Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Leaving LA (Fitness)

TD (to attendant at front desk of LA Fitness, a gym I’ve belonged to for years):  Hi. I’d like to suspend my membership. When I signed up,  I was told I could suspend my membership one time if I ever needed to, after which I could reinstate without having to pay another initiation fee.

Attendant:  What’s your name?

TD: Dryden, Thomas.  I hate to do this – I like this place -- but until this COVID thing settles down, it’s silly to keep paying $32 a month for something I’m not using. I haven’t been here since March.

Attendant:  There’s a fee of $10 a month to suspend your membership.

TD: Wait a minute, there’s a sign out front that says “Memberships $9.99 a month.”

Attendant: That’s the rate for membership in Esporta Fitness. 

TD: What's Esporta Fitness? 

Attendant: They bought LA Fitness’ Florida locations effective July 1. 

TD: So this is now Esporta, not LA Fitness. Right?

Attendant: Yes, but they haven't changed the sign yet.

TD: Is this going to be same club with the same layout and same equipment?

Attendant: Yes.

TD: You’re saying it will cost me less to join the same club operating under a different name and have the right to use it whenever I want, than if I were to suspend my membership in a club whose brand has ceased to exist in which case I couldn't use it. Do I have that right?

Attendant:  Yes, you'll have to resign your LA Fitness membership, but you won't be able to join Esporta immediately. You’ll have to wait at least a month. And once you join at the $9.99 rate, you won’t be able to use any other Esporta or LA Fitness locations – only this one.

TD: Fine. I don’t want to come here anyway – that’s why I’m here today. So go ahead, cancel my $32 a month LA Fitness membership so I don’t have to pay the $10 monthly suspension charge. When I decide to come back I’ll rejoin Esporta for just $9.99 a month, $22.01 less than I’m now paying. Sweet.

Attendant: I can’t do that for you.

TD: Why not? Your computer screen shows you’re on my account page.

Attendant:  You’ll have to send Esporta a letter canceling your LA Fitness membership.

TD: Why can’t you just hit a button and cancel it?

Attendant: I just can’t. But I can print out the letter you’ll need to send.

TD: Can’t I cancel it online once I get home?

Attendant: No. They need a physical letter.

TD: OK, print it out.

Attendant (a few seconds later handing me the letter): Here you go. Be sure to send by certified mail.

TD: How much is that going to cost? 

Attendant: I dunno. 

TD: Thanks. I’ll come back and rejoin once this COVID mess is resolved. 

Attendant: OK, no problem. Thanks for stopping by Esporta.

TD: I didn’t know it was Esporta until a minute ago.

Attendant: Has been since July 1.

TD: A question. Would they have continued charging me $32 a month to belong to this club that no longer exists under its original name if I hadn’t stopped by here today?

Attendant: Yes.

TD: I need a drink.

Attendant: We have sports drinks in the vending machine.

TD: No, after this conversation I need something stronger.

Attendant: Have a good day.

TD: You, too.