Checking out a new gym is a bittersweet experience for me. On the one hand, I enjoy walking the gym floor, seeking out the latest equipment as well as old favorites. On the other hand, I despise the used car salesman approach to membership.
I’ve learned to consider unreliable any promises other than what I can see with my own eyes. One gym I joined told me they were on the verge of replacing a whole room full of aging equipment – it’s already on order really. Two years later, of course, the gym closed down before importing even one new machine.
Then there’s the salesman who insists on putting me through some kind of workout. Needless to say, I’m not warmed up, I’m not in my gym clothes, and if I wanted to leave in a sweat, I’d already have joined.
I’ve also come across salesmen who behave as if my very presence is an imposition. I don’t really understand this sales technique, although I guess it’s similar to the cat string theory approach to dating.
A couple tips: First, show up early, say before 9:00 a.m., and the sales staff won’t be at their desks yet. The teenager at the front desk will be happy to let you explore the gym unmolested. Second, if you like the gym and do get into negotiations, be sure to haggle over the initiation fee. Almost always, if you’re prepared to join, they’ll deal.
Last week, my gym closed unexpectedly, forcing me to go find a new club. At my gym of choice, I realized it wasn’t the sales manager who was out of line, but the gym members themselves.
This gym must sit near an old age home, as my transaction was interrupted twice by geriatrics. First, this wrinkled old man burst through the office door, outraged by a woman on the treadmill using her cell. Fair enough, except his grievance wasn’t that the woman was talking on her cell, but that the woman was talking on her cell in Spanish. Moments after the sales manager threw this guy out, a second graybeard, gasping for air, came waddling through the door as fast as he could. Although it takes this guy 15 minutes to rise from a couch, he demanded that the manager go move a fan into – wait for it – the yoga room.
I think I’ll work out there at a different time of day.