Today I did something I’ve never done before. In fact, I’d never even thought about doing it. Truth be told, it wasn’t even something I’ve ever really wanted to do. But I did it, and now I hope it wasn’t a mistake.
In a recent post (Resigned, September 21), I wrote that I had started Couch to 5K (C25K) and was thinking about joining a gym. I’m happy to report that so far, I’ve stuck with the C25K program. Running hurts less and is getting easier. I’m even thinking about signing up for the 4th Annual Chilly Dawg 5K Run scheduled for late January, 2012. Yeah, me–I’m as shocked as you are.
But that’s not what I did today. Actually, I did run this morning. And yes, running is another one of those things I never saw myself doing. But that’s not what this post is about.
I joined a gym. It was destined. I’ve been talking with a friend (Hi Perry!) about the gym he belongs to and had about decided to join it, too. Earlier this week, he e-mailed me about a dealmobs.com special for a one-month membership to that very gym for just ten dollars. Of course I had to do it.
This gym is known for high-pressure sales tactics, so much so that I was dragging my feet about going to talk with them. So when the price doubled to twenty dollars, I immediately thought “uh oh, here we go.” I e-mailed dealmob and found out that the ten dollar offer was a mistake, but they were honoring it for everyone who bought in at that price. I win!
I stopped by the gym this afternoon on my way home from work. It’s less than two miles from my house–a big factor in choosing it. The receptionist took my dealmobs voucher and my driver’s license. When I asked why she needed my license, she said it was so the salesperson could find me. I looked around the empty gym and figured the sales staff must not be very bright.
A handsome young man came out a few minutes later. He returned my driver’s license and gave me a tour of the facility. Then we sat down to talk about my fitness objectives. I explained that my primary objective was to avoid falling prey to high-pressure sales tactics and ending up with an expensive membership I regretted buying. He confessed that he was indeed paid on commission, but insisted his primary objective was a satisfied customer in a plan that worked for them.
Having never even set foot in a gym, I told the handsome young man a personal trainer would be needed until I figured out what I was doing. He asked how often I wanted a trainer to work with me and waited anxiously for my response. His face fell when I replied that once a week would be sufficient. Apparently, selling personal trainer consultations is where the big money is.
Then he wrote down a number on a piece of paper and slid it across the desk to me. “This is what it will cost to see a trainer once a week.” I looked at the number and asked if that was per year. He said no, that would be per month. Actually, I knew he meant monthly. But when a transaction involves sliding pieces of paper back and forth across a desk, you’re supposed to haggle.
He didn’t come down any. That was okay, too. The number was a dollar less than I’d expected. He explained that my ten dollar trial membership meant I didn’t have to pay the $99 enrollment fee or the $19 processing fee. I said that was fine, and asked about my free month. He said we’ll get to that.
Then he asked for my debit or credit card and had me sign a contract in four different places to seal the deal. The contract was on a computer screen. I tried to read it all, but when I got to the clause saying I had seven days to cancel, I just went ahead and signed. I get my own copy tomorrow–you can be sure I’ll read every word.
He failed to mention the first payment would be for the first and last month followed by ten monthly payments. The grand total is more than I paid for each of my first three cars. It’s enough money that you can bet your bottom dollar my ass will be at the gym at least three days a week.
Then I asked about my free month. He changed the ending date on my contract from 9/29/2012 to 10/29/2012. Since I’ve already paid for the first and last month, I’m still trying to figure out when I get my free month.
So now I’m not just a runner, I’m one of those dudes that goes to the gym, too. There’s a new me coming. I’ll keep you posted on all my new developments, right here on…
My Glass House