We've all done it. It's late in the evening and your favourite program is on. The couch is comfortable and slowly you drift off after a hard day at work. The sleep comes naturally and is incredibly peaceful. And then suddenly the TV increases volume by a factor of ten and you are jarred awake to someone demonstrating the wonderful qualities of a new vacuum cleaner. And they won't let you sleep until you buy one.
I happen to have a remarkably comfortable couch and so this happens to me on a little more than regular basis. Last night, for example, I was suddenly awoken by a pair gasping at the wonders of a new frying pan as if it was literally the second coming. And I'm sure the volume had increased to slightly below that of a jet liner on takeoff. The question was, who exactly would want to know about a new concept in frying pans at this time of night.
I once asked this to an executive of one of Japan's largest tele-sales companies. He explained it was always a couple on the screen and they were being fed questions into their ear pieces directly from the telephone switchboards as viewers called in and hence the continuous Q&A. He went on to explain their two busiest times of day were early afternoon when Japanese mothers are home and bored and then again in the early hours of the morning when their daughters come home and are just as bored.
So if you've ever wondered who wants to buy a frying pan at 1.30AM, the answer is simple. It's Mrs Watanabe's daughter.