In the promotion, New York-based TSI offers current or retired police, firefighters, EMS and military with a reduced membership deal of $20 per month for life to its New York Sports Clubs (NYSC).
"First responders, it's time someone took care of you," TSI says in a recent print advertisement.
TSI is known for its unique advertising, calling out public figures such as Mel Gibson and LeBron James when they made headlines. This promotion, however, has some first-responders who were interviewed by the New York Daily News questioning TSI's motive.
"There are certain things you should never advertise from," James Ryder, a retired police officer, told the newspaper. "It's disgusting. It's a solemn day. The drama and stress you deal with—and I say this with tears in my eyes—it's enough to affect you the rest of your life."
Other first-responders, such as retired detective Glen Klein, says he does not see anything wrong with TSI's promotion.
"I think they're looking to drum up business for themselves, but they'd also genuinely like to have responders in their facilities," Klein told the newspaper. "Everybody's entitled to make money."
The New York Daily News reported that first-responders who sign up for the reduced rate are required to pay a $99 enrollment fee and cannot work out in the clubs during peak hours from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
TSI said the idea for the Sept. 11 promotion came from first-responders who said they expressed interest in an offer similar to the one the company made to teachers in the spring.
"Our current membership offer is a sign of our appreciation of first-responders' daily commitment to keep us safe," said TSI, which added it signed up 200 first-responders in the first two days of the promotion.
The Sept. 11 attacks hit TSI close to home. Four of its downtown NYSC locations were closed due to damage in the days following the attacks. Its Wall Street location opened as a 24-hour comfort center for World Trade Center rescue and relief workers, where hundreds of workers took advantage of cots, food, water and medical supplies provided by NYSC and the American Red Cross.
What do you think of TSI's gesture to first-responders? Is it disingenuous or heart-felt?