|Photo by jg photograhy|
I joined the ABC online and the next day received a call to set up a complimentary personal training session. I noticed when I joined that there was something I was supposed to schedule but I assumed it was a tour of the facility. The woman I spoke with was kind of nice and thank goodness I asked her if I was going to be working out otherwise I would've been training in street clothes. My appointment was at 7pm so I showed up promptly. I met with a meathead who touted himself as one of the lead trainers. We sat down at a table and thus began his speech to me on how everything I had learned during the Challenge was incorrect. When I told him what I had been eating he told me that was wrong. When I told him the kind of workouts I was accustomed to doing he told me that the gym I was doing the Challenge through was telling me the wrong things to do so that I'd continue to use their facility. He talked down to me. He made me feel less than competent. He also told me that I couldn't lose another ten pounds on my own, that I NEEDED ABC's personal trainers to help me. Too bad for him that I'm enough of a rebel that his statement made me vow to lose ten pounds on my own as well as never use ABC's trainers.
|Photo by jg photography|
I have been happy with the classes that I've gone to. The members are nice, normal every day people. The instructors are encouraging, much like the trainers that I met during the Challenge with STEELE. The childcare, while I've only ever seen one worker in the room, is safe and my kids like it.
About two weeks after I joined ABC my husband and I found the house we were searching for to help with our (eventually not yet!) growing family. The only catch was that it would be a good drive into the gym, something I wouldn't need to do because we would have room for a treadmill and my husband's weight set that's currently residing in our crawl space. I followed the directions on ABC's website informing me how to cancel my membership. I had to print off a sheet of paper, send it to the gym's corporate headquarters and oh yeah, it needed to be certified mail. At the same time I mailed my cancellation form into the company we had to cancel my credit card because it had been stolen. That credit card was how I had signed up for my ABC membership and once it bounced back on them the calls began. First my local gym called to ask about the card, I explained what had happened and the guy transferred me to corporate headquarters. I spoke with a very nice woman and I thought everything was cleared up. The next day another person called, then another, soon I began to wonder if this company had no way of communicating with their call centers. Then, thinking everything was fine and told by a customer service rep. to just tell the front desk of my situation, I went to ABC for a class (which was really good by the way!). I was completely caught off guard by the young snotty receptionist, who, when I explained everything to her, chuckled and told me that she was just doing her job. Then she and her friend started giggling. I paid up. I was embarrassed, there was a line behind me and I do not think well on my feet.
After realizing that ABC had added an additional month to my already cancelled membership I had to call them yet again to rehash the entire situation. This time the rep that I spoke with told me that I needed to fax him a copy of my change of address form that I will file with the US Postal Service. Until that time nothing could be done and nothing would be refunded. My husband got involved because I got emotional after feeling like this company thought I was trying to lie to them and scam them. The first person he spoke with told him that I had never sent a form in and that I had cancelled over the phone. Not true. I had sent in all three forms and unfortunately in my haste I missed the part about sending it certified mail. I hadn't cancelled my membership over the phone I was trying to explain to the woman why I didn't feel comfortable giving her my new credit card information after having my previous one stolen.
|Photo by jg photography|
My point? Just as some of us try to shop small business, I encourage you to seek out the smaller gyms and the ones with an emphasis on helping you transform your life. Stay away from the big boxes (although I really only have good things to say about the YMCA and they are a non-profit company); they're out for your money. The other thing I encourage you to remember is that you are paying for this membership and you do have the right to speak up if you are feeling like their staff is being demeaning to you. I should've stood up for myself when I met with Mr. Meathead trainer.
Now, obviously every gym is different and even big box gyms are run differently from one another. My experience with ABC was not a good one, however, yours may be good. I have plenty of friends who are more than happy with their membership to a big box gym. I may be one of the few who have had a bad experience with a big box gym (although a Google search of the big box I belong to showed many others who had the same experience as I did). Do your homework and don't let anyone intimidate you out of getting healthy.