If I were a new member looking to join, the gym would waive more than half the initiation fee. But for a lousy old member, simply switching locations slaps me with a "transfer fee" that exceeds the initiation offer by $150!
I should have known. This gym and I have baggage.
When I first joined in 2009, I wanted the most basic membership. But I was informed that I had to buy the most expensive option, the "All-Access Pass," which afforded me admittance to any of the chain's gyms in the country, for a much less affordable price.
"It's a required upgrade," the consultant explained, as if that were an explanation.
Isn't an upgrade, by definition, optional?
"Normally yes, but this is a flagship location."
Fast-forward five years, I've moved farther from my old gym and closer to a newer location - and this one has a rooftop pool!
Finally, I'd be able to get some use out of the perk I've been paying for since 2009, right?
"I'm sorry," the guy told me when I tried to check in last month. "This gym is excluded from All-Access."
Uh, you've been charging me for "All-Access," not "Some-Access."
"You need an upgrade for Destination locations like this one."
Even if the destination is four blocks away?
I explained that while I understood he doesn't make the rules, the rules are really stupid.
He glanced over his shoulder and leaned in. "Look, I hear you. You can skip the upgrade and join only this location. It'll even be cheaper than All-Access."
Where do I sign?
Then he added, "Are you familiar with our transfer fee?" and introduced me to my new arbitrary charge.
Hello, Transfer Fee? Meet Sucker.
As much as I wanted in, I couldn't accept their gouging. I left to think about it.
Read, stew about it.
I was determined to get out of the fee. I tallied up how much I had spent as a five-year member, a sum I'm too ashamed to print, because for that price, I should be so much hotter.
It was during my online research that I discovered the new-member promotion. I thought there was no way they could justify rewarding the newbies while punishing the faithful. I was sure I'd persuade them to waive the transfer or at least meet the new-member price. I called to make my case.
I tried honey, I tried vinegar, appeals to logic and emotion.
He shot down every argument.
I said I'd cancel at my old location and re-up with him as a new member.
"If you cancel, you stay in our system for three months, so you'd miss the whole summer."
He had the pool card, and he knew it.
Despite my indignation, I knew that by not joining this gym, I'd be cutting off my nose to spite my face.
Or keeping my fat to spite my thighs.
I conceded, my credit-card information tasting bitter on my tongue.
Don't get mad, get even. To stick it to them, I go to the gym every day, front and center at all the classes, and I use a vindictive amount of free conditioner in the showers.
My hate-workouts are paying off. I've lost seven pounds.
Shiny and new, here I come.
Lisa Scottoline's latest novel, "Keep Quiet," is in stores now, and look for Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella's latest collection of humor essays in "Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim."