You know what will make you feel as dirty as haggling with a slimy car salesman for a new car? Shopping around for a new gym! I recently quit my job at the Y, which means I need a new place to work out. I first went to a local chain. They weren't too bad as far as the sleaze-factor goes. Their joining fee was a bit high at $60, but their monthly rate is only $20. It's a pretty basic place--cardio, weights, some classes. Not a lot of frills, but that's fine with me after working out at the Y for 2 1/2 years. Believe it or not, I'm not used to a lot of frills in my life ;)
The next place I went (intentionally toting my price info sheet from the previous gym) was the monstrous new L.A. Fitness. Oh my. That was an experience. After driving by the massive church-like structure that was supposed to be a gym, I should have known better. I walked in the door and was assigned a young, hot guy to first escort me around, before we sat down to "talk". He gave me the grand tour of the 90 pieces of cardio equipment, the acres of weights meant to work everything from my abs to my pinky finger, the locker rooms with wood-panelled lockers, the indoor pool, spa, and the childcare room with a McDonald's like play place and theater seating in front of a large screen T.V. I made the mistake of asking if they have anyone to assess body fat, as this is something I've been keeping up with for the past six months. Well, of course they did! And we could do it right now! Then I got the pleasure to meet "Toni", who was going to assess my body fat. Toni (a chick, if you didn't get that from the "i" in her name) asked me a few questions about my height, my weight (oohhh, she said, with a very surprised look on her fact), and then she had me stand with this contraption that read my body fat in three seconds. As she was telling me about how building muscle is what they do here at L.A. Fitness, I found her voice trailing off...I was mesmerized by her collagen enhanced lips, and wondering to myself just how many plastic surgeries this woman had had in her life. She looked strikingly similar to a plastic surgery addict I remember seeing on an old episode of Dr. Phil...but, I digress.
After my encounter with Toni, I got to sit down with whats-his-name hot guy (I honestly don't remember his name), and discuss just what we might do to "help" me today. This started out cordially enough. He started with one set of numbers...an exhorbitant joining fee of $150, and $59/month, or some other equally ridiculous amount. And then he sits back and says, "So, which of these do you think might work for you?"
"Neither", I said. He probed as to why I felt that way. "The joining fees are ridiculous." So he runs through a second set of numbers which I also rejected, and then a third (you see where I'm going with this). Then he says, "I see you went to [competitor's gym], what if I could meet their price, which would you choose?" I told him that I would probably choose L.A. Fitness, since it's more convenient to my son's school. "But we offer so much more VALUE than they do, to get you the results you want!"(I don't remember mentioning to him what results I wanted, I guess he inferred it from the diagnosis of my fat percentage). So I took that moment to level with him. I said, "Look, your gym is pretty, and new, but I, ahhh, don't really care. I'm not really impressed by pretty. I need a gym that's convenient, affordable, and that has good, safe childcare for my kids." Then he starts to get a bit testy with me. "Well, let me ask you something. If you liked [other gym] so much, why didn't you sign up when you went in." I think I made some kind of snorting sound, and I told him, "Because I'm smart with my money. I'm not going to sign up with the first gym I check out, without looking around to find the best value for my dollar. By the way, can I get a trial pass?" He begrudgingly agreed to give me a three-day pass, but assured me that I would lose all these great deals he had presented me with by not signing up today. I replied that I never had any intention of signing up today, and all of a sudden he became very aware of the next customer behind me. I don't think he actually ever said goodbye or anything...I just remember being somehow aware that our conversation was over, and meandering towards the door.
I don't even think I'll use the guest pass. I'm too scared of seeing that plastic lady again.