Spud Inc. Strap Stud. Service Dud.
Allow me to preface by forthrightly admitting that I am a miserable cunt. The past 18 months have been trying and hellish with little in the way of solace following two [presumably] severe arm sprains - unrelated to the aforementioned shit-show that is life’s turmoil. Further, you will find my affinity for alliteration and adjectives astounding if not annoying. Hold out, however, as there are particularly positive points worth addressing. In the quest to return to training, as well as sanity through injury, I sought out specialty equipment to assist in this endeavor. After sliding into a few DM’s, the ever informative Stan Efferding (better regarded as the muscle messiah) referred Spud, Inc. with almost alarmingly fast pace. A quick message on IG to the Spud handle yielded a less quick reply of a single site link. Straight to the point. I can dig it.
Low and behold! Spud possessed a trove of varied and versatile training equipment that addressed nearly everything a lifter could ever need, if not more. Surprisingly, there was not a potato in sight. Without wanting to commit to too many products out of the gate I quickly dipped into my wallet for their Deadlift Harness. Regaining this movement would be pivotal in reversing my atrophy (a loss of 40 lbs) as well as finally being able to use the Kabuki Strength Trap Bar HD that my cousin, Ryan, and his family had been more than charitable in adding to my home gym (The Muscle Garage). Eagerly, I wished to show them my being able to use the iron crushing craftsmanship.
After what felt like an eternity of waiting for UPS - USPS Flat Rate would have been far quicker and less expensive - the day had arrived. I tore through the package like a sugar addict through Skittles and strapped on the jet black harness as if late to a BDSM party. It took only a moment before confusion gave way to the realization that this was, in fact, the entirely wrong item. Having been excited and hopeful to train that day, I instead spent the afternoon in disappointment. I contacted their IG with a rhetorical inquiry (pictures included) to once again receive a lonely web address. This time to a YouTube video demonstrating someone using a Deadlift Harness. Clearly, little consideration was given to the message. Reiterating the impossibility to do this they then directed me to their Service Email, which I had already contacted in hopes of obtaining the fastest possible reply.
My immediate impression of the email I received in return was that the person who wrote it took all of 30 seconds to assemble a half-hearted reply (largely ignoring most of what was written). In particular, that of my willingness to pay an additional expense to have the correct item express shipped. At the least I expected something to the extent of “sorry for the mix up” to precede being told that I would need to ship the erroneous harness back before the correct product would be sent to me; this in itself is not completely out of line. More so, the contention lies with having to cover the cost of return shipping prior to them reimbursing for it later. What? Return shipping labels have become standard in the e-commerce market. Keep in mind that this is not a “return item scam” as Spud, Inc. were the ones to initiate the error. I merely wanted to obtain the Deadlift Harness with earnest.
Both distraught and utterly upset by this I cracked my arthritic thumbs and dug into my mental thesaurus to compose a response. I wished to express my position in a way that would best convey my feelings regarding the rapidly deteriorating situation. Granted my tone may come across as condescending (verbose, certainly), but it seemed appropriate considering the dismissive and unapologetic nature of their Customer Service. In hindsight it seems obvious that this message would go ignored - better than a “fuck off” I suppose. By the second day of waiting I placed a new order for the Deadlift Harness AND even shelled out for a Bow-Tie because I’m a shill with shit shoulders. Additionally, I moved forward with sending the return item back to them; I notified the Service Email of both of these actions as well as providing tracking. Still, no response was made by Spud.
The weekend passed and by the first of the month it appeared that the returned item was well received as indicated by an email showing a refund for said order. Instantly, my eyes shifted in search of one thing and as suspected the cost of the return shipping was NOT reimbursed. Preemptively, I had included a note on the order receipt with the returned item indicating the amount to do so ($7.55). That too going ignored. Two days later the much anticipated parcel appeared upon my doorstep in the late evening. Given my impaired state of debauchery in celebration of a beloved’s birthday I withheld myself.
The following morning was led by the usual routine of peptide administration, weighted vest walks, and beef and egg breakfast. Once settled, it was time to get to work. Returning to the frigid garage I positioned the now almost unfamiliar recycled rubber mats and dragged the cold metal from its storage. Carefully, I loaded the Trap Bar HD and donned the infamous harness to initiate my first deadlift workout in a little over 5 months. Unsure if the strap would match the service I was conservative in expectation. However, any doubt was quickly dismissed upon its trial. The harness was found to be incredibly intuitive to use and took only a couple of light sets to determine the ideal length for my height. Complete acclimation to this modified method of deadlift was achieved by training’s end. Granted the maximum weight applied was 406 lbs (proudly so considering the mandatory downtime), I felt it was absolute in terms of construction and design. The following week’s workout reaffirmed this sentiment.
Each of the earlier disappointments were all but overshadowed entirely by the excitement the harness brought in returning one of my most fond lifts. So much so I contemplated the very completion of this article. However, I would be remiss to ignore the lack of one of business’ most fundamental responsibilities. As far as the Bow-Tie, that remains to be seen as applying it to oneself properly is just shy of impossible and I am presently without any readily available assistance. To date, I have yet to receive a response from Spud, Inc. for any of the emails sent. Could the holiday season be a contributing factor in both the error and its handling? Of course! However, based on their IG stories they appear to be plenty active in their marketing and sharing of more delightful experiences from other customers (how I envied their joy).
What is the point of this article? Aside from the need to put pen to paper, or rather thumbs to screen, I wanted to emphasize that behind every order there is a person. And behind every person there is a story. That $80 piece of intelligently sewn nylon can be worth a $1000 to some. This literary lesson is as much a reminder to myself (a lowly supplement brand owner) as is to others. From the perspective of a customer, I have never felt more like a number to a company. In the spirit of the fantastically manic Marc Lobliner, I must contend that “sending people the wrong item and making them front the money to return it and then NOT reimbursing them, that’s not a game! Boom!”
PS I am available for hire if anyone needs a person with a bad arm and a worse sense of humor to write articles or handle emails. I’m currently in the market for secondary income as my business senses are as deplorable as my demeanor.