I think, without a shadow of a doubt, the single most disturbing thing I have ever seen was one of these:
What I found disturbing was not the machine itself so much as the person using the machine. It's an image that I will surely take to my grave, burned forever onto my brain.
Picture the scene: I am on the escalator on my way to the top floor of my local John Lewis. I'm there to have a look at the electrical stuff, but it's also home to menswear, luggage, the shop's restaurant and the sports and games department. Amidst all of the running and cycling machines, as is not uncommon in big department stores at the weekend, they had employed someone to sell a specific set of equipment. Their job is to spend all day by a machine, showing passers-by how it worked, explaining the benfits and perhaps letting them have a go. This particular person, a lady perhaps in her early-40s and a slightly unlikely shape for someone demonstrating fitness equipment, wasn't talking to any customers. Oh no.....Oh, how I wish she had been talking to customers.....She was sat astride the machine in her overly tight black leggings, legs-akimbo and with a disturbingly vacant expression on her face as the machine rocked her rhythmically backwards and forwards and she ground her crotch into the saddle.
This was a saturday lunchtime and the shop was absolutely rammed with people to-ing and fro-ing up and down the escalators with their families as they went about their shopping. Not that this woman noticed any of us; she was lost entirely in a world of her own and we might as well have not been there at all. It felt like we were all intruding on a very private moment.
It was horrific.
I don't think I'll ever be able to forget it.
I mention this as my office was kind enough to hold a little pavillion session at lunchtime today to showcase some of their "New Year, New You" type products... you know, low fat sandwiches & crisps, vitamins, drugs that
Oh, and they also had one of these things.....with someone aboard, absent-mindedly grinding their pelvis rhythmically into the saddle as the machine gently rocked her backwards and forwards towards ecstasy.
Perhaps by marketing this as a fitness machine, the company have missed their market?
....or more likely they haven't missed it at all.