24 Hour Fitness / unhelpful staff - can't use equipment
During 2008, I have been working out at the Concord CA Sun Valley Mall facility, and I am amazed at the bad service the staff and managers provide. My understanding is that Carlos is the General Manager, and a man named Damon is the "floor manager". Both men are polite, but they have the following attitude:
" The Corporation does not allow local management teams to have adequate staff to watch over the floor for customers who abuse the equipment by sitting on the equipment and resting on it, instead of allowing other members to access the equipment. This is a ruse because the truth is that there is plenty of staff to casually look at what is happening on the floor...and if the staff was told to do so, they could easily see who the abusing customers are, and they could require the customers to behave properly or require the offending customers to leave. This is basic gym etiquette and those who do not get to use the equipment are left to be frustrated or to have confrontations with other gym members."
Other points I would like to make are:
1. I recently asked another Sun Valley Mall/24 Hour Fitness gym member if I could "work in with him" on a piece of equipment, and his answer was the he wanted to complete 2 more sets after having just completed one set, before he would share the equipment...when I told him I didn't feel that this was appropriate, his response was "### You". I went to a seasoned 50 year old employee named Mike...who came and addressed the abusive customer, and the employee felt that it was the right for the abusing customer to control the machine for several minutes (about 10 minutes. although the customer said he only used it for 60 seconds)...and the employee observed first hand that the other member verbally abused me with a round of what an ###, ###ing jerk, etc etc etc that I was for asking to get to share the machine. When I pointed out to the employee that this was inappropriate and I felt the other member should be required to leave, the employee said that he had no authority to make the other member leave, regardless of the threatening and vulgar language that was being used.
2. the same employee (Mike) noted in point #1 above told me that the current ownership/management (according to the employee, Home Depot bought out the 24 Hour Fitness business) is acting like the previous ownership/management with respects to safe use of equipment. Employees are directed to not circulate amongst the equipment using customers to correct them when they are misusing equipment. Many pieces of gym equipment, especially weight lifting equipment, can cause severe injuries and even potentially death. However, employees are told that all customers/members sign "injury waivers" so, the members are allowed to do unsafe things. This speaks to the philosophy of 24 Hour Fitness Management. There is no "right or wrong" in their facility...just what makes money.
3. The only truly good thing I can say about the 24 Hour Fitness business is that it is cheap, and if one is willing to work out very late at night...say 9 PM or later...or in the early morning hours of 12 AM - 6 AM, there is good value to be achieved without much aggravation. However, if members must use the facility during busy hours, the members are sure to be aggravated and subjected to confrontation if one wants to ask to share equipment with the meat head muscle freaks, or if one asks to share equipment with the simply selfish or uneducated gym users. Certainly there are many members who are pleasant and willing to share...but there are many who are not...and the 24 Hour managers and staff are actually directed to not require reasonable behavior from all members.
4. If I did not have a prepaid, 1 year full membership, I would go use another gym. Bally's has better & newer equipment and a nicer, cleaner environmnet...but they have a little more cost and fewer hours of availability (5 AM - 11 PM)...and, Bally's pushes for 3 year contracts (although when pushed, they do offer "today only specials" where you can get one year contracts).
5. To make a complaint other than to the local manager who is in charge of "damage control, " is next to impossible. If you call "customer service", they turn you back to the local managers like Carlos, who is in charge of making sure nothing gets addressed.
I suppose I should just realize I need to work out in the late evenings or early mornings...and accept what 24 Hour Fitness is all about...an inexpensive, no frills gym...that is not at all interested in creating a pleasant environment. Clearly, the method of management puts members in conflict...one either has to shut up, or be prepared to have conflict with others...including some of the low class, pumped up muscle heads that frequent 24 Hour Fitness.
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