned around and walked out with my partner. never went back again. Never sold another candidates should again
What went wrong?
We determined it was humidity.
It was a hot summer afternoon and the humidity in the air. Add some effect on the spray. And that’s what caused it. What happened? What was this Colonel Kane? Colonel Kane went on to become lieutenant governor of the state of Illinois, got indicted went to jail. That’s all most politicians do with no.
End of story. What an embarrassing moment.
Jeremy Weisz 1:30:40
What made you run what made you decide to ask for the order?
Ron Popeil 1:30:46
I asked myself that today. Let’s
Unknown Speaker 1:30:53
who knew I was going to get an answer
Jeremy Weisz 1:30:55
like that is wild.
Ron Popeil 1:30:57
You would think that he would be sweet Wearing at me and the and I always think God sometimes that there’s a sergeant somewhere with a paring knife
Unknown Speaker 1:31:11
Ron Popeil 1:31:14
just cussing me out
Jeremy Weisz 1:31:18
it’s a vision the great stories I love that story. Ron since this is inspired insider I always ask what’s been your in your career personally or professionally what’s been your lowest moment and then how you pushed forward through it
Unknown Speaker 1:31:38
Unknown Speaker 1:31:41
Unknown Speaker 1:31:43
we there are problems
Ron Popeil 1:31:47
that come up um
the rotisserie for instance.
There was a little moment when I received a notice From an agency in Washington to have a recall on my product
Unknown Speaker 1:32:11
Ron Popeil 1:32:13
I couldn’t understand it.
And I had built a quality machine.
I had about 200,000 machines sold.
Unknown Speaker 1:32:28
And there were
Ron Popeil 1:32:35
six people involved, but only two serious complaints.
And that agency in Washington
wanted me to have recall
for the entire 200,000 well
and I couldn’t understand that and then was a low point
thinking something that’s totally out of your control
and what it would have affected would have on the future of the product.
Unknown Speaker 1:33:17
it cost me
Ron Popeil 1:33:20
a couple hundred grand with lawyers and stuff to narrow it down to
a time period
that envelop the six people.
And so whatever was sold that we had documentation on
Unknown Speaker 1:33:42
in direct response.
Ron Popeil 1:33:47
We contacted that small window of people and nobody returned the product. Nobody. I mean it narrowed it down to like, I think thousand people or something in that time period. And it was nothing. It was Washington DC, Washington DC doing it stuff. show what’s working. And that bothered me to a great except when when you don’t have control of something. It’s like going into a courtroom. And you don’t know what the outcome would be. Yeah. And I remember I remember suing Radio Shack. They copied my Mr. Microphone. Hmm. To the point where if you went in to a radio shack store and asked them for a Mr. microphone, they would sell you their unit. And I could not tell the difference between the two microphones really. And the judge favored them in the case Because he didn’t like my lawyers from Washington, I had friends of mine that were Washington it came out. He was the judge was wired with some lawyers here and he was the most overturn judge and make Los Angeles system. I lost the case. And on top of that, they asked for me to pay their legal thing. God
Unknown Speaker 1:35:25
that’s painful. And the judge said
Unknown Speaker 1:35:27
yes to that too. But I could not tell.
Ron Popeil 1:35:33
I lost all faith in the judicial system. When that occurred.
Jeremy Weisz 1:35:39
That seems like a big problem. People knocking other products off. Is that
Ron Popeil 1:35:44
on a simple product, like Mr. microphone, same colors, everything was the same. unfortunate situation. Yeah. And I don’t I don’t blame radio. For trying it
Unknown Speaker 1:36:03
with the judicial system, that’s a toughy.
Ron Popeil 1:36:07
When you can’t trust the judicial system, that’s what we have in this country that separates us from all these other countries. And when it doesn’t work,
Unknown Speaker 1:36:19
let’s get you down.
Jeremy Weisz 1:36:23
We’re on the other side. What’s been one of the proudest moments? Oh, I know.
Ron Popeil 1:36:40
I am. I have a hard time answering that. You can’t please everybody. Um, I’ve been lucky. Being on I chose the right business. At the right time and anybody choosing the right business at the right time has kind of an edge of being successful. As I said, you mentioned, infomercial business is the way you got it and when I got in it, I’m gonna sell anything on TV being in the right place at the right time. Um, when I look back one of my we talked about how I asked the general if I could, can I still sell the National Guard? He came up with this Colonel game thing and what a great it sir though. When I was working in the Woolworth store in Chicago, long hours live demonstration dot two 800 to 1000 people a day. made good money. And then someone said to me, Mom, do you know that you can make a TV commercial down in Tampa, Florida? For $550? And I said, How can he do that? He says, well, the station has these cameras, and they’re not being used at night.
Unknown Speaker 1:38:29
Early hours in the morning,
Ron Popeil 1:38:32
and that’s when you do it. What motivated me to be on an airplane within that week? That to me, when I look back at something, something made me don’t do tomorrow, which you can do today. And I’ve run my life pretty much that way. got something to do do it now. Don’t procrastinate. Sounded good. Do it. Don’t talk about it. Do it. Most people talk about it. It doesn’t get done. Yeah. Yeah.
Jeremy Weisz 1:39:19
You saw that opportunity.
Unknown Speaker 1:39:21
Ron Popeil 1:39:23
And, and I look back at myself and I try to ask myself what were saying thinking.
Um, what was I thinking? I don’t remember. But I look back and say, well, you sure did the right thing. That was a huge big turning point.
That was the spray gun, the gun of washes and waxes your car and these tablets and the handle and I stay down and my friend was in the insurance business in Tampa. And I used this garage and this and this lawn and you have these two little brats running And those little brats became big casino people later on in life.
Unknown Speaker 1:40:07
Interesting. Yeah. Yeah.
Jeremy Weisz 1:40:10
Ron, what for entrepreneurs? What’s a piece of advice that they should follow or that you would have for them? Just any entrepreneur out there? What would you tell them as far as in, in business, your best piece of advice?
Ron Popeil 1:40:32
Well, there is no such thing. There is no best. There’s too many factors. There’s no one factor.
Unknown Speaker 1:40:43
Ron Popeil 1:40:46
If you have an idea, it shouldn’t be just words or thought. Do it. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t do tomorrow, what you can today you’re going to deliver Something to the consumer. Steve Wynn would say you got to deliver the promise. It’s not gonna work. And you, and you got to put your time and if you don’t put the time in Yeah, it’s not gonna happen. The guys that are really successful today, though, are the guys that can attract top talent.
So who you associate with, and the ability to recognize talent of other people that will help you get your job done. faster, easier and better. Yeah.
Jeremy Weisz 1:41:46
Ron, I appreciate your time. I have one last question. But before I ask it, where should we point people towards? Where should they check out online?
Ron Popeil 1:41:55
Five in one fryer.com that’s five in one Trier. Come.
The show was there. The other products are there.
I designed the website. I’m, I’m everywhere. I think I’m everywhere but nowhere. And the crab cakes this morning. I’ll be working on that this afternoon. Yeah, I’m grabbing already for the QVC hearing on April 19.
Unknown Speaker 1:42:35
Ron Popeil 1:42:37
I look forward to that. I my chances of selling out are pretty good.
Jeremy Weisz 1:42:42
I would I would bet on that. Yeah.
Ron Popeil 1:42:44
Pretty good. Um, the
Unknown Speaker 1:42:50
that Malcolm Gladwell
Unknown Speaker 1:42:53
Ron Popeil 1:42:57
I never knew who he was. When he interviewed me, and I wonder if the interview would have been different if I really knew who he was, when I look up to him, he’s one of those genius guys.
Unknown Speaker 1:43:18
Ron Popeil 1:43:22
And he Oh, he went back to QVC with me and wanted to see all the things they really did. People just think I get on the air and sell product. Wrong. I’m buying the food. I’m styling with food. I’m figuring out what tables have, what food to show. In So look, I’m cleaning stuff and making sure we have enough electricity for everything. I do. I do it all. Very detailed. I just don’t think I can trust someone else to on the electricity that I’m not going to have enough electricity. So I made sure that that takes place. So it’s quite detailed. No, it’s not. And I’m writing another book soon. And hopefully I’ll sell the project and I take notes every day. This interview will it will go in today’s log. Yeah. And it it alone. It’ll be a much better book than the last one on how to do certain things. And the step by step
Jeremy Weisz 1:44:52
you would title Yeah. Yeah.
Ron Popeil 1:44:57
It’s not as easy as it looks. It’s not as easy as it looks to me. You’re looking. Yes. Yeah. Is it in? And it’s because I do everything.I complain about working so hard, but I enjoy it. And I keep doing it. Yeah.
Jeremy Weisz 1:45:25
I like that. And that’s why I asked these questions because it’s not as easy as it looked when you had that turning point where you flew in that plane and made that commercial infomercial. You had already been selling on the streets, long hours going to county fairs. You know, no one sees that.
Ron Popeil 1:45:41
I made a lot of money and was quite satisfying. You know?
It wasn’t working hard. And you know, just struggling. Right, right, right. Yeah.
Jeremy Weisz 1:45:55
Thank you, Ron. My last question is, I know you probably get pitched a lot
Ron Popeil 1:46:01
Not really. You don’t people with inventions, people with inventions if they can get to me? Yeah. The first thing I will say to them is, I’ll try to help you. And I don’t want to be your partner. And I wanted up partners are only good for dancing.
Unknown Speaker 1:46:21
Ron Popeil 1:46:24
and I never want to accept anything. I don’t believe in these kind of deals. I hope you will you give me a piece of this or I stay away from all of that. If I can help you. I’ll help you.
Jeremy Weisz 1:46:38
I was gonna ask what the craziest invention that someone is presented you with? Oh,
Ron Popeil 1:46:46
it’s something that if you took the back of a chair and put it under a doorknob, it would do the same thing.
You know, you would take the back of a chair and angle it under a doorknob to prevent the door from opening up,
Jeremy Weisz 1:47:06
right? Yes, I don’t do that often. But yeah,
Ron Popeil 1:47:09
I know. Yeah, 50 years ago, 60 years ago, 80 years ago. That’s what people did. They took a chair and a doorknob was around and they put this back of the chair and that would prevent the door from opening. It was a form of protection, right. And some people have a U shape rod extension that goes to the floor, basically did the same thing. So no.
Jeremy Weisz 1:47:42
Run. Thank you so much. You know, everyone should check out five one fryer and I’m looking forward. What’s up,
Ron Popeil 1:47:49
five and one fryer I got fired,
Jeremy Weisz 1:47:50
calm. fryer calm. I’m looking forward to not as easy as it looks. So I really appreciate it.
Ron Popeil 1:48:00
thanks so very much for the interview.
Unknown Speaker 1:48:01
Thanks. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 1:48:03
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