I am a member of Bally's gym. I pay a grand total of $9.63 a month for my membership, which includes child care while I work out. But you get what you pay for: the gym is older and so is the equipment, the child care area is a room with a TV, a whole bunch of VHS tapes, and toys. Nothing spectacular. But I pay NINE DOLLARS AND SIXTY THREE CENTS A MONTH! You won't find a gym membership for that price anywhere.
So, I went to Bally's and noticed that the parking lot was pretty empty for a Wednesday evening. When I get up to the door, there is a large sign that informed members that the gym was closing. CLOSING?! Nooooooo!!! The closest Bally's to me is 20 minutes out of my way, I have no choice but to look for a new gym.
I settle on L.A. Fitness, which is $34.99 a month, plus $10 for child care. Ouch! I am then asked to make an appointment for a "fit test". I have had to do these before: they pinch your fat with a claw-like contraption to determine your body fat percentage, they take your measurements, they weigh you and they usually work you out and try to sell you on a trainer.
What I didn't know is that they will keep you there for 45 minutes trying to sell you a trainer even after you have made it perfectly clear that you are not interested because you are not ready to sign up with a trainer, you do boot camp, your membership just went up like a thousand percent and you can't afford to pay for the service. The salesman actually had the nerve to ask, "Cost aside, what would be the best option for you? For your health? For your body?"
My favorite conversation from this session was:
Obnoxious Salesman: I know that cost is a big issue, but let me put it to you this way: How many cars have you had?
OS: Have you ever had a car payment?
OS: Did you enjoy having that car payment?
OS: So why did you buy the car then?
Me: I had to.
OS: So, you have had two cars, right?
OS: And how many bodies will you have?
OS: So wouldn't this be something you need to do for the one body you will have?
Me: No. Joining the gym was something I felt I needed to do. Getting a trainer is not.
*Insert crickets chirping here*
Seriously, this guy was a certified salesman. Never giving in to the word "NO". It got to a point where his "assistant" (who had been the one to actually do the training session with me) was so uncomfortable that he started looking in different directions, trying to remove himself from the awkwardness as much as possible without actually being able to get up and walk away.
Finally, Obnoxious Salesman wrapped the conversation up with, "Ok, so what do you think?" He then leaned back in his chair like he just nailed it and was waiting for his reward.
Instead, I shook my head and finished the conversation with the same statement I started it with, “I am not ready to sign up for a trainer.”
So thank you, Obnoxious Salesman, for wasting your time, wasting my time, wasting my daughter's time who was sitting in your child care area for 45 minutes instead of spending quality time with me. Come to think of it, I should've had my daughter sitting with us at the table. Ten minutes with my rambunctious, hungry 4-year-old and Obnoxious Salesman would've been done. Damn, why didn't I think of that sooner?
The one fun thing about this whole thing was that the salesman thought I was like 22 or 24. For some reason I told him I was 29 even though I don't turn 29 for another few weeks. This is very strange for someone like me who dreads every birthday. Then the assistant thought the same thing and did not believe I was 29 (which, ok, isn't entirely true anyway) and thought I was 24 at most. Of course I realize this could have been a sales trick - you know, flatter the clients to win over their money - but whatever, it kind of worked, I was flattered. Especially after Monday's wonderful ending.