One last thought about your experiences. It turns out the Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro staff aren't the only ones experiencing funny, memorable or annoying incidents in fitness facilities — you are, too.
For this One Last Thought, the editors took the month off to feature the words of some of our most loyal readers. Their experiences are humorous, infuriating and insightful.
Jason Rogers runs the JRMC Wellness Center in Pine Bluff, AR, and never ceases to be amazed at the way people's minds work. The center is open to the community, and as he quickly learned, maybe a little too open.
“We are understaffed — all too typical — and the front desk is not always manned,” he says. “We also have a community walking track just outside the facility. The combination of the facility's open foyer and the walking track just outside seemed to invite people in ‘to get a drink,’ only to see them leave an hour and a half later after getting in a good weight workout and attending an aerobics class.”
To rectify the situation, Rogers had glass doors constructed at either end of the front desk with locks controlled by the facility's club software. Before the locks were functional, Rogers was sitting at the front desk when one of his longtime members approached him.
“Well, I see you have done a lot of work,” the member says.
“Yes sir. We have,” Rogers replies.
“Well, I can already see one problem with it,” the member says. “Yes sir. What is that?” Rogers asks.
“It is going to be pretty easy for people to sneak in. You know, one person can check in and then hold the door open for others,” the member says.
Initially, Rogers thought he was joking. After a pregnant pause, Rogers realized the man wasn't joking.
“All I could say was, ‘Yes sir. I suppose they could,’” Rogers remembers. “I was under the obvious misconception that it is actually more difficult to get through a locked door than to get through a space where there is no door at all.”
Another reader, Kristin, found solace in a previous One Last Thought column about spelling errors on club signage (“Do the Write Thing,” January 2007).
“I'm hoping that the athletic club that I worked at for three years reads this article,” she says. “Most often when they printed something, I could find an error. After a while, my general manager would tell me to stop being so petty. I tried explaining to him that it reflected on all of us that one person couldn't take the time to proof newsletters, magazines, flyers, etc.”
One time, Kristin even had a member bring her a sign that was typed and posted near the sauna for several days. It read, “A replacement light has been ordered. Sorry for the inconvence.”
When Kristin asked the sign's author if she had spell checked it, she replied, “Why? I don't see anything wrong with it.”
“This is the same girl who typed a sign for a ‘Texas Holdem Tournament,” Kristin says.
Reader Chris Hull had quite the cultural learning experience when, in the late 1990s, he ran the Health Fitness Corporation-managed site St. Elizabeth Hospital Health and Wellness Center in Beaumont, TX.
“Having worked and grown up in the Chicago area, you could make the argument that I am a Midwesterner/Northerner/Yankee, as they say in the South,” Hull says.
The staff took him in, he says, and helped him slow his speech and incorporate Texan slang, such as “ya'll,” in his vocabulary. It never quite took though, Hull says.
In fact, one day he received a comment card that read, “The water fountain is fixin' to break.”
After the hilarity of the member's comment, the staff left Hull's speech pattern alone.
Do you have an unforgettable memory (or incident) from a fitness facility that you'd like to share? E-mail your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may even see your story featured on this page in a future issue.