After four months of establishing St. Augustine roots, and putting our house in order, it was time to satisfy our hot tub craving–a thought bubble Leah and I had discussed since settling down to our slice of paradise.
The notion of chilling in a hot tub had become my oxymoronic fantasy, while “a soak and a toke, so long as we don’t go broke” had become my new mantra.
Armed with a wellspring of research, we felt well prepared to test the waters, and immersed ourselves in the retail market. Our first inclination was shopping for value, so we patiently waited for Costco’s sale.
In the meantime, we diligently sifted through their online sales brochures to review the specs of different tubs at different price points, and screened all the consumer comments through a pro/con filter.
While there were many features to whet our appetite, we were nonetheless hesitant about Costco’s “ship it, and forget it” policy, fearing it could backfire into a “ship it, and regret it” experience. Having a transit outfit willing to drop a half-ton pallet at our curb and jet away without concern raised a red flag for us, possibly setting us up for a moving and installation watershed moment.
While we could easily hire a third-party to get the hot tub up and running, a catalog of complaints citing broken pumps, leaky tub molds, and buggy software, albeit warrantied, left us feeling lukewarm about this kind of investment.
So we went back to the well, and drew up a list of likely successors.
We received a call from a ThermoSpa agent less than microseconds after filling out an online form and hitting the <ENTER> button. He was quick to tout the health benefits of his product, but balked each time we asked about price, promising a more in-depth analysis within the confines of our home.
“It seems like a lot of work, but I’m very excited about you bringing over a sample for us to try,” I taunted.
“Unlikely,” he countered. We sell direct from our manufacturer, which is how we manage to keep our costs low and pass the savings on to you, but I have videos of our construction process that will demonstrate the merits of our brand, and I have videos of several models fully operational.
I, too was direct. “But I’m not buying a video,” I stated, “so goodbye.”
That’s when Leah determined that we had to get our feet wet, and truly test the waters. We visited a couple of second-generation dealers hawking Dimension One and Hot Springs spas from their local showrooms to better visualize our options.
To their credit, each shop owner invited us to take the plunge before we took the plunge. Of course, we were knee deep in questions, and they were awash with answers.
Ultimately, after much haggling, we selected a Hot Springs model for its five-year warranty, its installation coverage, and its assortment of desirable bells and whistles…
…and Leah couldn’t be happier.