Passing by a well-known Hong Kong gym, Willie and I as usual started to dodge their swarming salesmen. This time however, he (unwisely) stopped to take a leaflet, which promised a 14 day free guest pass. (Their last ones were for giant Starbucks coffees, sneaky, sneaky.)
So of course we’re corralled inside to ‘fill out a few forms’. After filling out a deceptively short form with his name and number, Willie has taken even further inside as I plodded along behind him. Once they’d talked to him about his fitness goals (and there were more forms) he was told that he would need to be checked out by their medical guy to be sure he’s fit to work out there.
Sounds fair enough, doesn’t it? Well apparently all that that guy’s job involves is sitting in a cubicle with leaflets about BMI and blood pressure tacked to the wall and telling people that they’re fat. To their credit they did at least measure Willie’s height. Then they asked him how much he weighed, and he gave them a number along with, “But I’m not sure about that, It’s been a long time since I’ve been weighed.” But that is all they need to know! You need to lose weight dude! (Even though for the weight he gave, BMI-wise Willie’s perfectly normal.)
Off to check out the equipment and to give the treadmill a shot. While punching in settings, our salesman asked Willie if he knew what a calorie was. He didn’t. The next question was, “Do you know how many calories are in a hamburger?” Well at this point I had to jump in, because if Willie doesn’t know what a calorie is he obviously doesn’t know how many a hamburger has and why it would have them. I replied, not too far off the mark, that “If you’re talking McDonald’s, I’d guess between two-and-a-half hundred and 700 depending on the type of burger?” Ehh, wrong. According to our salesman, all hamburgers contain exactly 500 calories.
I think this is the last you you want to hear from gym staff. Walking through the equipment section again our salesman pointed at one of the personal trainers and remarked that, “Look at him. With working out, you can eat whatever you want and still look like that!”
Then it was time for the sales pitch, aka death blow. We were sat down and he proceeded to talk at length about the different packages. We started to get up to leave when he brought in a second salesperson, who tried to give us discounts “but only if you sign up tonight!” They were being so forceful and pushy that I finally took it out on the second salesman, the pushier of the two. I told him exactly how aggressive and deceptive (remember the guest pass? What happened to that?) I thought they were being, and that it was all a load of crap. He was taken aback for a second, but then responded by offering us an even cheaper price “because we’re friends.” No we’re not friends! I just told you off, you hate me! It ended with Willie laughing in their faces as he pressed on about ‘the deal’.
The experience left me with the strangest craving for cookies, which I fully indulged in. We watched a DVD back at Willie’s before getting to bed, they were exhausting people. And that was the end of my day, after which I took a shower.