Timothy Dahlin thought he had the next “As Seen” product, but left the room quite disappointed when his idea was rejected. His creation, the Ice Chest Cooler Label, sticks to coolers and people write on them what can be found within. His goal was to make it easy for people picnicking to figure out which cooler had what without opening the top.

According to Daily Herald, he is not alone.

“I find that you are better off being honest with people,” says [AJ] Khubani, a New Jersey businessman who started his company 28 years ago and actually invented the “PedEgg” foot callous-remover responsible for more than 40 million sales. Khubani isn’t wild about offerings from two dozen inventors, including a grandma from a retirement home in Florida, who hawks her “Bag Bundle” storage system; a man from Surprise, Ariz., who seems surprised to be told his spray bottle for kitchen oils already had been invented; or the toy-maker from outside of Los Angeles who invented the revolutionary “Mighty Pins” push pins that can fasten just about anything to his portable bulletin board.

The “Mighty Pins” score some “wow” value when the inventor pins a wine glass to the board, but as Khubani notes, “Who wants to hang a wine glass?”

This recession has brought a “huge influx” to the inventor market, says Mark T. Reyland, executive director of the nonprofit United Inventors Association, which aims to help inventors and educate them about scams that prey on inventors’ ambitions.

“At the end of the day, AJ is selling hope,” says Reyland, who adds that Khubani and TeleBrands “care about the inventor” and let people know that most inventions won’t hit the “As Seen On TV” jackpot. “When they (inventors) leave this room, we try to find somewhere for them to go.”

Even the ones that make it to TV might end up as “failures,” Khubani says. “There’s a warehouse full of them. We fail 90 percent of the time.”

Photo by Michael McCauslin