Monday, August 06, 2007

What do you buy a coach potato for a present?

On Friday in the interests of journalistic balance I picked up a workmates' newspaper. I am a happy reader of the Daily Telegraph which I enjoy very much. My workmate that day had purchased a copy of the Daily Mail, the bigoted voice of middle England. So I looked at his newspaper with an open mind until I turned a page and roared out loud with laughter. It was a full page advert by Coopers of Stortford which featured a leisure device. My initial impression is that it was an April Fools joke but this company is serious. The wording of this advertisement was slightly different to the copy I have pasted below from their website but readers will get the general idea...


This Electric Mini Walker will help improve strength, fitness and circulation in your arms and legs, providing essential benefits from the comfort of your own home. Ideal for convalescents, the elderly or as a gentle exercise programme, it is extremely easy to use. Just sit in your favourite chair, put your hands or feet in the stirrups and pedal as you would a bike. A few moments every day gives you the same level of workout for your upper and lower body as a daily walk or cycle ride, yet you don't even have to step outside. Its built-in computer continually displays the elapsed time, pedal revolutions and estimated calories burnt. Features include: four speed settings, five time settings, LCD display and easy touch controls. Measures H29cm x W41cm x D45cm (10 1/2ins x 16ins x 17 3/4ins). Just a few minutes a day of gentle exercise and you will soon feel the benefit. Mains powered with a 1.9m (6ft 3ins) cable.

...And the cost, just £79.99 to enable a coach potato to plug into the electric, press a button and an electric motor will move their feet for them without them moving their backsides from the sofa. If they wanted a more vigorous workout then they could turn off the electric assistance. This advertisement included photographs of a happy model demonstrating this wonderful device. By the time I had read the full advertisement I could not control my laughter, I was in stitches.

The thought of Grandma sat at home, grazing on the sofa and watching daytime television. Suddenly she has a thought, into the stirrups go her feet and at the click of a button her feet are moving. All from the comfort of her favourite sofa, what more could a coach potato want from a present?

I think this product could sell like hot cakes across the pond in America.

There are other wonderful products on the Coopers of Stortford website including this big button telephone for £14.99 and it is claimed to be a best seller...

There's no need to reach for your glasses, the digits on this practical Big Button Phone are a massive 2.5cm x 2cm (1ins x 3/4ins)! With phones getting smaller and smaller, this phone is a must for anyone with poor eyesight. What's more, the phone is packed with features: large buttons (4cm x 3cm / 1 1/8ins x 1 1/2ins) for easy dialling, hands-free speaker (with adjustable volume control and indicator lamp), last number re-dial key, 10 two-touch speed-dial keys for your favourite numbers and adjustable volume controls. Stone coloured, it is fully wall mountable (bracket included, fixings required) and measures 22cm x 16.5cm (8 3/4ins x 6 1/2ins) with a 2.14m (7ft) lead and BT compliant connector.

...There you are, birthday and Christmas presents for Grandma sorted out on one mail order website.
I have a (belated!) comment. You say " electric motor will move their feet for them without them moving their backsides from the sofa. If they wanted a more vigorous workout then they could turn off the electric assistance..."

The Coopers advertisement specifies "mains power", and "four speed settings", so I tend to agree with your comment that the pedals will push the feet, rather than the feet pushing the pedals.

To me, this sounds excellent, because I could use it under my laptop table without the need to concentrate on pedalling.

However, Coopers say that the user must push the pedals, which makes no sense to me.

I would be most grateful if you could tell me how you know that the pedals actually push the feet.
Thank you for taking the trouble to comment. The advertisement really got my sense of humour going. From the text on the website "Features include: four speed settings" and it being mains powered I assume your feet are given a little push from a 4 speed electric motor.
Thanks for your reply. It supports what I read about a similar bike:

I asked the Ezy Rider customer support to verify that the pedals push the feet. Believe it or not, they still insist that the feet push the pedals (which would be of no interest to me).
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