Right at the top is the dumbest staged photo I think I've ever seen: a line of people in a Sears parking lot, standing behind yellow caution tape, dressed in their winter coats as they wait for a crew of supposedly Amish men to unload a few Heat Surge boxes out of the back of a horse-drawn buggy.
Give me a break.
The idea that a huge retailer like Sears takes deliveries from guys in buggies is laughable. The implication that the men in the photo are actually Amish or the people behind the caution tape are customers is equally silly. The only true thing in this photo is the fact that Sears is now selling the heaters; they should be ashamed, in my opinion.
The ad's text is full of the same type of absurdity. The breathless copy crams in so many pseudo-technical terms it's like a Monty Python script. "This is the revolutionary Heat Surge HT L.E.D., the first-ever appliance with Hybrid-Thermic™ heat technology. Hybrid-Thermic heat is an engineering genius so advanced, it actually uses a micro-furnace from the Coast of China and a thermal heat exchanger to perform its miracles. The thermal heat exchanger acts like the rays of the sun to heat you, the kids, the pets and everything else. The micro-furnace then heats all the surrounding air.... In fact, it actually produces Ortho-Thermic™, bone-soothing heat."
Oh, wow, a micro-furnace from the Coast of China! We all know everything that comes from China is good. And a hot LED -- where do they get those? The reason LEDs are energy-efficient is because they don't put out heat. And how many more ™ marks can they use on made-up words like Ortho-Thermic?
A new section of the ad has the bold headline "A Consumer Best Buy," followed by the claim that it "boast[s] an overwhelming Consumer 'Best Buy' on the HeatReport.com website." This is clearly supposed to make readers think of Consumer Reports -- the venerable consumer watchdog, which has a history of giving the Heat Surge / Amish heaters a less than warm review. But HeatReport.com is a website created by Heat Surge -- it's not an independent review -- so it's full of glowing recommendations. Big surprise.
The ad refers again and again to a "double coupon" deal, but it never says how much the single coupon is for. The heater costs $398 if you call in the next 24 hours; it's $547 after that, although I had to read it about three times to find that price listed. The only difference from their past ads is that shipping and handling are included with this "coupon." To make up for that decrease, though, the $398 price is almost $100 more than they were selling heaters for last year. Maybe the price went up because of all that revolutionary technology from China.
The ad claims the heater uses $.09 of electricity per hour in "standard mode." It then says "yet it produces up to an amazing 4,606 British Thermal Units (BTU's) on the high setting." No mention of how many BTUs it puts out on the standard setting, or how much electricity it uses on the high setting. (The Heat Surge website lists the standard setting as putting out 2,303 BTUs, so I would infer it costs $.18 per hour to run it on the high setting.) Note that 4,606 BTUs is less than the amount of heat put out by a 1,500-watt heater, and less than was put out by the version Heat Surge was selling last year. (4,606 BTUs equals about 1,350 watts.)
Just remember these facts:
- The Amish heater costs $398. Electric heaters that put out comparable amounts of heat can be had for under $100. Even ones that come in furniture-like cabinets cost substantially less than $398.
- $.09 per hour will be added to your electric bill whenever the heater is used in standard mode. If you run it 24 hours a day, that's $2.16, and if you do that for a month it adds about $65 to your bill. If you run it on high, the electric charges will double. Will your gas or oil bill be decreased by more than that? Natural gas creates cheaper heat per BTU than electricity -- 60 percent cheaper, according to Consumer Reports, so that seems doubtful to me.
Here's some background on the Universal Media Syndicate and Arthur Middleton Capital Holdings, the company behind the Heat Surge ads.