When It Sounds Too Good to Be True, Check Again

 How I Met My Treadmill (WatchOut! Travel Series)

The current pandemic needs no further introduction. Here in Malaysia, strict movement control operations (MCO) are once again being enforced due to the rising numbers in COVID-19 cases. I am sure you have experienced similar movement control enforcement as well. As responsible citizens, we know it is our moral and social responsibility to stop the spread of the virus, but it also is natural for people to feel agitated, depressed, frustrated, and angry when locked indoors for extended periods. Having said this, these pandemic lockdowns are not the same as being caged up. People are still allowed out to tend to their essentials under guidelines set.

As a travel blogger, I am lost without my travel pill. So, I decided to kick it up a notch and do something different. This has allowed me to continue travelling despite the obstacles and travel bans imposed. Over the last year and a half, if you hadn't realised, I have taken you with me on trips to India, Thailand, Spain, Greece, the US, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Malaysia. I quenched my travel thirst by time and mind travelling to various famous cities through the ReachingDelphi’s WatchOut! series. 

ReachingDelphi, Treadmill, Travel, coffee
Virtual & mind travel with ReachingDelphi

And boy, weren’t some of those experiences important eye-openers?

On days when my travel prescription can't be filled, Mr Telly (who, by the way, is one of my best and most loyal friends) comes to the rescue by taking me on expeditions that don’t require me to double-mask or constantly worry about my essentials being misplaced or nicked. But still, as an outdoor person now tied down due to the pandemic and work commitments, I miss gazing at the blue skies and taking long walks.

ReachingDephi, MCO, Coffee
Preparing for a skype chat during MCO 3.0

Then one day, I thought to myself, Why not do all these at my own convenience? Oh, blimey! Get your dose of daily exercise, gaze at blue skies, and watch travel shows simultaneously. Now, why didn’t I think of that earlier? So, I got hooked on the idea of getting a treadmill. Lucky for me, there was already an online mega sale that was going on. Boy oh boy, treadmills were getting sold as fast as hot buns.


Inner Uma: Uh oh, there she goes again

Doc’s voice: If it’s too good to be true, it ain't true.

Outer Uma: I hear you, I hear you.

I disapprove of the idea of having to download every app under the sun. Still, I went ahead and downloaded several online shopping apps onto my mobile device just to enjoy the additional discounts offered only to mobile users. 😉


Outer Uma: What’s going on?

Inner Uma: The treadmills seem to be selling fast. Good buys, I’d say.

Inner Uma: Look, this says 70% off the original price, and it comes with a free shipping deal for first-time customers.

Outer Uma: It has over 3,000 positive reviews and a 4.9 (out of 5) customer rating. And the other one has over 1,000 positive reviews.  

Inner Uma: Buy!

Outer Uma: Let's read more reviews.

Doc’s voice: If it’s too good to be true, it ain’t true.

Outer Uma: Hush.

Inner Uma: Duh!

I listed out the models which fit into my budget and read the reviews diligently well into wee hours. Finally, I was pleased with my shortlist. I had previously owned another machine, so I was well aware of the reliable players in the market. Besides, I had to prove to Doc that I had this under control. So, I gave the idea a breather.

Over the next few weeks sitting on my sofa, I watched Tokyo blooms, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Yangtze Riverbank pass by me. Soon Federer and Nadal would be in action in Roland Garros and Wimbledon. I was once again depressed. I need that treadmill, I told myself.

So, I logged in to the online shopping portal once again. More discounts. More offers. An encouraging welcome. But to my dismay, the models I had shortlisted earlier were all snapped up, and I was left with less-known, cheap models that also had raving reviews.


Doc’s voice: If it is too good to be true, it ain’t true.

Outer Uma: I heard you. I am thinking.

Doc’s voice: Don’t think. It will hurt you too much.

Outer Uma: Cut it with the sarcasm.

Doc’s voice: Fine, do what you want.

Inner and Outer Uma: Thank you!

The seller I selected had a reputation of being quick and delivered only good products. Plus, the treadmill would be easy to assemble. Well, at least that’s what the 1,000+ reviews mentioned.

The shipment arrived as quick as promised. And, holy shit, it was huge. There was no door-to-door delivery during the lockdown period. I felt a twinge in my back just looking at it in the lobby. With the help of a neighbour, I got it up to my unit.

My bad. I tend to procrastinate. That explains why this article has been in draft mode for a few weeks. And that also explains why the package was left unboxed until the weekend after.  


ReachingDelphi, Treadmill
Unboxing Day

Outer Uma: Oh, that’s so easy to assemble.

Inner Uma: Go, girl!

Outer Uma: Hey, the display panel doesn’t fit where it’s supposed to. But I can live with that. Let’s try running the machine.

Inner Uma: Oh, shit! The pin in the AC power cord is broken! It doesn’t go into the three-pin socket.

Doc’s voice (pointing his finger at me): I told you so.

ReachingDelphi, Treadmill
Faulty Display Panel

I got in touch with the supplier. They asked me if I read and followed the instructions. Hello! There is no instruction on your manual on how to fix a broken AC power plug. If there is supposed to be, you better get your product QC in check.

treadmill, review
Broken plug

I waited for a week, and there was still no response to the complaint I made. Alas, I decided to leave a product review on the online shopping website and the supporting evidence for other potential buyers to take note of.

Out of curiosity, I revisited the website several weeks later. To my surprise, the supplier had responded to my review by saying that the issue was resolved, that the adapter was fixed, and that I was happy with the product. 😒

But, the white elephant in my living room was still staring at me. I was infuriated, not about the darn unusable machine occupying my space or the money I had lost, but for their deceptive online response. How many more had they cheated?

I reported the incident to the online shopping portal that hosted this supplier. It certainly grabbed everyone’s attention. My phone was busier than the president’s. The seller, his supplier, and the online portal were all eager to fix the issue for me. The supplier even offered to replace and personally install a new one. But I was no longer keen. I only wanted two things. First, for them to take the faulty machine away. Second, for them to remove their misleading feedback so that other customers do not fall prey to their service or products.

Weeks later, I received my refund, which I later used as a down payment for a more reliable treadmill. So, I am now walking down the streets of Florence with Stanley Tucci in my Aulora fitness pants**.  


ReachingDelphi, Treadmill
Get Fit Alora Pants & My Treadmill

Sadly though, the seller's false feedback is still not removed from the online shopping portal.

A wise man told me many times, if it’s too good to be true, it ain’t true. I heard you, Doc, so stop smirking, will you!


What I learnt:

  • Inner Uma and Outer Uma sometimes forget that they are meant to be my yin and yang. When they do get confused, it is wise to seek a third party’s opinion before making important decisions.
  • Very few things are free in life. Even the air we breathe comes with an environmental cost. So, always question when something sounds too good to be true. Anything deemed as good should be evaluated based on facts and evidence.
  • Shop wisely, opting for reliable products. Remember, cheap is not necessarily bad, and expensive is not necessarily great, and vice versa. Have your eyes and ears open.
  • Always leave an honest product review. Allow others to make their own decisions based on what they feel – good or otherwise.
  • Keep only the apps you need on your mobile or tablets.
  • Unbox right away. Don’t look for an auspicious day and hour to do this. Refunds for online purchases are only valid for a limited time.
  • Record everything. Sadly, we have gotten into a situation where we needed to record the unboxing event to show as evidence of defect on delivery.


**AULORA KODENSHI® PANTs are all-day wear pants which offers many health benefits, including improved blood circulation, improved sleep quality and weight loss for slimming. Write to me to know more or  Click here to purchase. 


Regardless of whether you are a business traveller or vacationer, a one-time or frequent traveller – if you travel, you are exposed to risks. It’s important to understand that some of us are easier targets than others.

Doc was a sensible traveller, while I, quite the opposite. Through Watch Out! Travel Mishaps from Reaching Delphi Travellers Alert series, I will share some of our travel misadventures with you. My aim is to create the awareness of such incidents and some useful suggestions to reduce the occurrence of unpleasant events. 

This series is dedicated to Doc - SV Narayanan, who constantly reminded me and many others to 'Watch Out!. 

Follow Coffee Trail – Counting Stars, Reaching Delphi for travel updates and tips.


Also in the WatchOut! series:



  1. We've got one threadmill here.
    Keeping me fit all years vacuuming dust around it 😂 both Product and seller is gd...not the buyer

    1. The buyer's got to review and change the strategy. 😂

  2. Oh Once I have narrowed down on a product based on its specs, I have gone by the ratings especially where the number of ratings are in thousands! Alas no place for a treadmill in our tv room.

    1. ha ha .. did you get one and leave it in another room? I chose a less bulky model so that it would not look like a tight fit in my living room.

  3. Yes absolutely essential to record / take pictures while unboxing. And another thing:"word of mouth" reviews from friends, neighbours are NOT reliable. They are generally glowing as they do not want to appear "unsmart"!

    1. Along the same thoughts Dileep, I recently came across a few sites which offer incentives for positive feedback. So that could mean, the negative experience would turn to a positive review for convenience sake. Marketing schemes!