Gym Pirates Off The Starboard Side

Avast, me hearties!

pirate of the gym

Photo: FourthOfJuly CC-By-2.0

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Okay, it was in the early ‘90’s in Kent, WA, I was neck deep in my college studies (partying), and working (in a restaurant for my dinner). I mentioned this story last week, and it seemed appropriate to tell you of this yarn.

At the time, there were no gyms in the immediate area. That was bad news. There were a few in neighboring cities, but none were close enough for daily use. The gym at school was, shall we say, very limited.

Then one day, it was as if a prayer had been answered. Right down the street from the classy restaurant that I was working at, a gym was opened in a strip mall.

I happened upon the build-out while picking up some guitar strings at the music store. The manager gave me the grand tour. It was glorious.

The free weight area was big, and was going to be well stocked. I wasn’t a cardio guy, but the cardio area was looking good as well. In the back, they were putting in a pool and hot tub. Glorious, right?

The gym was part of a small, local, rapidly growing chain. I bought into the idea of buying the “Gold” package. That gave me discounts in the pro-shop, use of the pool, and the ability to use any of the other 6 gyms in western Washington.

Being young, I didn’t have much credit. Of course, the gym sold their contracts through a loan outfit, which roped me into a three year contract. Pay attention, this comes up later.

My time was spent at school, the gym, and work. I’d roll into bed around 1 o’clock, get up at 6 (kids, early classes in college suck! I’m just sayin’.) to do it all over again.

Then it happened

One day I pulled in to the parking lot, and something didn’t look right. The place was CLEANED OUT. No joke. Empty. This is where I inserted a whole mess of expletives. Did I ever tell you that I’m a chef with expletives? At least I was. I’ve reformed my evil ways. :)

Turned out that the group that owned this chain of gyms expanded too far, too fast. They went under in a BIG way.

Here’s where it gets good. Because the contract wasn’t owned by the gym owners, but instead some loan joint, I still had to pay the contract.

The loophole

If the there was no other gym anywhere inside of a ten mile radius of my home, they would release me from my contract. If there were a gym in that distance, they would pay for me to use it. If however, there was a gym, and I decided that I didn’t want to use it, I was still bound by the contract.

I did some searching. It turned out that there was a gym inside of the 10-mile radius… barely. It was actually 9.5 miles, in the opposite direction of anywhere that I was ever at.

Because of that little detail, I had to complete the payment of the contract, with no service rendered. The financial pirates had taken out my sails, jammed the rudder, and set the ship on fire as they sailed off with my booty.

My tip o’the day to you would be to think seriously about those contracts when you sign up at a gym. They’re not all bad, but they do require some thought.

http://phitzone.com/index.php/2010/11/budget-minded-fitness/


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4 Responses to “Gym Pirates Off The Starboard Side”

  1. Scotty Angel says:

    Dude, I feel for ya. When I was in the Airforce, I was reassigned. And even though I was assured when signing up at the gym by my apartment, that I’d be able to get out of the contract if it happened, they made me stick to it. I didnt get it in writing, so I was stuck. Luckily, I moved on post, and used the base gym. Funny, that required a long term contract also. LMAO

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  3. Golds Gym bones me hard. I think it’s why I harbor so much resentment when it comes to gyms. My first hubs took our wedding money and got us memberships. I was already smokin hot and in shape. I called that day to calcel it and they said come down but kept pushing it saying I had to have an appointment. I got in there three days later and they said I had 48 hours to cancel so there was nothing they could do and they robbed me. I wish I was a blogger then. I also wish I had a computer.

  4. Todd says:

    That kind of power would have rocked at the time. I didn’t even own a car with a computer back then. That bait-n-switch crap is the worse. Cleaver SOB’s. I think that I’d have had an attorney send them a letter and see what came of it.

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