Buyer’s Remorse 002: a gym stepper

A monthly snapshot of crap we regret spending money on.

AS TOLD TO: Moya Lothian-Mclean

Name: James

What: A gym stepper

Price: £10

Source of remorse?: The physical representation of a failure to be a better me

In 2011, I moved into my first ever shared house and was galvanised by the milestone to immediately become suitably adult in all areas of my life. I wanted, simply, to get my shit together and I would start with the most important aspect of all: my physical appearance. Nothing tastes as good as being a conventionally acceptable body shape, amirite?!

To make good on this goal, I’d need the necessary advanced equipment. In a Newcastle charity shop, I spotted the gym stepper and immediately had a taste of the superior world that awaited. Here was the portal of transformation. With the stepper in my life, I would finally achieve the optimum version of me, with better mental health blah blah blah, but mainly ABS!!! I was delighted to have acquired such a sophisticated piece of tech for the humble price of £10.

I think that’s for, like, elderly people with heart conditions,” one of my bemused flatmates chirped as I lugged it through the door. I pooh-poohed their naysaying.

Sadly, upon eagerly hopping onto the stepper for the first time, I realised it allowed for almost no cardiovascular exertion whatsoever. True to its name, it was just stepping… from side to side. Failing to break a sweat, I realised my quest for self-improvement was clearly futile and I was doomed to remain the same drug-abusing, chain-smoking, hard-drinking mess forever.

I never set foot on the stepper again. Instead, it became a malevolent presence in my house, squatting in the corner as an unwanted reminder of my inability to follow through on anything, even when it came from a sincere and burning desire to improve myself. Not only was the stepper a glaring beacon of my own stupidity – buying gym equipment made for old people, thinking it was going to get me ripped – it was also evidence that perhaps I wasn’t really committed to this whole thriving’ idea. After all, I could have joined a gym. Instead I went rustling through the donated possessions of what was probably a deceased old man. Maybe he’d died on the stepper. It was a dreadful thought.

After a year, I finally binned the beast, in the dead of night. There was no ceremony or last rites. Only a goodbye to a youthful dream of a better man. And my tenner.

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