The Gym

In Daily Annoyance on October 15, 2006 at 6:03 pm

A couple of days ago, whilst stuck in traffic, I called a supposedly one of the most famous gyms in Jakarta. Here’s how it went:

Me: “Hi, I’m interested in joining your gym. Do you have any information about a membership fee?”
Guy: “Of course, ma’am. May I know who I’m speaking to?”
Me: “My name is Asmara.”
Guy: “Right. Miss or Missus?”
Me: “Miss” -I really had no idea why they asked.
Guy: “Okay Miss. May I have your contact number, please?”
Me: “Why?”

Guy: “So that we can set up an appointment with you and give you the grand tour of our facilities, Miss.”
Me: “But I’m only asking for your price. I know you have quite a decent facility. See, that’s why I’m calling.”
Guy: “Oh but we have to inquire your desired program first before we can come out with a membership plan.”
Me: “Ok, I want to lose some weight. How much will that cost me?”
Guy: “Again, we’d have to meet you to discuss further about your goals, eating habit etcetera, before we can decide what program suits you best. Then we can draw up a membership plan for you.”
Me: “Look pal, I don’t want anything fancy. Just give the simplest way for me to be able to exercise in your gym. No personal trainers, nothing.”
Guy: “Will you hold on a minute, please.”

After about ten seconds, another guy picked up.

Guy: “Miss, I understand you are inquiring our price information?”
Me: “YES! Geez. Why can’t you guys just say how much? I’m kinda busy too, you know!”
Guy: “I’m sorry Miss, but you really have to come down here so we can discuss further about your exercise plans.”
Me: “I have no other plans but to exercise! How hard can it be to understand that?”
Guy: “But it’s our procedure, Miss. All of our members have to come to their desired gym branch, so we can provide the exclusive service.”
Me: “What’s more exclusive than a PHONE service? And if I come along with fifty other people to the gym, the service won’t be ‘exclusive’ anymore, now would it?”
Guy: “Well… I really don’t know what to say…”
Me: “Neither do I. Goodbye.”

I hung up, furious.

This afternoon I decided to actually drive down to the place, to see how “exclusive” their service would be. I couldn’t resist, because this is like the first state-of-the-art gym located just a stone throw’s away from my house.

A guy greeted me. I secretly wished he wasn’t the same guy who took my call the other day.

“Hi there! Welcome to our gym. Are you interested in joining?”
“Uhm… yeah I think so. But I don’t intend to pay for anything just yet. Just so you know.”
“That won’t be a problem. Will you fill out this form, please?”

I jotted my name and address in a form filled with strange codes.

“Very well. Will you come with me, please.”

The guy showed me around the gym and I fell in love with their yoga studio and upcoming pilates space. I was intrigued with their spinning and hip-hop class, and admired their locker room. The tour ended in a marketing lounge.

“So, you saw everything we have. Now I’ll go through a small interview with you to decide which program suits you best.”
“Why are you interested in joining our gym?”
“Um… because it’s close to where I live, and… I want to lose some weight”
“Right. Have you ever joined any gym before?”
“No. My only sport was swimming and it’s been over a year since the last time I swim regularly.”
“I see…”
“Hey, do you guys have a swimming pool here?”
“No we don’t. We think our facilities are enough”
“So, do you want a personal trainer-guided program, or the regular?”
“The regular.”
“Why? You know to lose weight more effectively, you’ll need a personal trainer”
“See, I don’t think that’s a good idea, because I work at odd hours”
“We’re open until midnight. There are plenty of personal trainers on stand-by”
“I’ll stick by my choice, thanks.”
“Allrighty. How many kilos would you like to lose?”
“Umm… maybe ten?”
“Right. How soon do you want it to happen?”
“I don’t really care, as long as I can exercise once a week.”

He threw me a dirty look.

“ONCE a week? That is not exercise!”

If this guy works as a judge, he’d be a great one. As a marketing staff… well, let’s just say that if I were his boss, I’d fire him on day one.

“What do you mean it’s not exercise?”
“Well, Miss, if you really wanna lose weight, you have to at least come here three times a week!”
“Well unlike some people, I do have a JOB”
“But health is important!”
“It’s important because it’s YOUR job to sell a membership to me. And frankly, I don’t think this is a way to do it…”
“Okay okay. Once or twice a week will do you fine. But then it will probably take you five months to achieve your desired goal. Are you okay with that?”
“Dude, I’m fine with anything. Now let’s talk prices. Do you have a couple’s plan? My boyfriend is also interested in this, actually.”
“I am not done explaining, Miss.”
“Okay, so let’s get on with it and quit asking me silly stuff. I know the reason why I’m joining, and I don’t think anything can change that.”

He presented to me the blah blah blahs of the gym’s program. And FINALLY, we talked numbers.

“So your joining fee would be 1.5 million Rupiah plus a processing fee of 250 thousand Rupiah plus two months membership fee. This is your monthly membership fee.”

I glanced at the figure he wrote, and gasped.

“Nine hundred and ninety thousand Rupiah? Are you crazy? No wonder you’ve been pushing me to come at least three times a week! Geez!”

He was quite taken aback, seeing my reaction. And before he could say anything, I went on.

“You know what, this is really silly. You charge this much for joining fee. Fine, I could live with that. But then you charge MORE than half the joining fee for the monthly membership fee? Seriously, I’ve joined DVD rentals before… and if they charge the way you do, people won’t even bother to borrow. They’d just be satisfied with HBO.”

He straightened his tie, and tried to smile at me.

“Well, I’ll see what I can do to you, Miss. Please don’t go anywhere.”

He disappeared for about three minutes and finally returned with a genuine smile.

“May I borrow your I.D card, Miss?”
“What for?”
“We have a first visit incentive program. Maybe that will work for you. Therefore we need your I.D card to put you in our database.”
“Well ok. No hanky panky this time, or I’m leaving.”
“I assure you there won’t be.”

I gave him my I.D. card and he disappeared again for about five minutes. The man returned with a huge smile.

“Okay Miss, here’s the deal. In our first visit incentive program, the joining fee is down to… 250 thousand Rupiah… the processing fee is the same and the monthly fee becomes 450 thousand Rupiah. Make enough sense for you?”

I smiled, “There you go. Now this is what I call sensible exercise. Ok. I’ll return next week with my boyfriend to join.”

His face struck with horror.

“OH NO NO NO!!! You’ll have to pay it now, Miss. That’s why it’s called a ‘first visit incentive program’. Your name is already on our database! Your next visit will be your second!”

I looked at him fiercely.

“Look, dude, I thought I told you ‘no hanky panky’. What’s this?”
“Miss, I borrowed your I.D. card to put you in this program so you can have the best deal”
“You should’ve told me that. And didn’t I mention that I’m not going to pay for ANYTHING just yet?”
“Well yes, but…”
“Tell you what. If you push me to pay now, and won’t give me the incentive program the next time I come with my boyfriend, you’re not only losing one prospective customer. You’re going to lose TWO. Now, that’s bad for your record, right?”
“But Miss… how can I guarantee that you’re coming back?”
“You have my phone number. And my address.”
“Say what if you sign a pre-contract with us? Just to assure both of us that you’re coming back?”
“Dude, you make it sound a lot more complicated than going through Jakarta’s administrative tasks when you buy a property. This is a gym, for chrissake!”
“But… but…”
“You want me to come back, or not?”
“Well yes… but…”
“Ok, I’ll come back next week WITH my boyfriend. And I expect you to be ready with that incentive program thing. I’ll look for YOU. And that’s because I have your namecard and phone number here.”
“Okay then…”

Who says you can only bargain fiercely at Mangga Dua?

  1. Hahaha~ Yea, that’s supposedly how we should face a horrible marketer! =) =) We flip it otherwise! Hahaha~..

  2. Geez…..I knew it! that place always makes me creepy. I feel my heart beat faster (honestly) when reading this.
    It makes New Age Organization like Asiaworks or some kind of satan church looks Lame.

    And you know what? That’s just for the beginning. I heard, once you’re in, they won’t let you out easily. They will charge you Rp. 500.000 -, to cut the membership and it will be charged to your credit card. My friends have to sign off her credit card just to avoid this charge.

    Maybe, even Hotel California (sung by the Eagles) felt more friendly eventhough they as fishy as these guys.

    hmmm hmmmm theme song

    “Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    ‘Relax,’ said the night man,
    We are programmed to receive.
    You can checkout any time you like,
    but you can never leave!

    Welcome to the Hotel California
    Such a lovely place
    Such a lovely face
    Plenty of room at the Hotel California
    Any time of year, you can find it here “

  3. ey Lola, do you know which fitness center she is talking about?? so it’s true, huh?

  4. got a new info today… and yes, they are leeches.

    damn, why did i give them my i.d. card? hmmm…

  5. since it was saying one of “famous gym” in Jakarta. I guess we’re talking the same thing.
    Definition “Famous Gym” in Jakarta =
    1. Gyms at the mall with big glasses wall that gives a sensation for peep with hidden exhibitionist tendention in certain level
    2. Gyms with members (who happen to be your friends) claims that they excercise with some celebrities e.g Anna Maria (Roy Marten’s wife), Chintami Atmanagara, Nafa Urbach, ..and uumm, I can’t remember the name of male celebrities.
    3. Gyms that whenever I peek inside, frankly speaking, I wish I have the nerve to sign in there with full commitment and be proud to be one of its member. (heheheheheheeh)

    Most of the “Famous Gyms” in Jakarta doing that kinda creepy thing. Been surveying with some members in certain area in South Jakarta, North Jakarta, West Jakarta….LOL. But never contact them directly since am too lazy.

    Relax, you just give your id card right? Just bear several follow ups from them it’s the only thing they could do, as long as you did not hand over your credit card.

  6. Lola dear,

    I decided to stick with swimming. 20.000 thousand per-visit, decent showers, own towel and free tan by the sun. fuss free!

    how ironic that a water sport doesn’t contain blood-sucking leeches as those on dry land. hmm…

  7. well not..exactly dry actually.
    we’re living in tropical country. The humidity level is so high not just in the air but also on the land.
    …paradise for leeches….. lol….

  8. mau beli membership gua aja gak? 😦 masih ada nih, 6 bulan sisa di fitness first plangi.

  9. 250 grand for the joining fee? You sure? As for me, it’s only one hundred! The rest is just the same amount.

  10. still with that ‘famous’ gym or you’ve been awakened long time ago? just curious…

  11. bubba: never. i’ve joined a much better facility, thank you very much.

  12. Kyahahahah I just read this ‘old’ post.

    Tell you what, I joined a gym once and the first time I went there, the trainers sort of judged me by their looks and by their ramblings ( they kept pestering me about what I ate, what i did everyday, and yada yada). Well, it only lasted for 5 or 6 months and now I’m back at my old habit.

    Conclusion : Gym’s not my thing

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