Shame on you for using the F— Word

Today was the last day of Summer School, which means it’s time to down-dog!

I’ve been talking about trying Yoga or Pilates classes for the past year as I thought it would be a great way to strengthen my core, which would help support me through my running. And let’s face it; I’m not at all flexible. Yes, I do stretch on my own but to get into a class where I could push myself with others would be good for me.

In May, almost a year later, when I won a 6 month membership to One Health Clubs, I was pretty excited as this – a free membership- was the driving force that I needed to get to a yoga class. With a “enroll by July 31, 2011” date, timing was also good; I had summer and the flexibility I needed to get to classes. And most importantly, I had my friend, Katherine, who had also been wanting to try yoga classes ready to go with me.

Last night, the two of us walked into One Health Clubs to inquire about membership and, hopefully, try a class. Our goal: split the 6 month membership into 2 -3 month memberships so that we could both take advantage of it. This seemed quite doable to us; after all, it would give the club the potential of two sales at the end of October rather than one sale a few months later.

Now it has been a long time since either of us had been in a health club. I taught classes in the fitness industry in the late 80’s and spent hours working out between classes. I slowly got away from that but, years later, I joined a health club so that I could work out around other people rather than alone in my basement. Since babies, I haven’t worked out in a gym; all of my training has been at home.

Katherine has also been away from the club environment since having babies. However, aside from walking her dog daily, this Supermom business woman hasn’t had the time to escape her duties for fitness. Now that her kids are older, she is ready, keen and absolutely able.

Last night, we gave our pitch to Derek, the sales rep., who quickly replied that he can’t split the membership into two. After a few questions from us, we were given the message that fitness is a lifestyle choice. In Derek’s eyes, it seemed, I had made that choice, and I would be likely to purchase a membership in 6 months time. Katherine, on the other hand, did not seem to have the same commitment. He actually told us, “Research shows that unless someone has made fitness part of their lifestyle, they are going to walk away from it once it stops being free.”

“Excuse me,” Katherine exploded in a room of male body-builders, “but I’m finding this quite offensive. You’re not willing to give a membership to the “fat woman’ here, but you’re willing to give it to the ‘elite athlete’ over there who really does not need it.”

Now somewhat flustered, but not enough to turn red, Derek told us, “It’s out of my hands. This would have to be approved by head office.”

“You’re not giving us a chance,” I added. “My friend is wanting to make a lifestyle change. We have this membership, I’m here to support her and you’re standing in the way. You are not letting her do that.”

Apparently, though, giving chances doesn’t sell memberships and make money (and, yes, those words were used too). But our case is different. My gift certificate means that I don’t have to invest in fitness for six months. So does it really make a difference if those six months are shared between two people? You would think, in their eyes, it would be an easy “yes” as two middle-aged women could potentially buy into the club in three months time. And perhaps the “fat mom” will and the “elite athlete” will walk away. Lifestyle can determine choices but it doesn’t dictate what they will be.

Although we must wait for approval from Head Office, we were able to try an Ashtanga Yoga class. And now, more that 24 hours later, we are still waiting to hear their reply.

Honestly, it is a good thing that I do have a free membership. Otherwise, I would have walked out of the club and gone to another to look at other facilities. When customer service for potential members is that poor, you can only wonder what it is like for those that have already paid their dues.

4 Replies to “Shame on you for using the F— Word”

  1. I think he was quite wrong anyway. When we belonged to a gym, we discovered there was very little appeal if you were the kind of person who was fitness minded to begin with. Having to get to the building soon became a drag .
    We now run from home and workout in our front room for free whenever we can fit in the time for it.

  2. I really don't understand why some of these gyms are so inflexible (so to speak) when it comes to memberships. I can't stand these 2 yr contracts that lock you in so tightly, the only way you can get out if them is by dying. A friend and I went to a new gym nearby – part of a huge chain that starts with G – and, although the facility itself was impressive, their contract wasn't. There were all sorts of penalties for early cancellation, etc, which we asked about because we might both be moving within a year. We were appalled to learn that, if we were to move where there wasn't a gym with a G (gasp!) we would STILL have to pay the cancellation fee (I think it was $300). UNREAL!

    Maybe someday these gyms will realize their tactics tend to put off those of us who simply want a hassle-free place to work out. I hope it works out for you!

  3. Disgusting…..
    I quit my gym (a BIG one) last year after a huge amount of issues with them. Terrible customer service, they kept messing up/changing my membership so F to them…
    Now I do all my training with my club in Burlington ON as they do spin./core and they rock.

  4. This is another example of why I will not belong to a “gym” ever again. I had a similar experience. I did leave and will never return.

    IMHO, workout with your friend on your own and you will not only save money but be better for it.

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