FUCK YOU EQUINOX FITNESS CLUB
I just quit my gym.
This may sound like an odd decision coming from a guy who thinks he's fat. But I didn't say that I was going to quit working out. I said that I was quitting my gym. Big difference
I first started working out about ten years ago, as I approached my 30th birthday. I had just recovered from a serious illness and I decided to come back bigger and better than ever. I joined the New York Sports Club and began working out with a trainer, and soon the results began to show.
I had always been thin and slight of build, but after a year or two of weight training at NYSC my upper body had become markedly broader. I liked the way I looked, and I kept at it.
The NYSC location where I worked out was small, often crowded and not particularly fancy. But who cares, right? I was there to get sweaty and get out. And that's what I did. Every day.
But then, the siren call of Equinox beckoned. A fancy new Equinox Fitness Club opened near my apartment. It was four floors tall, built from the ground up on the site of an old movie theater.
The sales people at New York Sports Club knew that they were powerless to stop the migration to the gleaming new facility. After all, it had a pool, cafe, boutique, spa, coat check, computer stations to check your email and hundreds of pieces of new equipment.
And even though I vowed to fight Equinox's gravitational pull, eventually I too fell victim to it. I joined and spent five years there working out.
And then I moved, and yet I kept working out at the same Equinox location. "It's not so out of the way," I said to myself.
And then my iPod got stolen from the locker room as I dressed. "It's okay," I said. "I've lived in New York City for 15 years and this is the first time I've been the victim of a crime!"
And then they raised the price -- to $170 per month. No, that is not a typo. Membership at the Equinox Fitness Clubs (at least in New York City) costs $170 per month, more than twice the cost of their nearest competitor.
I don't mind paying for luxury. It's my money, I work hard for it and I will spend it however I see fit.
But -- hear this clearly -- EQUINOX IS NOT WORTH THE MONEY. PERIOD.
And here's why:
1) The Greenwich Avenue Equinox location in the West Village is over-sold.
Peak hours are way too crowded. If I pay a premium price for gym membership, I expect to be able to work out when I want to, on the machines that I want to.
2) People steal things, and the club does nothing about it.
After my iPod was stolen from the bench in the locker room while I dressed, I spoke with the manager, a jolly, slightly overweight fellow named Matthew. He apologized but told me there was nothing he could do about it.
"We have people who join this club just to steal things," Manager Matthew said with a sigh.
Um, is that supposed to make me feel better? Because not only did someone steal my iPod, they also called me on my cellphone to thank me for it (I had my number in the address book, along with the numbers and emails of EVERYONE I KNOW) and to tell me how hot my girlfriend was (I had her picture as the background image).
These are the kind of people who are wandering around the Equinox location on Greenwich Avenue: thieves who will steal your shit and call you and leave scary messages on your voicemail.
At the very least the manager should have offered me a free month of membership, or a free training session or a free massage for my trouble. Again, for $170 you expect a certain level of customer service, and Equinox does not provide it.
Let me repeat that, the customer service at Equinox is awful.
3) My trainer was consistently late. And too expensive.
When I started working out with a trainer, sessions cost about $80 per hour. Within a year or so, they had jumped up to $125. Why? Because the trainer had apparently amassed more hours of work and was now at a "higher tier." The trick of course is that they encourage you to sign up with a new trainer, build a relationship and then raise the price by 50%, which is, how can I put this, oh yeah. It's complete bullshit.
But worse than that, my trainer was routinely late. Often ten minutes late, for a 60-minute session that was costing me $125. When you're paying $2 per minute for someone, you expect them to show up on time, or give you a refund.
On top of that, there were many occasions where our sessions ended early, because I had finished the routine that she planned for me. So, I get penalized for working hard and efficiently?
Perhaps she could spend the time helping me to stretch, since I had often complained of muscular tightness and pain. No. For $125 per session, my trainer did not help me to stretch afterwards, even after I had requested it. This is odd considering that many trainers regard training sessions as half-workout, half massage -- particularly the young muscular trainers with the hot female clients.
"Don't forget to stretch!" my trainer would say, as she headed off to her next session. Nice.
Yesterday I called Equinox and told them I wanted to quit. The gentleman answering the phone informed me that I had to come in to see a manager, so I walked over and explained the nature of my visit.
My old friend Matthew came out and asked me why I was quitting. I reeled off my litany of complaints.
"Wow," he said, with wide eyes. "That's a lotta reasons!" And then he proceeded to tell me that there was nothing he could do about any of my complaints.
Wrong. The club can cap membership if it's too crowded. They can give people free stuff if their possessions get stolen on gym property. And they can make sure their trainers show up on time and are not exhausted because they're working from 6 AM until 10 PM, in order to get more hours to raise their "tier" and thus, their price.
This is basic customer service.
After all this, the manager filled out my cancellation report. Next to "reason for cancellation" he wrote "Too Expensive." No Matthew, that was just part of the reason. Why not be honest, and tell the whole story?
To add insult to injury, even though I cancelled my membership with more than two weeks left in the month of April, Equinox is still going to charge me $170 for the month of May. Why?
Because the people who run Equinox Fitness Club are a bunch of crooks.
Have I left anything out? Oh yeah, the gay sex.
Rumored sexual activity has been taking place in the locker rooms and bathrooms at Equinox clubs all across the city, causing maintenance workers to quit because they were tired of cleaning up after it. Equinox management vehemently denied it, but they also hung up a sign outside the steam room at Greenwich Avenue that says: "Equinox has zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior."
If there's no "inappropriate behavior" then why do you need a sign?
So, in summation, if you want a gym:
1) that is way too crowded at peak hours;
2) where your stuff will get stolen and scary people will harass you;
3) where you will be over-charged for everything, from membership to trainer's fees to $2 for a 12 oz can of Diet Coke at the poser cafe;
4) and where you might have to avoid "unidentified liquids"
Then join the Equinox Fitness Club on Greenwich Avenue in the West Village for only $170 per month!
If not, go back to New York Sports Club for $74.99 per month. That's what I did.