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So the gym on top of Magnolia is having a special offer in which one can sign up for five weeks for a flat fee of five dollars. The girls went and signed up on Sunday while I was visiting my parents. I still hadn’t made up my mind if I was going to join with them or not. I was apprehensive to go for a lot of reasons. I’ve worked very hard and lost a lot of weight all on my own without having to spend a penny (oh wait, well I spent five bucks on an ab workout video at half Priced Books, my mistake). I just disagree, in principal with spending money to feel good about myself. On the other hand I was equally afraid that I would like having a gym to go to and my above principals would go out the window if I got hooked on all the nifty machines. Also, a gym seemed more time-consuming than just taking my walk or working out at home. I would have commute time to Magnolia, plus commute back, then the showering and smelling better. It’s almost a whole evenings commitment and I would want to go more than once a week to make it worth it. Mir nights, the night for writing, have already been sacrificed enough this summer and I’m very carefully trying to work the balnce between the girls, they boy and myself I don’t see this gym commitment helping that balance any. So, yeah. I didn’t really want to join a gym. Oh yeah and not to mention, I’m supposed to be paying off my credit card and save money for the Hawaii trip at the same time. I can’t afford another bill.  
However, 5 bucks for 5 weeks. That’s a damn good deal. I would have the girls with me. Transportation would be taken care of. It would be five weeks of fun! At the last minute Tuesday morning I packed my bag with my work out clothes and decided I would give it a shot. The girls all went together and took a tour and were able to tell the person, “Nope, we’re just here for the 5 weeks.” They had the power of comradery. I however, had to take my tour all alone and I am not the kind of person who can be left alone with sales people. I might have gained a lot of chutzpa in the last year or so but I’m still not very good at saying no, especially when it seems like someone is going out of their way to help me.
I took the tour and missed the core class we were there to take and sat down with George. I started, flat out by saying why I was apprehensive with joining a gym. I told him I’ve lost a lot of weight on my own for free, he said how much I guesstimated, then he put me on a scale and, turns out I’ve lost like 75 pounds since I moved out on my own. He gave me a high five and I felt damn proud. Then, he took my body mass index thing, which he made a point to tell me the test usually costs $25 but he was doing it for me for free. Apparently I’m doing pretty well at 20% body fat. He was impressed again. I felt happy again. Then he went on to tell me what I need to work on and that there was a whole plan they would have for me to tone and get that index down four to five percent. I would stick with a 1,500 or so calorie diet stick with the cardio for walking five miles... And if I signed up today there was a discount of $70 that I wouldn’t get if I signed up for the $5 for 5 week deal. In fact if I were to wait five weeks I would get no deal at all and after August 31st, the rates were going up and I would need to sign up today. If I signed up and gave them the deposit and last month today, the could charge it on my account and I could have them reimburse me if I decided against it in six days. They could even help my posture...So many numbers. So many promises.
I felt thrown around. I had no intention on signing up when I walked in the door. Hell, I was the LAST one of the girls to join in this thing and suddenly I was about to sign a bloody contract and hand over my debit card and charge $84 in lieu of the $5 bill in my hand. This made no sense but I was enticed and starry-eyed. This guy had promised me all the things I’ve been bitching about wanting--professional help from a trainer, a plan, a way of tracking what I’ve done and what to do next. But at the same time, I can’t afford any of this. I just paid all my bills and have been stressing about money for the last two days. I have $110 to get me to the first of the month, and if I gave that man the $84, which was a steal I was told, I wouldn’t be able to buy groceries or cigarettes or anything. I already figured I might be living off of frozen microwave egg rolls by the end of the month, if I signed up for this qym, I would be living off those egg rolls for the next week and a half for sure AND run the risk of getting overdrawn just to keep me in nicotine.
Raye grabbed me to catch the next class (it was already 6:30 by now, I had talked with him for a half an hour). George had me schedule two “free” meetings with my new personal trainer, Sophia, and then let me go to the class. It was fun to do aerobics again. I haven’t done it since high school. (The “kickboxing” segment was a little bit weird as I kind of felt like we were goose-stepping across the classroom. Only it wasn’t even a well coordinated goose-step. It was more like John Clease doing his goose-step as Hitler in Faulty Towers, really.) It was a good work-out but now I knew that cardio was apparently not what I needed and maybe I was wasting my time. All the while, through the jumping jacks and the hopping, I was still seriously concerned about money and what the hell I had gotten myself into. My debit card was still in my bra. They hadn’t run it yet. George said I could wait for the last minute and give them my number over the phone after I left if I still wanted to think it over.
Apparently, George is a fuckin’ smooth sales guy because at one point, he said to Raye that he could cut her a referral discount if the both of us signed up. That was shady to me and when Raye told me that I knew that George really wasn’t doing me any favors. He just wanted commission and thought maybe he could pull two out of the four of us. After we left, we ended up talking to our aerobics lady, Kellie, who was very nice. In fact, everyone there was very nice. Hell for once I remembered everyone I met name! I was being pulled into a cult. “You guys did a great job! I can’t wait to see you next week!.”
I was still torn when Cathy drove Raye and me home but the fear of being completely broke for a expenditure like a gym seemed ridiculous. When I got home and had a cigarette with Raye my only question was to not call them and never return ever again. OR to call them back say I can’t join but I’ll stick to the five weeks and return with my tail tucked firmly between my legs on Thursday. I called and luckily no one answered and I was able to finally say no...on the voice mail.
So now I’m going back to somewhat the original plan. I’m going to do the five weeks with the girls, though I don’t think I’m going to do the classes and instead work on the weight machines. I probably loose my free half hour with Sophia but oh well. George had given me a lot of information that was useful, even if it was just a carrot dangling in front of my face to get me to move ahead and join. I’m going to stick with my original plan to go swimming perhaps twice a month and now I’m going to look into the gym of Seattle U and see if they offer any kind of deals to alumni. Really that seems like the best course of action because it’s nearby and there’s no pressure. Gyms, in the words of South Park’s Tweak, “it’s just too much pressure!” Luckily, I have managed to keep myself safe from signing my hard earned cash over to the cult of gym.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 22nd, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
I hate sales people, they are just smooth! Good for you for realizing that you couldn't afford it and not to get pressured into something you didn't want.

Go Mir! Grrrrrr!
Aug. 22nd, 2007 05:24 pm (UTC)
I half wanted it, and half didn't I didn't origionally but then he smooth talked me and enticed me so much. But yeah. I made the right decision. Dodged a bullet there.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 22nd, 2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay for standing up for yourself!
You didn't know that i needed to be baby sat. Plus, I didn't want to make you miss your workout.
Aug. 22nd, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
Definitely to the 5 weeks for $5 and see if you'd really get the money out of doing the gym. Amy pays for the one on campus and goes a couple times a week, for her it makes it easier to work out.

I hate pushy sales people too! Yesterday, while soaking wet and on a ladder power washing my house some dude started trying to give me a pitch for the Seattle times through my fence. The power washer engine was running and I could barely hear him. I was just like "WTF dude, I'm obviously not in the position to listen right now." And it turns out he'd already knocked on our door and Amy had turned his deal down. Fucker.
Aug. 22nd, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
I can not imagine my job being getting people to part with thier money but some people really excell at it.

Did you say you were poswer washing when you were disturbed by a sales person. Cant you just soak him with a hose or something? or is that assult?
Aug. 22nd, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
Good grief!
Mir, you have got to be kidding me! You're "torn"? My god, woman, you lost all that weight ON YOUR OWN and you do workouts at home; yet you're even so much as thinking of diving into one of the all-time sleaziest rackets ever foisted upon a gullible public?

Please forgive my tone, but I'm simply flabbergasted. You're fit! You're smart! I thought everybody knew commercial gymnasiums were as crooked as shillelaghs.

All right, I'm calmer now. Forget what I wrote above. Just promise you won't go near commercial gymnasiums again. Thank you. *collapses*

Aug. 22nd, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Good grief!
I'm sorry Mr. Cat! I was weak. I knew that gyms are evil places that scam people but once I went in there i felt like I had to pretend I was serious or I would be scamming them with my $5 for 5 weeks thing, even though that was their deal.

I can't promise that I wont go back. We're going to do our 5 weeks, us four girls. BUT now that the girls know my weakness with sales people they'll protect me. I will not be lead astray again. I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity (the $5 dollar one) and leave it at that. You're right I've done well on my own.
Aug. 23rd, 2007 02:30 am (UTC)
Re: Good grief!
Thank you, Mir, for your kind reply. I'm just glad you didn't throw me out of your web log and slam the door!

Ages ago, when I could do such things, I enrolled in a fitness program at the nearest local branch of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). I found the program to be quite satisfactory: Nobody was selling anything and I felt my body made great progress in improving its physical fitness.

Of course, the YMCA has gone through various degrees of political-correctness acceptance over the years; and I've no idea whether that organization is "in" or "out" these days. It was "in" back then -- the 1970s -- at least here in Portland.

(Deleted comment)
Aug. 23rd, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Good grief!
Now that you mention it, I remember when the costs at the YMCA suddenly went ballistic. It was in the late 1970s, hereabouts.

A fancy new YMCA was built near the downtown area; and the new philosophy seemed to be: "If you're not well off, we don't want you." What a difference from 1969, when I first came to Portland and rented a room at the (long gone) downtown YMCA for a few dollars a night.

(Deleted comment)
Aug. 23rd, 2007 02:34 am (UTC)
Re: Good grief!
You're quite right of course, babyblue75; and I apologize if I've given any offense. If it works for you, that's great!

Aug. 22nd, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
Dang! Well, I'm starting to LOVE going to the gym (I used to be intimidated but now it's a nice escape from the real world). However, I've heard so many horror stories like yours about high-pressure sales attacks and bait-and-switch techniques. In fact, a while back 24 Hour Fitness had a little special for a week pass with no signing up, and I clicked a link to get my coupon and within 3 minutes some guy was calling me at home to set up an appointment! I told him I had changed my mind because their facility near me was just a mini gym with barely any features, just a few cardio machines, so I was going to stick with the UW gym that had more to offer (and costs $18/month). I still get calls from this asshole every couple of weeks trying to get me to make an appointment with him (probably so he can make the sale and get the commission).
Aug. 22nd, 2007 09:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah I want to use the SU gym facility, if they let me. The most intimidating thing there would be all the pert little 18 year old freshmen coming in the fall. Whatever, though. If my friends in grad school got over it for the deal I'm sure I can. I just hope they let alumni in I haven't called to find out yet.

Yeah and 24 hours fitness seems like it would be even more intense. Those places are HUGE, intimidating and have a whole lot of screens. It kinda feels like going into a best buy or some ofther high maintenance consumer place, I would image. I'm not surprized the sales guy still calls.
Aug. 22nd, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
I was worried about the "hot chick" factor but it seems not to be much of an issue. There are a few incredibly beautiful sorority girls with perfect bods at my gym but most of the people are normal schlubs like the rest of us. I see alot of people in their 60s and 70s working out there, which surprised me.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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