New abs by mail a shock to me

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 5, 2002

Move over Richard Simmons, because the ultimate in laziness to achieve a sculpted body has arrived.

You've seen them on TV. They go by various names, but we'll talk about the one I recently purchased.


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This should be fun.

About two weeks ago, I heard about this contraption on TV. I logged on to this company's Web site and checked what all the fuss was about.

For just $39.95, I could own this gateway to fitness glory, and receive two different attachments to work both my abdominals and smaller muscles.

Plenty of those to go around.

Essentially, this device is supposed to provide small electric "impulses" and, consequently, melt away the fat.

Why not? This I've got to see.

But, I told myself, don't buy any of that additional stuff they'll try to tack on.

So I put in my credit card information and as I'm waiting for the order confirmation, a pop-up screen appears.

Gee, there's a surprise.

"For only $9.95 more, you can get two additional bottles of firming gel."

Aha! I knew there'd be a catch. They're not suckering me in to that. So, with great satisfaction, I clicked 'no' and waited another 10 seconds, when another pop-up screen appeared.

"Save money buy purchasing another FastAbs system. For this special time, you can purchase an additional FastAbs for just $19.95."

Well, that sounds like a good deal. But why would I want to give something like this to anyone? I'd probably get slapped.

A tempting offer, but again I clicked 'no' and waited another 10 seconds.

Sure enough, another pop-up screen flashed in front of me.

But this was different.

"Congratulations. Your FastAbs order is being processed and should arrive in eight to 10 weeks."

Eight to 10 weeks? How am I supposed to walk around Mill Pond and bask in my new … well … me?

"But for an additional $5, we'll send your FastAbs by Rush Delivery and your order should arrive within seven to 10 business days."

Guess who got suckered in to this one.

I think my theory was pretty solid. I wanted FastAbs. I didn't want to wait until Father's Day to get it. Of course, they also know this and are siphoning an extra fin from everyone's wallet.

So Thursday, after days of toiling and worrying if it would ever arrive, I received this large manila envelope. I ripped open the package and the bubble wrap that was inside.

I found this small contraption, a few lithium batteries and about 12 pamphlets on what I needed to eat and how often I should use FastAbs to achieve abdominal immortality.

Understand, that's not my intention for buying this.

OK, maybe a little. But it's more for entertainment and curiosity purposes.

Hey, you're still reading, too.

Anyway, I pushed the directions aside and put the battery in. However, this contraption came with a bottle of "firming gel."

Oh really?

The instruction manual said the gel "provides the conductive material used to deliver the impulse to the muscle."

I couldn't wait any longer to see if this was going to work -- or if I was going to be shocked into oblivion.

I "applied" the gel to each side of the pad. Then, I had to wrap it around my six-pack, like a girdle.

By now, I should be given new abs for just getting this far.

Finally, the moment of truth arrived and I tapped the 'on' button.

Come back next week to find out the exciting conclusion, or the cold, hard reality that I had to walk hunched over while grocery shopping.

If Dan hasn't been electrocuted by now, you can reach him by e-mail at