On Martin Luther King Day, a gloriously sunny day in January, Mr. Apron had to work, so I ran errands.  We’d been talking about joining a gym, as a way to fight the post-work, mid-Winter blahs, as well as the softening of our formerly rock-hand physiques.  But seriously.  After a quick trip to the ACME for the requisite Caffeine Free Diet Coke, I realized that LA Fitness was in the same shopping center, so I started walking over there, intending to get a monthly fee schedule, and bring it home to talk over with Mr. Apron. As I walked over, I happened to pass Lucille Roberts, so I stopped in and did the same there.  Of course, it’s never so simple as to have a membership fee schedule on a piece of paper, and collect information like so many other scouting missions for comparing prices on Smart Wool socks, or cell phone plans, or soy milk. 

Of course I had to fill out an information card, disclosing my height, weight, how much weight I wanted to lose (note that it was not a Yes/No, as in “Do you want to lose weight?” but, as a women looking into a women’s gym in January, it was presupposed that the primary reason I would join was to lose weight.  But that’s another blog post.), and which areas of my flabby female form I wanted to target.  I filled it out, then, because my tour guide couldn’t be bothered to read it, had to respond as she asked me the exact same questions.  Like going to the doctor’s office.  Jeez.  I finally disclosed that the major drawback to Lucille Roberts was that Mr. Apron could not work out with me.  So, in spite of their One Day Only Free Registration Special, I left. 

Guess who else was having a One Day Only Special?  LA Fitness came highly recommended by a friend who spends all waking, non-working hours there.  And maintains the body of a 17 year old even as she approaches 33.  Of course, I knew I had to endure the rigmarole of waiting for a “Membership Asshole” named Andrew to give me a tour, take down my blood-type, and ask for collateral in the form of my unborn children.  So I tried.  I declined the offer of the swimming pool tour, citing my distaste for, and strong unlikelihood of using, said object.   I was patient as Andrew showed me the group classrooms, politely cutting him off at the pass as he was about to tell me at length about treadmills, but finally, as he started in about the mahogany lockers, I cut to the chase.  Tell me how much it’ll be, I asked, and we can all go on our merry ways.  Oh, well, wouldn’t you know it, they were having a one-day only sale!  Instead of $149 to join, it would be $125; or $75 instead of $99, and the monthly rates were discounted, too!  Instead of $44.99, it would be $29.99, or (if I chose the lower initiation fee), instead of $49.99, it would be $34.99.  Truly amazing.  I was almost fooled.  Especially when he started in on how my spouse’s initiation fee would be waived, but only if I signed up now.  See, I had up to 3 days to add him, but I had to join today.  Again, I said thank you, and I’d go home and discuss it with Mr. Apron, and we still had till midnight, so good bye.

We discussed it, and felt that we might join the locally owned independent gym instead, as there seemed to be less pressure on the membership front, it was closer in location, and seemed altogether more hamish.

So I let midnight pass.  If only it were over with the big chains.  Lucille Roberts proceeded to text message me every day, and LA Fitness called every day. 

I received such gems as, “Hey check this out!  Lucille Roberts is giving away FREE registration! You don’t want to miss out!  Call the now at XXX-XXX-XXXX.  Also FREE gift with phone orders.” And “This is BIG!  They are giving ½ off registration @ Lucille Roberts TODAY ONLY!  Don’t miss out!” etc.  and then, my favorite: “Your not going to believe this.  Lucille Roberts is having a huge ONE DAY SALE!  Get FREE registration TODAY ONLY!” etc.  Uh huh.  One day only.  What exactly are you paying for when you give them a $40 registration fee?  And how much of a bargain is it over the course of a year to save $40?  I think the whole registration fee is designed to be put on sale, so you think it’s a bargain and join TODAY.  ONLY.  FREE.  SALE.  WOMEN.  LOSE WEIGHT.  YOU”RE FAT. 

And LA Fitness called daily. Luckily, I spied the 664 exchange on their various lines and immediately rejected incoming calls.  I put off calling and telling them to quit calling me for several days, wondering how long the harrassment would continue.  Once, when I made the mistake of looking at a car when I had no intention of buying, the dealer send me a letter every week for 6 weeks, imploring my business.  Finally, Mr. Apron appealed to me to call off the gym membership hounds.  I called,  I yelled, I was terse.  They both assured me it would be done.  I wouldn’t have given my real phone number if I hadn’t intended to join a gym.  The incessant harrassment soured me on both places, and may have actually caused me to bail.   Years ago, my mother memorized the phone number for the local federal prison, and she used to give that as her phone number.  Mr. Apron gave out the phone number of his ambulance company, both when he was an employee, and after he left. 

So you’d think it would be over, this lesson.  That I would be happily pumping iron in the next town over, that I would have learned my lesson to always give a fake phone number if I had any doubts in my mind about what I wanted to do. 

And then, this morning, I received this:

“La Fitness Snow specials — 0 registration/35 monthly for this location only!!!  Pay first and last month to join.  That’s it and TODAY ONLY!!!!!”

I think I should call the exclamation point police on them.

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