Saturday, December 17, 2011
When I was living in New York, getting paid nothing as an intern, I learned about the greatness of the free trial at health clubs. If you can withstand the attack of the salesman whose job it is to get you to sign up for a membership, you can walk away with free use of the gym. That is easier said than done.
I knew one of the things I wanted to do was work out a lot upon my return. As I have mentioned before, I stopped exercising nearly completely, because I knew it would accelerate my weight loss tremendously due to my new poverty diet. In the end, I lost fifteen pounds…the not healthy way.
There is a place in Springfield that is the showy health club. Every city has them. They’re they ones that have the big advertising budget that have commercials and billboards and misleading advertising. You know what I mean, “Join for just $1,” and “Pay your weight!” and “Pay the temperature on the day you join, convert it to Celsius, subtract that by 7, assign a number to the first letter of the day of the week you come in, take the square root of that number and multiply that by your white cell count. Boom! Savings!”
That place in Springfield offers a free two week trial, after meeting with a representative. I called for an appointment. I would meet with Jerry (not his real name. His real name is Gary, but I don’t want to print that). The rest of this post will be from Jerry’s perspective.
I wonder if there is a way to install tanning bed lights in my office? Then, I wouldn’t have to waste time tanning and working. I could call it vocatan, you know like, vocation and tan. Good one, Jerry. But, I guess I would get tan lines. That means I would have to be naked. Good one, Jerry. Oh, it’s noon, I’ve got an appointment with my next sucker. Hey, there he is. Wait, is he homeless? Does he he actually not have a home, or does he just dress that way? I’m going to assume the best.
Alright, he seems nice enough, name is Jeff, even if his breath smells like Totino’s. Let’s see if he can survive the realm of the Jerry charm. Many have entered, few have survived. We’re walking by the free weights, but clearly he’s more of a treadmill/wander around the weights trying to look like he knows what he’s doing, while he’s actually trying to read the diagrams explaining how to use the machines type of guy. He says he lifts, yeah right, and I read. Anyway, I still appear respectful. I point out that there is a TV on each aerobic machine, he seems like a guy who likes to watch 60 Minutes while he kind of sweats. Boom! Tour is done, let’s close this sale. We head back to the table.
Boom! Table. I own this! I get out my binder, no one has ever made it past the binder. I call the guy Buddy, not like from Charles in Charge, like rapport, which I have firmly established. I ask him some questions, and listen with a lot of nodding, to show that I’m listening. I ask him if he tans. Ha! Good one, Jerry. He won’t be using tanning, let alone, Vocatanning. What? Oh, surprise, he manages to resist my first offer. Alright, alright, remain calm, Jerry, you have leeway here. I chop off some of the “Building Fee,” waiting for a gasp. No gasp. None. What. Is. Happening? Subjecting terrorists to a health club one on one sales pitch is what the military does at Guantanamo. This guy is good. Wait a minute, is he here just for the trial membership? Bastard. I can play this game.
Monthly fee halved.
Nothing. Nothing. I’m sweating now. Who is this guy? What is he capable of? Is this Jason Bourne? Bourne was born in Nixa.
He’s not budging.
Free daycare at home.
I will come to your house and watch your kids.
He doesn’t have kids.
You can have my kids.
I will watch them, but they’ll still be yours.
Defeated. I ask him, “What would it take to get you a membership today?” He says, “I just want the trial.” Rare. Rare. The gazelle kills the lion.
I get him his card. With disdain. I put my head down and walk back to my office in dire need of some Vitamin D. I turn the lights on. Just fluorescent.