Friday, October 06, 2006

Nice while it lasted

I hadn't been to the gym for a few days, but a couple of weeks ago I went after work, only to find the parking lot completely empty. I thought, well, maybe the air conditioning is broken or something, but when I got up to the door I saw that there was a notice on it that it had been sold, and closed.

It said that our memberships had been transferred to another club a couple of miles away; I didn't really think that I'd actually go in, at least not right then, but I did drive over to check it out.

My normal (old) club was really small; kind of old, but fine. It had a pool and hot tub and sauna, which I hadn't used much lately, but which I enjoyed having anyway. The new club (I looked it up on the internet when I got home) is billed as something like an "Executive Athletic Club;" they have events like wine tastings, and in addition to hot tubs in the locker rooms, they have a communal one. I suppose you can sit there while you're having your wine . . .

The old club was women-only, which is the main reason that I joined it. I just wanted to be able to go and get my workout done, and maybe sit in the hot tub or get in the pool, and not think about what I looked like. Not that I think anyone's going to be checking me out or anything, just that I don't want to even have to think about that. Nor do I want to have to worry about running into someone I know.

When I got there the other night, the parking lot was packed -- a big parking lot, with nearly every spot full, and several big SUVs circling around looking for spaces, people walking in with tennis rackets, and towels around their necks . . . if that's what you want, it looks like a great place. It's not what I want, not at all. Raquetball and tennis and an indoor/outdoor pool, a café, I think, and a gift shop . . . and wine tasting events and belly dancing classes.

I'm so disappointed.

I agonized over it for a little bit. I knew I should check it out, and give it a chance, but I just couldn't face it. So I called the new club and asked them what I needed to do to cancel my membership. The woman on the phone said I had to come in and fill out a form, and I said okay, that I was a former member of the other club, and wasn't interested in being a member of the new one -- that I had fulfilled my membership contract and was now on month-to-month, so I assumed it wouldn't be a big deal to cancel it.

(That's not really what I assumed at all, I assumed that they'd give me a hard time and hard sell, but I was just trying to be expeditious.) She said, oh, in that case, you'll have to call "Corporate." I said, okay, what's the number, and she said she didn't have a number, but she thought she might have their address around here someplace . . .

She shuffled some papers, took another phone call from someone wanting directions to the club (probably a displaced someone, like me), then came back on and said she couldn't find it, sorry. I said, okay, do you have any other suggestions? And she suggested that I call back some other time, that maybe somebody else would know what to do. Very helpful.

So I went back to the website, found an email contact form, and sent in a question, not really thinking that anyone would bother to call me back. In the meantime, I got a credit card statement and saw that there was a phone number on it next to the payment information, so I called, and it turned out to be a financial concern that handles installment contracts for businesses like gyms. I was on hold for awhile, then someone answered, and she said that I had to print out a form from their website and send it in with a copy of my contract, and I had to give them 30 days' notice to cancel.

So I printed out the form, and wondered where in the heck the contract was . . .

But then, someone from the new club emailed me. After exchanging a few emails, she cancelled the membership for me with no problems at all. I have to assume that I wasn't the first one from New Lady Fitness that had contacted them and wanted to cancel. Ah well. It was nice while it lasted. I'm kind of hoping that someone will buy the building, renovate it, and open up a new club there. I'll kind of keep my eye on it, anyway.

And they cancelled my television show -- Three Moons Over Milford. Eight shows, one season, a cliffhanger ending, and it's gone.

Another one bites the dust.

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