Bowflex Order (4 of 4)

Bowflex Ultimate

So, they deducted the $2200 from my account Sunday night, and I intended to call them Monday or Tuesday to ask for a tracking number for the shipment, but forgot to both days. I called them this morning and they not only gave me a tecking number, but advised that it was already out for delivery. I was shipped Monday, and was already in a truck in my neighborhood this morning at 10AM. Hooray!

Except that when I got home there was a note on my door saying they had been by and couldn’t deliver it without a signature & physically handing the packages to a human being. Oh, and that they would try again tomorrow between 10AM and 2PM, when I am sure to be at work. So, I called the number provided, gave the slip number, and spoke to a UPS customer service agent about trying to get my package. I advised that I was not able to have a neighbor sign for it, I was not able to have them redirect it to my work (since I couldn’t carry the 4 boxes totalling 230lbs home on my bicycle), and I couldn’t be home to receive it before 3:30PM any day. The “customer service” representative tried to tell me there was no way to guarantee a delivery time (Residential deliveries are made between 10AM and 7PM), and there was no way to send a truck out a second time, even though they are theoretically on the road for an additional four hours past the time I was talking about the problem. We went over these few things a few times, until the third or fourth time around that circle, she said she could contact my local station and have them call me to try to make arrangements. She said I should expect a call from them within an hour, and if I didn’t get one, I should call her back.

Forty-five minutes later, the UPS truck was outside my home with my packages. Five minutes after that, the local station called me to be sure I got the packages. I thanked them as much as I could before my phone cut out (see AT&T post, above).

So then I finished cleaning up the room in which the Bowflex is to live, and began unpacking the parts. I got 3 of the 4 boxes unpacked before I started constructing the beast (the 4th box is all the parts for the leg extension, assembled last). Now, don’t tell Bowflex, but I accidentally tightened one bolt too hard and snapped the head off, around step 12. When I got to Step 14, I was one bolt short. I called Bowflex and told them it was “missing” and a replacement is on its way. They also advised that I should be able to pick up a replacement at my local hardware store, since it is a standard sized bolt. I will see if I can get a chance to get to a hardware store before their replacement arrives.

After 14 steps, it looks almost like a Bowflex. I know it has solid construction, because everything that isn’t firmly welded together has been slightly overtightened by me. It looks good, so far. Hopefully it will be as wonderful as I hope when I get it together in a day or four.

Bowflex Order (3 of 4)

Bowflex Ultimate

That’s it, it’s ordered. I decided not to wait to call back what’s-her-name tomorrow, since no one there really earned the commission. Random is fine with me. So, I called my bank first, to be sure the purchase would go through, and instead of just giving me a temporary increase in my daily spending limit, made a permanent increase to $2500/day. So, that’s good. Between that & some trouble re-ordering checks, working with my bank took about 18 minutes.

Then I called Bowflex, and since I had requested the video through the website, they already had all my information in their computer pulled up automatically via callerID & a clever database, which was nice. I just said I’d like to buy the Bowflex Ultimate, no I wouldn’t like an additional 100lbs of resistance ($99, available whenever I’m ready to order it), no I wouldn’t like nutritional suplements, and he verified my address, took my Visa check-card number, and told me it would be delivered in three to four weeks. Oh, and that it comes in multiple packages, not necessarily delivered at the same time. Which I always think is great; I imagine someone getting half a bowflex and wondering why it doesn’t go together properly.

So, the entire call to Bowflex, including their phone tree, hold time, and ordering, right through hangup was 2 mintues, 39 seconds. Effecient. I wonder what that guy’s commission is, for less than 2 minutes work. Oh well.

So, we’ll see how long it takes to get to me, and whether it arrives all at once, or over the course of several days, and I’ll post again about it. Until then, don’t worry, I won’t be posting about the Bowflex for a few weeks.

Bowflex Order (2 of 4)

Bowflex Ultimate

So, I received Bowflex’s free video and informational packets yesterday. The most interesting thing to me about the video is that it is apparently their infomercial on a cassette tape. It even asked me to call and request my free copy of itself a few times. Now, since I had never seen the full infomercial, only hundreds of shorter commercials, I actually got to see some material I hadn’t seen before. Watching people use the machine is a lot better than imagining it or looking at tiny still photos on their website. Plus, it was a lot of fun to watch muscle-bound freaks having trouble using half the resistance they were using with free weights due to the lack of momentum. Of course, they could all have been lying, but it was pretty clear there was only one actor in the bunch, and he was busy being the spokesperson.

The brochures and paperwork that was packaged with the video didn’t have any information that isn’t on their website, which says a lot of good things about their commitment to the internet. Actually, I believe there was some information (about accessories) that was on the website and not in the paperwork I was sent. So they’re actually keeping their website up-to-date faster than their physical promotions. Again, evidence that their website is a major source of revenue, and a respected part of their business.

Between the video & brochures and their web presence, I felt that the physical sales pitch was lacking, like a remnant of something that used to be relevent instead of a modern sales tool. Still, for anyone who has not seen the Bowflex infomercial and has never visited their website, this informational package could be quite valuable. I already have people asking to borrow it.

Oh, and the money appeared in my checking account this morning, and since I don’t really have any reason to give one person my commission over any other, I may just give them a call today to place the order. When I called last night to get some information that wasn’t on their website or in any of their documentation, the person I spoke to told me that it normally takes 3 weeks before it ships, which is where the four weeks shipping time comes from. Between this and Tuition payment next week, I couldn’t afford expidited shipping if they offerred it. Luckily, I’m pretty patient. I think I’ll call them at lunch.

Bowflex Order (1 of 4)

Bowflex Ultimate

I have begun the first steps on the way to ordering my Bowflex Ultimate. Last week I requested their free video & informational packet (look for a review when it shows up this week), which I should receive any day now. I called their customer service department today and found that their phone reps work on commission, and that they do not allow me to directly use my MBNA Gold Option Loan (originally for my iMac) to pay for a Bowflex. They accept all major credit cards over the phone, will finance me directly (which I do not want to do, since I already have the credit available for this, and don’t need additional new accounts openned in my name), or will accept a check, though that increases the time until I receive the Bowflex by up to a couple of weeks.

I called MBNA to see if they could somehow move the credit available to me on the loan to my MBNA/Desert Schools Visa (of course not, that would be too easy), or work something else out. They gladly xfered the $2200 I need directly into my Desert Schools checking account. When that xfer has been processed (within the next 3 days, they say), I can then use my Visa Check Card to purchase the Bowflex. The MBNA account has a normal interest rate of 15.99% (recently reduced from their introductory 19.99%), but for that $2200 it is only 9.99% through the end of the year, which is nice, depending on how much bonus money I can wrangle up during the rest of the year.

The Bowflex representative I spoke to has the next three days off, but asked that I call her back directly & gave me her name & extension & schedule (this was my clue that they work on commission). Since I have to wait a few days for the money to move around anyway, I have no problem calling this particular sales rep back on Friday. Since the purchase price is over $1500, I have to call my bank to let them know I’m going to make a $2200 purchase, and to allow it to process from my checking account before I call Bowflex. No problem. I’ve done that a few times. After I place the order there is a four week shipping time. $200 shipping fee gets it to me in only four weeks. So, if everything goes according to plan, I’ll receive my Bowflex Ultimate before September.

Is everyone bored yet? All these numbers and oh-so-mind-numbing information about moving money around and credit availability must be positively abhorrent. Still, they’ve been taking up quite a bit of my thought processes today, so I put them here anyway. I plan three more posts about the Bowflex Order: One a review of the free video, one after I place my order re:ease/difficulty of doing the things I have described here, and one after I have received the unit and constructed it re:shipping time & apparent value of $2200 device. Woo!

More things to spend money on

About 17 months ago, I signed up at a local fitness center that had just opened up right on my way home from work, so it was convenient for me to get to on my bike. I pre-paid for a year’s membership because with that package they threw in an extra six months, and reduced the sign-up fee. It was a really good monthly rate compared to most places. It would have lasted until the middle of August without me making one more payment. I worked out there off and on, doing strength training a couple of times a week, and Yoga at least two times a week, plus the occassional spinning class, for about 5 months. Then I stopped going for a while… You know how it goes, sometimes… Life and laziness gets in the way of working out… and about a month later I tried to go back again and found that they had closed. Completely. Out of business. Poof, gone!

That was about a year ago, and other than the bike-riding I do every day just to get around, I haven’t worked out at all in the last year. I paid for my membership in advance, so my fitness budget was blown for a long time. World Gym bought the place and re-opened it a few months later, but their cheapest membership was three times what I paid before, and twice the fees at Pure Fitness, just a couple of miles out of my way. Plus their focus is boxing, and … I don’t really want to learn boxing.

So for the last year I’ve been glacially thinking about what/how/when I’m going to start working out again. I’ve been meaning to (but not taking the time to) do Yoga, since I have several Yoga DVDs and a Yoga mat. I[‘d really like to do resistance training, though. Increase muscle mass, lose weight. Get some muscle tone.

So instead of a new, new iMac, after about a year’s slow thought and some research into other people’s opinions and reviews on various gyms, fitness centers, home fitness equipment, workout and diet systems, etc… I have decided that I shall shift my $2200 desire from the new, new iMac to the Bowflex Ultimate.

Bowflex Ultimate

Some people only rated Bowflex at 70% or 80%, but their complaints were with Customer Service, Cost, and their own inability to follow construction instructions, plus sometimes difficulty with the non-ultimate models’ add-on upgrades. Since I’m competent at following instructions, wouldn’t consider anything less than the top-of-the-line model (this is an investment, not a toy), and am quite skilled at working with even the least reasonable customer service reps, I don’t think I’ll have a problem, except for the same problem I was going to have getting the Mac; justifying the expense.

Actually, I’ve been looking at my finances lately, and as long as I don’t have any unexpected cost increases (and as long as I don’t have another close relative die and go on another spending spree), I should be able to afford the monthly payments on either $2300 purchase comfortably. That’s without monthly bonuses, which I seem to be able to earn pretty consistently at work, making things a little more comfortable all the time.

Well, that’s something else to look forward to, I suppose. Ordering and then using the Bowflex. I think I can put it in my back room, as long as I don’t build the cabinet I wanted to put in there.