The joys of buying a treadmill

Congratulations! You purchased the Incline-O-Matic Fat-Busting X4000 treadmill! Very soon you’ll be ready to burn thousands of calories, getting people to stop you on the street all, “Girl! You’re so foxy!”

Follow these simple instructions and you’ll be turning heads in no time. And by “no time” this, of course, means you’ll complete these instructions and have a working treadmill when time has ceased to be.

Step 1: Have treadmill delivered to house in a giant box atop a pallet like you’re a Wal-Mart warehouse. This will be delivered without your knowledge and placed in your garage haphazardly instead of set up in the basement, which is what you may or may not have been lead to believe by a sales representative.

Step 2: Arrive home from important job unable to get into garage. Curse. Park car outside. Get out of car to inspect giant box. Curse again, because this box is seriously huge.

Step 3: Attempt to lift box.

Step 4: Throw out back. Begin to scream. Curse again (optional).

Step 5: Stare at giant box for six days like a puppy watching Meerkat Manor for the first time. Kick it a few times, hoping it reacts like a horse and trots into your basement.

Step 6: Bribe wife’s boyfriend with food, knowing full well he won’t survive. Not a big deal because he’s not a blood relative. Cheat death six times getting five-ton box into house.

Step 7: Prop pallet up against house and stare at it for the next six weeks, wondering how one disposes of a stupid pallet.

Step 8: At midnight, brace pallet up against neighbor’s house, making it seem like he was visited in the night be the Pallet Fairy. Congratulate yourself for problem-solving prowess.

Step 9: Open box. Declare this “The most plastic covering and Styrofoam ever discovered in one place.”

Step 10: You have a Master’s degree in Engineering from MIT, right? Minor in Electronics? No? You’d best enroll. I’ll wait.

Step 11: Seriously, you might as well try reading the Portuguese side of these instructions for all the good they’ll do. Here’s a picture of a rabbit.

Step 12: You’d best take some weightlifting classes, too, because it’s next to impossible to lift the treadmill out of the box. Are you sure you just can’t, like, run around the box to get your exercise?

Step 13: Who are you kidding? You’re not going to use a treadmill.

Step 14: FINE. LORD, here we go.

Step 15: You know what a screwdriver is, right? If not, there’s a picture of one here, which is in no way condescending. Just looking out for ya, idiot buddy.

Step 16: Got all the parts? Don’t say yes; you don’t know. Everything is still in the box, isn’t it?

Step 17: *sigh*

Step 18: Get out all the parts. Notice that all six million of them are individually wrapped for your inconvenience with the same anti-theft technology you’d find on DVDs. While each part is mentioned in this instruction manual in a helpful diagram that looks like a graphic for the results of a toilet explosion, none of the parts are labeled with a sticker themselves. That would be too easy. Plus, we used up all the plastic in protecting the parts from bears and marauders.

Step 19: Grab a giant bolt (D24). That’s a pretty big bolt, isn’t it? No woman could handle that puppy. Look at you, holding a bolt, putting machinery together like a Man. Go you.

Step 20: Locate screws and some part with holes that look like screws go there. It doesn’t matter which one, you won’t put it in the right place anyway. Turn around to grab screwdriver. Turn back, realize screws are gone and three-year-old daughter is suspiciously close to where they rested, making rocket ship noises with screwdriver she somehow took from you without you realizing. Move wallet from back pocket to front pocket.

Step 21: Interrogate daughter. Realize interrogation more futile than attempting to carry treadmill to the basement.

Step 22: Bribe daughter with candy if she can find screws she took and lost in the course of a single breath. Daughter has no recollection of screws and helpfully pretends treadmill dashboard is a piano. Swallowing is a possibility, because, why not?

Step 40: Finish. Plug in machine. Turn on. Walk six steps. Machine suddenly shuts down, likely because it senses you’re already as fit as possible and should spend the next year eating lasagna.

I can already tell the treadmill is a great purchase; assembling it I’ve lost six pounds and pulled a hamstring. Whoever gets on this thing when it’s actually WORKING is clinically insane. Thankfully, that’ll never happen.

Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications ( He can be reached at or via the backyard chopping giant box into pieces to be used as firewood for all the homes in Iceland. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or prepare to be visited by the Pallet Fairy.