Quote for Today

“Set it, and forget it!” — Ronald Popeil

Ronald M. Popeil (born May 3, 1935 in New York City; pron.: /poʊˈpiːl/)is an American inventor and marketing personality, best known for his direct response marketing company Ronco. He is well known for his appearances in infomercials for the Showtime Rotisserie (“Set it, and forget it!”) and for using the phrase, “But wait, there’s more!” on television as early as the mid-1950s.

Popeil learned his trade from his father, Samuel, who was also an inventor and carny salesman of kitchen-related gadgets such as the Chop-O-Matic and the Veg-O-Matic. The Chop-O-Matic retailed for US$3.98 and sold over two million units. The invention of the Chop-O-Matic caused a problem that marked the entrance of Ron Popeil into television. It turned out that the Chop-O-Matic was so efficient at chopping vegetables, that it was impractical for salesmen to carry the vegetables they needed to chop. The solution was to tape the demonstration. Once the demonstration was taped, it was a short step to broadcasting the demonstration as a commercial.

Popeil received the Ig Nobel Prize in Consumer Engineering in 1993. The awards committee described him as the “incessant inventor and perpetual pitchman of late night television”[ and awarded the prize in recognition of his “redefining the industrial revolution” with his devices.

In August 2005, he sold his company, Ronco, to Fi-Tek VII, a Denver holding company, for US$55 million. He said he plans to continue serving as the spokesman and inventor, but wants to spend more time with his family. As of 2006, he lives in Beverly Hills, California, with his wife, Robin Popeil and two of his five daughters. Ashley Tisdale is his cousin.

Although Popeil often receives credit for having been the first to use this phrase, “But wait, there’s more,” its origin is attributed to the State Fair JAM Auctioneers. The JAM Auctioneers also were the first to use the phrase, “How much would you pay?” Ed Valenti, founder and seller of the Ginsu knife added the word “Now” to that phrase in the 1970s. Like the JAM Auctioneers of past, each time that question was asked, another item would be added to the sale, thus enhancing the audience’s and potential buyers’ perceived value of the purchase

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