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S06.E09: The 100th Episode: Storm Stoppers, Pipsnacks, Squatty Potty, Heidi Ho

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The Sharks celebrate 100 episodes with a look back at their favorite memories, plus they reveal why they participate on the show, as well as take part in a cake-cutting ceremony and a champagne toast. Also: a mother and son who are concerned with healthy bowels; a plywood alternative for storm protection; organic mini-popcorn created by siblings from Brooklyn; a dairy-free line of plant-based cheeses; and an update on the Living Christmas Company invested in by Mark Cuban during Season 5.

 

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I like fancy popcorn. I'd buy it. 

 

I've actually tried that vegan cheese. Maybe it has gotten better (it was probably three years ago now), but it wasn't good. And I'm not anti-vegan cheese, per se, I've had plenty of it (I'm not vegan, it's just a thing that happens when you live in Portland). 

 

As far as the squatting toilet stool... I wouldn't buy it, but I've spent plenty of time in Asia using squat toilets and I don't disagree with the theory. 

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I think they should name it the stool stool.  (I'll show myself out)

 

I don't like how the sharks who are 'out' get involved and start goading the inventor to accept an offer, don't negotiate etc etc.  If you are out, stay out!

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The guy with the expensive window coverings for hurricanes must realize that if he is selling a reusable product, he will eventually run out of customers. I have lots of friends on the coast of N.C. who use plywood, store it under the house for the next time they need it, and can reuse it for several seasons until the wood starts to warp and splinter. It may be unsightly, but if your home is being pummeled with wind and rain, you really don't care.

I'd also be interested in knowing more about the popcorn once you try it, JerseyGirl.

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So the "Rent a Christmas Tree" business has been post-Shark for 2 years, and they're getting ready to do a test run at 5 stores? I'm glad it was pitched as a pseudo-charity because Mark won't be getting his money out of that in this lifetime. Proof that not every business blows up after appearing.

I've said before that "inventors love toilets", and it's still true. I don't know what it is, but every inventor show that I've ever seen has had toilet products at one time or another. But this was the only one with actual sales. Although I do think their valuation was reasonable. The Sharks wanted more than 5%, he was willing to raise the equity for more cash, and they outright said no. I wouldn't have blamed them for walking out, although I do think Lori will be a good partner.

Something about the Pipcorn offers confused me. (And I usually try to be the one who explains this stuff, even when no one asks. :) ) Barbara said she wanted a proportional withdrawal any time they did a disbursement. To me that seems like standard behavior that wouldn't even merit a mention. Why wouldn't she get $10 for their $90? That's what partnership means. Unless it's agreed upon as a salary, and disbursement would either be matched or dilute their ownership share. If that's not default, what is?

Edited by Amarsir
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Squatty Potty.

 

Bwahhahahahahaha.

 

Dr. Oz recommending it doesn't exactly reassure ME personally.  He's a quack.

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Squatty Potty.

 

Bwahhahahahahaha.

 

Dr. Oz recommending it doesn't exactly reassure ME personally.  He's a quack.

 

How about Howard Stern?

 

BTW, I was on Amazon's movers and shakers grocery section and Pipcorn's 3 different flavors jumped up to 130,000%.

 

Someone mentioned kernels getting stuck in their teeth, the owners last night said you won't have that problem with Pipcorn.

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I'd be happy to try both the Pipcorn and Heidi Ho, just so long as I don't have to set foot into Whole Foods in order to get them.

The Squatty Potty...look, I understand the reasons why, but that's just not really a product I think America needs, and being recommended by Dr. Oz is a great reason to stay far, far away.

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I wish they would have had flashbacks of a few more crazy products/inventors.

Me too! Because I've not watched this show from the very beginning, and I know they are out there. I caught a rerun on MSNBC and some other guy was there instead of Mark. Has Cuban not been around for the entire run?

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Hey, I'm just glad that they remembered that scam artist who was planning on turning seawater into gold.

 

Although the guy who was selling the watches with "negative ions" that Daymond busted for stealing a design should have made the the list.

 

Okay, so we can add cheese to Kevin's repertoire, along with wine, olive oil, and half-remembered ancient history.  And he named-checked the Chevaliers du Tastevin again.

 

 

Has Cuban not been around for the entire run?

They started off with an informercial guy, Kevin Harrington, who was really, really boring and never made deals.  They had Mark on for a few episodes in the second season, he clicked a lot better, and he was permanently the fifth shark by the third season.

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Omg that gold dude! Was he for real? I remember seeing his pitch & thinking wth?

The copa da vino guy who has been on twice baffles me. Why does he turn down their offers?

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The copa da vino guy who has been on twice baffles me. Why does he turn down their offers?

Because he is by far the biggest asshole who's ever been on the show.  Even Kevin at his worst isn't that bad.

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For anyone who's interested, you can buy a 2 lb. bag of the smaller hulless popcorn and pop your own for $11.89 on Amazon. It's from Tender Pop, and I think that's the same place the Pipcorn place get their kernels.

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Heidi Ho wasn't ready for the surge in attention.  Their website is running really slowly.

 

They are also not available online and don't seem to have distribution on the east coast.  No vegan cheese (or cheeze, as they spell it) for me.

 

Lori seems to be nuts for it, though.  She said on Twitter that it was the fastest deal they've ever done.  I'm glad she didn't do her "pull the offer if the person doesn't accept immediately" and also that the other Sharks made sure the deal didn't get scuttled by all dropping out quickly.

 

She also put out this.

Edited by starri

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Squatty Potty lost me when they said they were trying to get approved as a medical device. I was hoping some of the sharks would jump on him for that (Mark and Robert in particular seem to hate "snake oil salesmen" who claim medical benefits for generic health products). Maybe it was edited out.

 

None of the sharks pointed out that absolutely nothing about "Heidi Ho" indicated that it was a cheese substitute? I'm guessing if we see an update, that product will have gone through a name change.

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If I'm that concerned about the proper colonic evacuation technique, why can't I use any old step stool instead of Squatty Potty? I didn't get it.

 

For anyone who's interested, you can buy a 2 lb. bag of the smaller hulless popcorn and pop your own for $11.89 on Amazon. It's from Tender Pop, and I think that's the same place the Pipcorn place get their kernels.

 

Thanks, cooksdelight. I wandered over to the Pipcorn site after the show, but I really only like white cheddar flavor so guess I don't need to overpay them.

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Howard Stern has been hawking Squatty Potty nonstop for months.  He claims he uses it and loves it.  Since it is paid advertising, it's a bit suspect, although I have no doubt that he may really like it.  He has always been famous for obsessing over toilet issues, which is probably why they selected his show as an advertising medium.  His is one of the few outlets left where there is old fashioned live advertising read by the hosts.

 

There's something about it that grosses me out, though. 


Squatty Potty lost me when they said they were trying to get approved as a medical device. I was hoping some of the sharks would jump on him for that (Mark and Robert in particular seem to hate "snake oil salesmen" who claim medical benefits for generic health products). Maybe it was edited out.

 

None of the sharks pointed out that absolutely nothing about "Heidi Ho" indicated that it was a cheese substitute? I'm guessing if we see an update, that product will have gone through a name change.

I could think of a number of reasons why Heidi Ho was not a good name.  I would be curious to try the cheese. 

 

Medical device:  so they want insurance to pay for it?  I have done litigation in this area.  It might work.  But it would be a long haul and a ripoff of taxpayers if Medicare had to start paying for it, or Medicaid.  They'll start charging way more than it actually costs.

Edited by GussieK
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The Squatty Potty...look, I understand the reasons why, but that's just not really a product I think America needs, and being recommended by Dr. Oz is a great reason to stay far, far away.

 

Squatty Potty lost me when they said they were trying to get approved as a medical device. I was hoping some of the sharks would jump on him for that (Mark and Robert in particular seem to hate "snake oil salesmen" who claim medical benefits for generic health products). Maybe it was edited out.

I'm sure it's easy to snark on the squatty potty if you've never suffered from bowel problems or hemorrhoids, but the reality is that they're endemic in America (about 50% of american adults will get hemorrhoids at some point in their lives) and excruciatingly painful.  There is also legitimate medical research showing that changing the angle at which we sit/squat can significantly reduce or eliminate hemorrrhoids.  As someone who's suffered (in silence, to avoid the snickering) from them since my early 20s, I can tell you I'd absolutely pay $25 once to address the cause of a problem, rather than years of Preparation H (which sells over $100 mil/year worldwide), enemas, laxatives and prescription meds.  How much do you think the Johnson and Johnson circular stapler used in hemorrhoid stapling costs (not to mention the cost of surgery) and how desperate and in pain would you have to be to let a doctor use a stapler in your rectum?  (Bonus tip for women: the surgeon should insert his/her finger in your vagina to make sure it isn't getting caught in the stapler during the procedure!  Fun!)

 

Can you simulate the squatty potty at home?  Sure.  A stack of books, perching on the toilet seat itself, or (as one amazon reviewer suggests as a cheaper alternative) standing on soup cans would work just fine and cost less (until you turn your ankle when the soup can shifts, I suppose), but I don't consider $25 to be an outrageous cost for something that was designed for the specific anatomical purpose for which it is used, and I'd rather not keep my books or my soup at the base of my toilet.  I mean, really, I think the Snuggie was $29.99 the year it came out.  There are hundreds of overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon, including this gem.  But I guess hey, pooping is funny!  (or at least it is until you can't anymore)

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Medical device:  so they want insurance to pay for it?  I have done litigation in this area.  It might work.

I guess I can understand why they'd go after that if it cost several hundred dollars, but if it's $25, that seems a little excessive.

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I apologize if I sounded snarky. I do think it's a legitimate product -- as a health-related product. But going after insurance money or trying to get it subsidized by taxpayers as a legitimate medical device, as another poster pointed out, crosses a line for me. It's the difference between a vitamin and a drug: one merely enhances  health, while the other restores health.

 

Do I think doctors should be able to recommend someone go out and buy it for $25? Absolutely! Do I think doctors should be able to write a prescription for it and have it subsidized by insurance? I'm sorry, but I don't.

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In my observation, the sharks seem to steer away from chemical-type medical products that are ingested or applied, as opposed to physical-comfort based products.  Anything that could require FDA approval or evaluation is normally a no-go in the tank. 

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In my observation, the sharks seem to steer away from chemical-type medical products that are ingested or applied, as opposed to physical-comfort based products.  Anything that could require FDA approval or evaluation is normally a no-go in the tank. 

Yeah, there's a medical research company I drive past pretty often - I worked in the same building as them, 20 years ago when they first started. This year they had a banner up announcing they've *finally* got FDA approval for their first product. I would not want to have been one of their early investors.

 

That first guy - sheesh, how does he manage to sell anything? So anti-charismatic - and his website is so early Geocities. That's not the sort of website that would encourage me to spend big bucks.

 

After some poking around there I found that the fasteners - the only part I thought could be a viable product, because being able to pop it in and out instead of nail it on is a good idea - aren't even his invention: he's just using some off-the-shelf 3M fasteners. And I'd really be surprised if that panel isn't something you could get elsewhere - there aren't any closeups but it looks like corrugated plastic sheets, only presumably thicker.

 

Also "We do not distribute our product through “big box” home improvement chains, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot." Well, there's your problem.

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It's incredibly difficult to get a medical product approved. It's why you don't see Medicare paying for ThighMasters or Sketchers Shape-Ups. The point of FDA approval is that you have demonstrated that a product is both safe and effective for the purpose for which it is approved. The reason the process is so tedious and expensive is the level of scientific proof required to meet that standard. The cost of approval is on the manufacturer/marketer, no "taxpayer subsidy" involved. At the end, if they can provide conclusive scientific proof that the device reduces or cures hemorrhoids (for example), why shouldn't it be covered by insurance just like a prescription medication that could do the same? And if we're going to consider costs to taxpayers, wouldn't you rather "subsidize" a proven effective one-time $25 cure than ongoing meds or surgeries?

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I don't mind squatty potty going for medical device approval.  Years ago when I was on a certain med, I had to check my BP several times per day.  I had to get a portable BP machine which my insurance company reimbursed me 80% (I bought it at CVS but needed a prescription to get reimbursed).  If someone needs to reposition themselves while pooing, I'm OK with them getting reimbursed for the stool.  I don't agree with Kevin that a pile of books is good - it's a bathroom and you need something that's easily cleanable.

 

I floved the nutter with the Water into Gold machine.  The sketch reminded me of a Monty Python invention.  I could have done with an entire episode of flashbacks and updates.

 

It was interesting how every shark jumped on Robert when he tried to kick off the flashback episode.

 

I liked Kevin Harrington.  Yeah, he's a bit used car salesman like but he did invest in stuff that he could infomercial.  He also didn't talk just to hear himself talk ala Lori. 

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If the Squatty Potty folks can prove it helps, I have no issue with them going after insurance / Medicaid coverage. Someone not too long ago invented a device to help people put on socks without bending over. Medicaid started covering and they made millions. And in doing so enabled a lot of elderly/injured people to be more self-sufficient and less pained. It's a good thing.

I do agree there are concerns about the price when payment shifts to a third party, but that's a whole other issue.

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That first guy - sheesh, how does he manage to sell anything? So anti-charismatic - and his website is so early Geocities. That's not the sort of website that would encourage me to spend big bucks.

 

Also, that guy totally missed the point when he was asked about having a patent.  He talked about how he didn't buy coke because it was patented he did it because he like how it tasted.  Which makes sense from a consumer perspective.  But from an investor standpoint the Sharks care about competition.  That response just proved he was clueless.

 

For those of you who have seen most episodes, are there other pitches you would have liked to have seen last nite?

 

I'm surprised they didn't show those guys who tried to turn video games into a keg.  They were awful.

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Was Heidi on Top Chef? She looked familiar to me.

I don't think so, but she reminded me of Elise Kornak, chef/owner of Take Root restaurant in NYC who was on Chopped.

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Also, that guy totally missed the point when he was asked about having a patent.  He talked about how he didn't buy coke because it was patented he did it because he like how it tasted.  Which makes sense from a consumer perspective.  But from an investor standpoint the Sharks care about competition.  That response just proved he was clueless.

Oh, yeah, I forgot that! Which - Coke isn't patented! It's a trade secret, because you can't just buy a bottle of Coke and figure out the proportions of the ingredients - if it had a patent, everyone would be able to see it *and* use it once the patent expired. (And if they somehow manage to reverse engineer it Coke is totally out of luck - but that's the risk they're willing to take.) But this thing? It uses off the shelf parts in plain view - the idea may well be patentable (and if it was, we'd probably have seen a Shark snatch it up) but there is *no* way to make it a trade secret.

Edited by Jamoche

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Something that's been bothering me all season: Lori's dress in the credit sequence is awful.

 

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, on to last night's episode. 

 

The sharks are super moody. They (especially Mark) were greatly offended when the first pitcher talked back to Kevin, but other times they love it when someone does that and laugh like crazy or join in on the Kevin bashing. We got more of Mark's disgusted face when the popcorn team went "pip pip hurray!", but then he started the "Heidi Ho" chant for the cheese pitch. So I guess he just doesn't like other people to have fun without him?  

 

I think it was smart of the popcorn pitchers to go with Barbara. She's who I would go with if I had came in with a food product and she seems to be the most involved with her entrepreneurs. 

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If the Squatty Potty folks can prove it helps, I have no issue with them going after insurance / Medicaid coverage. Someone not too long ago invented a device to help people put on socks without bending over. Medicaid started covering and they made millions. And in doing so enabled a lot of elderly/injured people to be more self-sufficient and less pained. It's a good thing.

I do agree there are concerns about the price when payment shifts to a third party, but that's a whole other issue.

 

I don't want to belabor the point, so I promise this is the last I will say about it. The recap covered it well, but going on national television and offering a measly 5% of the company and then playing the "we just want to help people" card didn't sit well with me. If helping people is so important, and getting a shark will help you achieve that goal, then stop trying to hold onto all your profits with both hands! It made me believe them going after the medical device market was about money first, and helping people second (since they were only offering 5% of the company). Barbara was spot on in her assessment of the guy. I have no doubt it's a good product, but that company had extremely shady motivations for going on TV, to me.

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I've made it very known I hate Kevin, and he did last night yet another thing that I hate, and he says it EVERY EPISODE. He said to the storm window guy (and I think the popcorn twins), "What's to stop me from doing the same thing you did?" What's stopping you, asshat, is that you didn't have the IDEA and **you aren't going to put in the work behind the idea** (and, no, paying people to do it doesn't count). The people who get on the show did, so have a seat and shut up. Read some Greek mythology while you sit there, quietly.

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Do I think doctors should be able to recommend someone go out and buy it for $25? Absolutely! Do I think doctors should be able to write a prescription for it and have it subsidized by insurance? I'm sorry, but I don't.

 

Since durable medical equipment, including commode chairs, is covered by insurance, I don't see why this would be any different. Although I personally wouldn't fork over my $20 dr. visit co-pay in order to get a prescription for a $25 stool.  ;)

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I don't want to belabor the point, so I promise this is the last I will say about it. The recap covered it well, but going on national television and offering a measly 5% of the company and then playing the "we just want to help people" card didn't sit well with me. If helping people is so important, and getting a shark will help you achieve that goal, then stop trying to hold onto all your profits with both hands! It made me believe them going after the medical device market was about money first, and helping people second (since they were only offering 5% of the company). Barbara was spot on in her assessment of the guy. I have no doubt it's a good product, but that company had extremely shady motivations for going on TV, to me.

It's kind of unfair of me to respond then if you're vowing to silence yourself. But I will anyway.  What you say about their motivation may be true, and we could debate if it even matters whether they're trying to make money by helping people, or trying to help people and get paid for it.  But the motives don't suddenly change whether the shark puts in $350k or $700k.

 

5% is not a lot to offer and does sound like they wanted free advertising.  But he very quickly agreed to 10% so they'd have a bigger chunk.  He just didn't drop his valuation and they didn't give him a reason to.  We'll never know how much discussion was cut, but from what we saw he immediately offered what they asked for and Lori refused to play ball back, saying nothing on the subject other than "I don't want to give you more money."  That bothered me.

 

I understand what you're saying: that if helping people was really more important than money they'd act like it's more important than money.  I just don't think that giving in to Lori or Kevin makes them any more or less virtuous.

Edited by Amarsir
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That hurricane window guy was very clueless - when he walked away, his only comment was that if he had it to do all over again, he would have left the table out.  That's the only thing he would do differently?  I suggest he add a few things to that list, like googling "what is the purpose of a patent?" before he goes on.  

 

I don't know if he meant that he would have just left the table out in view, instead of dragging it out from behind the display, or if he meant he would have left the table out of the pitch completely.  I got the feeling that there had been some discussion about the table when he rehearsed his pitch at home, with him saying, "I will show them the video, have Barbara help me put them up, and then, surprise!, I will bring out the table and really wow them" and his wife saying, "I think the sharks aren't going to want to watch you carry a table around and it makes you look like an amateur."

 

 

I don't like how the sharks who are 'out' get involved and start goading the inventor to accept an offer, don't negotiate etc etc.  If you are out, stay out!

 

I don't like how sharks do this either, and they will do it even when there are a few others who haven't had a chance to make an offer and when the offer that was given is much different than what they were asking for.   However, it might be a good idea for someone to do the reverse of this - ask for an "out" shark's opinion when they can't decide between two offers - "Mark, I know you are out, but I respect your knowledge immensely, do you think I should go with Robert or Laurie?"

 

In the case of Heidi Ho, I think the sharks really liked her and wanted her to be successful, and, although I didn't like the sharks immediately yelling at Heidi when she asked if there were others offers, I liked how they stopped telling her what to do and they all quickly dropped out before Laurie could pull the "decide now or I am out."

 

Medical device:  so they want insurance to pay for it?  I have done litigation in this area.  It might work.  But it would be a long haul and a ripoff of taxpayers if Medicare had to start paying for it, or Medicaid.  They'll start charging way more than it actually costs.

 

I can totally understand how it could be considered a medical device, but I could not understand why they would spend a bunch of time and money to get FDA approval for something that sells for $25.  As someone else pointed out, the co-pay to see the doctor to get the prescription, and the prescription co-pay would be more than just buying one.  I thought that perhaps the "FDA approved medical device" sticker they would put on the box might make the product seem more legit, but they have had plenty of sales, and so this claim probably wouldn't change much.  I think the above quote hit the nail on the head - if it is an medical device, they can charge more for it. Like selling $300 hammers to the government.  

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Since this was the 100th episode, personally, I would rather have seen Daymond on the show and not Lori.  At least he was part of the interview and look back clip.

Edited by amaranta

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Since this was the 100th episode, personally, I would rather have seen Daymond on the show and not Lori.  At least he was part of the interview and look back clip.

The main part of the episode might not even have been shot knowing for sure it would be the 100th aired. Since the episodes are all independent of each other, they don't have to stick to a specific order. I imagine they have products on certain episodes where they want a little extra time to do due diligence, and I'd bet that's moved episode airings around at some point.
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For those of you who have seen most episodes, are there other pitches you would have liked to have seen last nite?

The guy selling the protein snacks made out of bugs.

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I'll confess, I ordered the SquattyPotty when I watched the show Friday and it came today. (fortunately in the standard nondescript Amazon box.) It delivered as promised (a noticeable improvement) and is much sturdier than I expected. The only downside is that the curve around the front is apparently an ideal place for a cat to perch and stare up at you with disdain as you try to do your business.

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