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S06.E12: Mensch on a Bench, Eve Drop, Q Flex, Hoppy Paws

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Products for the holidays are featured, including a stamping kit that proves Santa made a visit. Also: a book and plush toy designed to become a Jewish tradition; an easier way to handle the storage and display of Christmas lights; a 13-year-old girl's device to ease muscle pain; and an update on a Hanukkah tree topper invested in by Daymond John during Season 5.

 

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Mensch on a Bench! Mensch on a Bench! Mensch on a Bench!

 

Sorry...I just love this product, and have been a fan of the creator's for a while now (he's been promoting tonight's episode on The Mensch's Facebook page for two weeks). Fingers crossed he gets a good deal tonight, and that the company's website doesn't implode from the traffic!

Edited by A Boston Gal

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A Boston Gal: I have a Mensch and follow the creator on Facebook also. I do hope they understand what he is trying to do. The clip he posted that shows Mark Cuban rolling his eyes annoyed me, for some reason. Mensch on a Bench has been doing very well on its own. I remember last year he polled Facebook followers as to whether he should take the product to Shark Tank. I was one of the ones who told him no. I am interested in seeing what he hopes to gain by making a deal with a Shark.

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What was seasonal about the back/scratcher pain reliever?

 

Cute kid getting a deal is heartwarming?

 

She seemed smart and all, but I have had two different products that do a similar thing for years.  It's not a new idea.

 

I can't believe the woman with the reindeer footprints got a deal.

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I can't believe the woman with the reindeer footprints got a deal.

Or that she had already put so much money into it. When she said that she was successful at everything, I thought,"well, everything accept marriage, I guess." :-p

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Tonight marks the first time I've ever seen a product (Mensch on a Bench) in the marketplace (Amazon?) before it was on Shark Tank. I was talking to my sister this week about it because my niece got Elf on the Shelf for her birthday (the 6th), and she told me about "naughty Elf on the Shelf" (Google it)--not for the easily offended. I laughed and laughed.

The Christmas lights product was rough. How exactly is a glorified wrench attached to a broomstick supposed to help people with EAVES (not eves, bozo) higher than seven or eight feet? That guy's soul patch was repellent.

Speaking of eaves, my mind is in the gutter because all I could think about that accupressure stick-thing was that it would be used for, erm, "alternative" massage purposes, much like "neck massagers" are, though The Sharper Image will deny it.

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A Boston Gal: I have a Mensch and follow the creator on Facebook also. I do hope they understand what he is trying to do. The clip he posted that shows Mark Cuban rolling his eyes annoyed me, for some reason. Mensch on a Bench has been doing very well on its own. I remember last year he polled Facebook followers as to whether he should take the product to Shark Tank. I was one of the ones who told him no. I am interested in seeing what he hopes to gain by making a deal with a Shark.

if that was Mark's authentic reaction, rolling his eyes twice, it was OBNOXIOUS. I thought the idea was very cute. And I didn't even think the doll's face needed to be cuter.

But I did laugh when Kevin joked that by the time Barbara was done with him, the Mensch would be Catholic.

Edited by hoodooznoodooz
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How exactly is a glorified wrench attached to a broomstick supposed to help people with EAVES (not eves, bozo) higher than seven or eight feet?

 

He was probably going for a play on Christmas 'Eve' but yeah, misspellings, intentional or through ignorance (occasional typos are forgiven), bug the heck out of me, too. 

 

Tonight marks the first time I've ever seen a product (Mensch on a Bench) in the marketplace (Amazon?) before it was on Shark Tank.

 

I'm 99.9% certain I saw that snack lockbox from a week or two ago featured on some other show before it showed up on Shark Tank. It's entirely possible I saw it on GMA, which would make me assume it was just more of the cross-promotion of 'product' that is the hallmark of ABC/Disney.

 

But I did laugh when Kevin joked that by the time Barbara was done with him, the Mensch would be Catholic.

 

That was hilarious. If you think the doll could be cuter that's one thing (and I thought it was fine). But to tell him to take the 10 lessons or rules out of the end of each book -- which I assume (I'm not familiar with product) is kind of the purpose, to educate and guide kids in a fun way -- well, I suspect she might have been missing the point.

Edited by designing1
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It's beginning to look a lot like a non-denominational holiday in the Tank, as the Sharks consider backing a Hanukkah-themed appropriation of Elf on the Shelf, an overly elaborate way to hang Christmas lights, a crazy person's holiday decorations, and a product that has nothing to do with any holiday whatsoever.

Read the story

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I guess I'm in the minority here, because I thought the Desperate Housewife was overall kind of impressive.  I was expecting her to irritate the crap out of me, and then she didn't.  I suppose that's damning with faint praise.

 

I didn't care for the Q-flex or its preteen saleswoman as much as the sharks did.

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Or that she had already put so much money into it. When she said that she was successful at everything, I thought,"well, everything accept marriage, I guess." :-p

 

Hah. Her segment started out with, "my parents split up when I was young," then she said she and her own husband had just gotten separated, and she ended with, "I want to pass on my family traditions to everyone!" which made me think, "traditions like ... divorce?" I thought the snowy-looking reindeer footprints were a cute idea, but I don't see how it would work for every single holiday. Any visitor other than the reindeer would track in mud not snow, and doesn't the Tooth Fairy fly? Also, I don't think kids would think it's all that enchanting if mythical visitors are leaving tracks six times a year as a matter of routine. Unless kids are really young or have nothing on the ball, I don't see any family buying more than one of these kits in a lifetime.

 

The christmas lights thing didn't seem all that useful to me either. As bilgistic pointed out, it really only works if you have a one-story house, but for me the bigger issue is that the cord and plug are either still exposed or you've got to go up a ladder anyway to tuck them under the eaves, and in any case I really don't want to plug something in that's been sitting outside for a year, even if it has been somewhat sheltered from the weather.

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Would you give up 50% of all your future entrepreneurial ideas?  That PAWS entrepreneur seemed excited about it.

I like Barbara, but I thought that was a shady thing to do, sneaking that huuuuge deal in there, right on the cusp of her being excited about getting the PAWS deal.   That was a really big decision to make in a split second.  I don't think Barbara would screw her over (unlike feelings I get from some of the other Sharks), but I wish she hadn't slipped that in without giving the PAWS woman more time to think about it.  

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I'm also surprised the PAWS woman got a deal...especially when her packaging (and actually the pronunciation) closely resemble the PAAS Easter decorating kits.   I hope Barbara can control her...she looks pretty high-maintenance in every way.

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That was hilarious. If you think the doll could be cuter that's one thing (and I thought it was fine). But to tell him to take the 10 lessons or rules out of the end of each book -- which I assume (I'm not familiar with product) is kind of the purpose, to educate and guide kids in a fun way -- well, I suspect she might have been missing the point.

Yeah, I got the same thing. It's what made me like the Mench guy more, he wasn't just ripping off Elf on the Shelf. He took the idea and turned it into something that felt more authentically Jewish. Judaism tends to have a lot of rules anyway. Kevin cracked me up with his comment, but he wasn't far off either.

 

I liked the Paws lady and that pitch had me laughing too. Kevin had a good night because he cracked me up during that pitch too. I almost thought Mark would make her a deal because she's totally the type who would go door to door to sell the product. I was a little annoyed Robert praised her for not waiting, then said it was too soon to invest. I think the product was cute and I hope it does well. I didn't get the sense this woman pulled a Britney (55 hour marriage), so I wouldn't feel right making fun of her for getting a divorce. Maybe the editing was awkward on her back story.

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I had completely forgotten about this, but the paw things reminded me that my dad would sometimes make fake "santa bootprints" on the floor on Christmas (I think he used carpet cleaning powder so he could just vacuum it up again). This would have been more convincing if we didn't live in Australia, where Christmas happens in summer (and it doesn't snow anyway, except in a very select few places), but we enjoyed it nonetheless. I doubt he'd have paid actual money for a kit, though. 

 

I got sent one of those elf things years ago by some marketing person (I'm a journalist and was writing about books a lot at the time). My reaction was that the doll was creepy and that it'd never take off. So apparently I'm terrible at predicting what people will buy. Still, I like the Mensch better. It creeps me out less, and I like that one of the rules is to give gifts to people in need.

Edited by retrograde
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It creeps me out less, and I like that one of the rules is to give gifts to people in need.

 

I followed your link and...those are the rules Barbara was objecting to? What's objectionable, the word 'rules'? Because those are more like fun activities, and the way they're worded, they're actually aimed at the parents, not the kids.

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I completely agree that Elf on a Shelf is creepy-looking, and I think the Mensch is a lovable-looking grandfatherly man. The Elf reminds me of that creepy elf in those stop-motion (or whatever) Christmas specials (Rand or something?) from the 1960s, and those still make me lose sleep.

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I like Barbara, but I thought that was a shady thing to do, sneaking that huuuuge deal in there, right on the cusp of her being excited about getting the PAWS deal.   That was a really big decision to make in a split second.  I don't think Barbara would screw her over (unlike feelings I get from some of the other Sharks), but I wish she hadn't slipped that in without giving the PAWS woman more time to think about it.

 

I hope the finalized deal words it as Right of First Refusal and not 50% bequeathed. It's a big potential benefit to have shark partner pre-arranged, but you're totally right that you don't want to give away potential for nothing.

 

I'm also surprised the PAWS woman got a deal...especially when her packaging (and actually the pronunciation) closely resemble the PAAS Easter decorating kits.   I hope Barbara can control her...she looks pretty high-maintenance in every way.

That's the one! I knew what they meant too but couldn't picture it. And now that you mention the name ... Yeah that's a potential problem. I could totally see a brand confusion suit.

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Perhaps what Barbara objected to for the Mensch was the term "rules" and not so much the content; perhaps call them projects instead.

 

Paws packaging looks way too much like Paas --why start out life with a lawsuit?  Maybe sell the Paws idea to Paas.

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I think they had to include the massager thing because Mark (?) made a reference to selling door-to-door in one of the other segments, I assumed as a reference to that girl, and otherwise that would have made no sense.

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I think Mark has said he sold some of his products door to door. He always appreciates when people come in and say they do that. One episode a guy went door to door in LA before the taping even.

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I think Mark has said he sold some of his products door to door. He always appreciates when people come in and say they do that. One episode a guy went door to door in LA before the taping even.

The belt guy! And he's doing very well.

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I wonder why the sharks invested in the massage product when they didn't a few seasons back when a little boy had a bow tie business? Maybe because he was a little younger then she was?

 

His product seem more better, and great story behind it and more universal. Her's was just meh... Something I would see in Bookstone but would never buy.

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I am by no means an expert in business, but I think you might've answered your own question? Seems to me the sort of Brookstone/SkyMall/whatever type products are the kind where it might be a semi-easier-ish strategy to get in, try to make some fad money, get out. As opposed to bowties where the gist was there's a kid behind it, and maybe they're great bowties, but...there are plenty of designers with bowties. And the kid wants to be the next Daymond, or maybe the next Christian Siriano, I don't know, but the kid wants a fashion empire and he has plenty of time to grow to that, and I think they believed he just might, but there wasn't really a quick "in" to scale and expand that or try to make it take off like wildfire. And I think the "bow tie by a kid" thing, while a gimmick on the show, has no real gimmick IRL. I mean, might get him some press, and surely some who saw him on the show found him adorable and might buy it, but that only gets you so far.

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Mo's Bows!  

 

Different businesses. Mo was the center of his, and needed to be there designing and being the face of his ties.  The girl made a single-SKU molded hook. If it works you either license it, sell the patent, or set up a shop that's self-sufficient.  You can basically take her out of the loop in a way you couldn't with Mo.

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Maybe I grew up in a super clean household, but we were never told the reindeer came inside. I'd be horrified (and am still horrified today in my less-than-super-clean household). The Easter Bunny, sure -- he's tiny. But what kid believes the reindeer come into the house?! They wait on the roof or outside! Come on, lady -- you think Santa wants to risk a lawsuit if they knock something over? Get your Christmas story straight!

 

Also, a leprechaun peeing green into a toilet is disgusting. Would kids really would go "Wow, a leprechaun used our toilet! And yay, he didn't flush!"

 

I wouldn't give her a deal on that idea alone.

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For some reason, I have always envisioned the Easter Bunny as full-grown human-sized. How else would it carry all the baskets?

 

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Also, I don't think kids would think it's all that enchanting if mythical visitors are leaving tracks six times a year as a matter of routine. Unless kids are really young or have nothing on the ball, I don't see any family buying more than one of these kits in a lifetime.

Not only that, but if kids see the track making kit for sale at their local walmart, doesn't it destroy the whole santa/easter bunny/ tooth fairy myth for them? I mean if the easter bunny's tracks aren't real how can he be real? 

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I think the reindeer prints were meant to be used outside on the walkway. The creator said something about other people in the neighborhood seeing them on the walkway and wanting to know where she got them. What's strange is that she seemed to live in a warm climate, so why would there be unmelted snow tracks at all?

The tooth fairy and Easter bunny ones would make more sense for indoors.

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True, though I thought she made a big deal of mentioning the reindeer prints can be easily vacuumed off floor or carpet. I suppose she could've meant indoor/outdoor carpet, though. I'll withdraw my objection if she meant to have them waiting on the lawn. I wouldn't want them in my garage or mudroom, though!

 

I also thought she said her neighbors commented on the Easter Bunny tracks on her walkway, not the reindeer ones, but my memory isn't the greatest.

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Mensch on a Bench! Mensch on a Bench! Mensch on a Bench!

 

Sorry...I just love this product, and have been a fan of the creator's for a while now (he's been promoting tonight's episode on The Mensch's Facebook page for two weeks). Fingers crossed he gets a good deal tonight, and that the company's website doesn't implode from the traffic!

My local news station was featuring Hanukkah Fairy.  The woman who created it said it was because her kids felt left out because of Santa.   And the commercialization of religion continues.

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I haven't watched the whole episode - haven't seen the footprint lady, but I am looking forward to it now. 

 

A couple of days ago, my grown children were talking about Christmas when they were kids, and how I made Santa more believable by doing some very simple things - (1) I told them that the mall Santas and Santas at parties were not the real guy but could pass on the wish lists to the real one (I didn't want them to question why he looked different in different places), (2) I changed my handwriting to sign the tags on the gifts from Santa (and used a wrapping paper that wasn't used on any other gifts), and (3) I halfway chewed a few pieces of carrot, then put the carrot pieces on the ground near the chimney outside and threw some pieces up on the roof.   I think footprint impressions left in the snow or dirt would make sense, but dirty prints left in your house makes no sense - So Santa comes down the chimney then lets the reindeer, who landed on the roof and will take off from the roof, inside through the front door?  How many living rooms can hold 8 or nine reindeer. 

 

And coloring the toilet water green for leprechauns?  What's next - throwing a couple of spearmint tic-tacs in there for the leprechaun poop?

 

If you think the doll could be cuter that's one thing (and I thought it was fine). But to tell him to take the 10 lessons or rules out of the end of each book -- which I assume (I'm not familiar with product) is kind of the purpose, to educate and guide kids in a fun way -- well, I suspect she might have been missing the point.

 

Barbara gets hung up on the weirdest stuff sometimes. The guy has sold almost a millions dollars of the Mensch, he has purchases and purchase orders from big stores, and she thinks the face should be changed?  I could see he thinking this if he was just starting out and was making them by hand, but he probably has machinery specifically made for this Mensch.  I don't know when this was filmed, but it would take months to re-design the face and then re-do the machinery. 

 

And kids hate rules? Not really.  Kids may whine about following the rules sometimes, but most small kids love rules - just try not following one and they will get all upset (I substitute teach and the kids will get worked up if I tell them to "sit on the carpet" if their teacher normally says to "sit on the rug" - it is worse if it is an actual rule, and not just a phrase) 

Edited by needschocolate
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A couple of days ago, my grown children were talking about Christmas when they were kids, and how I made Santa more believable by doing some very simple things - (1) I told them that the mall Santas and Santas at parties were not the real guy but could pass on the wish lists to the real one (I didn't want them to question why he looked different in different places), (2) I changed my handwriting to sign the tags on the gifts from Santa (and used a wrapping paper that wasn't used on any other gifts), and (3) I halfway chewed a few pieces of carrot, then put the carrot pieces on the ground near the chimney outside and threw some pieces up on the roof.   I think footprint impressions left in the snow or dirt would make sense, but dirty prints left in your house makes no sense - So Santa comes down the chimney then lets the reindeer, who landed on the roof and will take off from the roof, inside through the front door?  How many living rooms can hold 8 or nine reindeer. 

As kids we always left cookies and milk out for Santa, and a few carrots for the reindeer.  In the morning there'd be crumbs, an empty glass, and the leafy carrot stub.  And as the oldest, I got to carry out the tradition long after I was in on it for the benefit of younger ones.  So I have vivid memories from doing this for what must have been at least a dozen years.

 

Not until just this moment did it ever occur to me that in order for there to be left-over bits of carrot, Santa would have to have gone outside and come back in.

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We weren't impressed with mensch.  We don't like elf, either, though.  And mensch is just 100% derivative.  Is there really nothing new under the sun?  

 

The eaves thing was sort of cool but who wants their lights under their eaves year round, rotting, gathering spiders, showing from indoors, etc.  I think the future of Christmas lights is the thin LED strips that don't show when they're off and are affixed well to the house.  

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I remember sprinkling glitter and making reindeer tracks for my little sister. Aren't those kinds of things more fun if you do them yourself? (I don't think it was glitter in the shape of reindeer tracks, rather, it was reindeer tracks outside imprinted in the dirt, with glitter just sprinkled around them for magic effect.)

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I remember sprinkling glitter and making reindeer tracks for my little sister. Aren't those kinds of things more fun if you do them yourself? (I don't think it was glitter in the shape of reindeer tracks, rather, it was reindeer tracks outside imprinted in the dirt, with glitter just sprinkled around them for magic effect.)

 

This makes sense - reindeer would leave tracks in the dirt or in the snow. The only question kids might ask is "Don't the reindeer land on the roof?" which could be easily answered with "Yes, but our tile might crack so they land on the ground" or "Yes, but our roof is too small/slanted for them to land up there, so they land on the ground."  And glittter makes sense because the reindeer are magic(otherwise, how would you keep the regular reindeer in the zoo).

 

With Paws, even if you only leave the prints outside, you run the risk of a kid asking "How did the reindeer leave footprints?  I don't leave foot prints when I walk" and "How come there aren't footprints at any of my friends' houses - were they bad this year?" to which the only answer is "When the reindeer get to our house, they coat their hooves in biodegradable white stuff, because ...hey, you want to watch Frozen again?" 

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