As Seen on TV: The classic Clapper withstands the test of time
The price: $24.95 plus $6.95 shipping and handling for a total of $31.98.
The claims: It turns up to two plug-in lights or equipment on and off with claps.
The Buy-o-meter rating: 3 on a scale of 5
It's great fun to watch the old Clapper commercial. Perhaps nostalgia is overpowering with this classic TV-marketed product. It was inspirational enough to want to give one of these the once-over.
It took a little practice to understand the cadence spelled out in the instructions. When I finally got it, The Clapper delivered on its promise. The light went on and off after two rhythmic claps. You can also set it for three claps if you have a second item plugged in.
Two 5-year-olds were then challenged with clapping on and clapping off a light. One got it on the first try and was able to maintain the cadence consistently and operate The Clapper. It took the other a lot longer, but it is safe to say: Even a 5-year-old can do it.
But wait, there's more. The Clapper has an away switch that turns on the power if it hears a noise. Dropping something on the floor will do it. That same sensitivity -- you can use the flashing lights on its front to gauge what it hears -- can work against The Clapper.
Coincidental loud noises can periodically confuse The Clapper into thinking its time to turn off. It gets a little creepy when a light turns without warning.
The Clapper is a cool novelty product that you can hunt around for and find for a lot less than the direct marketing price. Walmart, for instance, will ship it free to any of its stores for you to pick up for $18.87.
Ironically, older people -- who would be the most likely beneficiaries of this product -- will probably have the hardest time with it. If you have a switch panel in your house that controls an outlet, it's a much simpler way to turn a light on and off -- just not as campy.