Monday, May 30, 2011

Almost Joyful

I don’t tend to see myself as a person susceptible to infomercials. In fact, I tend to view them as lower-scale entertainment and a bit campy: exaggerated expressions, graphics and overly serious announcers or spokespeople.

I’ve had nagging lower back issues for years. I visit a chiropractor regularly and do back exercises several times a week. And it has helped. But while at Kennedy Club Fitness in Arroyo Grande on consecutive mid-Saturday afternoons – a prime time for local TV stations to fill their programming with infomercials – I viewed portions of a 30-minute BackJoy message without sound and just the graphics and closed-captions to convey the wonders of this lower-back miracle product.

I smirked the first Saturday, but mentally noted and checked it out that evening. By the second Saturday, I was intrigued enough to further investigate – including checking and eBay – to see if I could find the product (or a knock-off) for less than the truly amazing $39.95 (plus $11.95 shipping and handling) advertised on their website.

Mysteriously, my lower back was tweaky the next week, so I convinced myself to try an experiment. I ordered my very own BackJoy – made easier by the “money back guarantee” which pushed me from interested to committed.

The online ordering process couldn’t have been easier. And with a tracking number to follow my package, I checked its progress across the country to my front porch. After thoroughly reading the instructions, I took my very own BackJoy to work and put it to use on the first day. And the second day, which included a 3-hour round trip drive to Santa Barbara. My back felt fine, but I kept feeling that my legs were losing blood circulation.

By the third day, it was clear BackJoy was not for me. I checked their website, called the toll-free number and requested the money back guarantee. My customer service rep was pleasant and shifted into problem-solving mode to salvage the sale, asking questions about how I used BackJoy. To no avail. She then explained the returned-product process. Ten days later, my charge account was credited (less $11.95).

So, what did I learn? I’m not immune to infomercials. But this product did not live up to the lofty expectations I had for it. Was that my fault or theirs? Fortunately, it all turned out well. And my “experiment” cost me only shipping and handling.