Some Assembly Required

JRP Reflecting

    Reflection – written July 12, 2002

I have been struggling to rehabilitate my knee for more than a year now. After running for so many years, it is really hard to do without it. Doctors have recommended swimming but I am not a good swimmer and swimming has never appealed to me. A friend has an elliptical cross-trainer and swears by it but I have been putting it off — hoping that I was getting close to being able to jog again. Looks like it is going to be awhile so I finally took the plunge and bought a Nordic Track Model CXT-910 elliptical cross-trainer from the local Sears store. It seemed like a good compromise; not the cheapest one, but not a top-rated one either. If I really get into it, I can always sell it on eBay and get a better one. I asked the salesperson if it came in a box that I could take home in the car. Sure, no problem, he said. I asked if it had to be put together. Yes, he said, “some assembly required”. You have to “attach the arms to the base”. That didn’t seem like much — until I got it home, opened the box, looked at the parts list in the owner’s manual and found out that there were 249 parts!
I was prepared for a disaster. Most of us have experienced this before — directions that are barely recognizable as English, missing parts, parts that don’t fit, etc. Much to my surprise this wasn’t the case. The directions were straightforward, there were no missing parts, no parts left over, everything fit exactly, and the product works as advertised. It was obvious that some good engineering had gone into the product design. They undoubtedly know that a quality product results in lower maintenance and warranty cost and higher customer satisfaction. Time will tell if this is going to be the case for me. Just three minutes the first day and planning to add an additional two minutes each day, working my way up to where I can get a really good workout.

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