The Health Club Haggle

2 Nov

I saw a health club from the outside and I loved it. Best feature: Pool! And Jazcuzzi! When I went on the website, they offered a three day free pas.

But before I can just do, they tell me I have to talk to the salesman, Maxmus.

“I want to activate my three day pass before I make any decisions,” I say. “Can I activate my three day pass?”

He takes out a laminated piece of paper. It’s got extremely high rates on it and it’s called something like gold, platinum, diamond rates. “NORMALLY, we charge people this amount,” he says, pointing to a price of something really ridiculous like $200 for an entry fee and $69 a month. And that is for only using the one club, not the whole chain.

“I saw on the internet that I could join for $39 a month with no entry fee.”

“Oh I never heard of anything like THAT,” he scoffs. “BUT. I’ll tell you what super-secret thing I can do. I can give you HALF this rate IF you act today. See—I can give you a $99 entrance fee and $34.95 a month. You can trade in your three day pass for it.”

“I want my three day pass,” I say. “I don’t like doing business like this. I can’t think.”

“No, let me explain. See, the three day pass is worth 15 dollars a day. That’s like 45 dollars.”

“No it isn’t,” I say. “It’s worth FREE because that’s what it says.” But I am still getting more and more pissed off and feeling played.

I realize afterm20 months, that would be cheaper. I also remember my last health club folded while I had plenty of already paid for months on it.

“No,” I say. “I want the three day pass. THEN I’ll decide. And I don’t want to pay the $99 entrance fee.”

“You have to pay the entrance fee,” he said. “But come back and talk to me after you’ve had your workout. See what you think.”

I go for my workout, love it, go home, get the internet deal for $39 a month and don’t talk to Marcellus again.

A few days later, they have 30 day free passes on the counter—if you sign up to use it by October 31st. Husband, who will not be able to bike all winter, could really use a gym. He comes in, also thinks it’s a great gym with convenient classes (in cycling, what else). By this time I am feeling rather played, and I’m ready not to put up with any crap whatsoever. Deal with another young man while poor husband sits next to me

“Okay.” I say. “First, I want his 30 day free pass validated. Then we can talk about other deals.”

“I’ll tell you what,” says Michael. “I want to let you in on a secret. If you turn in the 30 day pass today, then I can give you a special family rate of $34 a month for your husband with NO down payment.”

I pour on the fake charm just as he is. “I can get the family rate for $29.00 on the internet. But I’d MUCH rather give my business to a REAL PERSON. So if you can give me a better deal, I’d much rather give YOU the business than a machine.”

“But you have to pay an entrance fee with THAT family rate,” he says.

“But the entrance rate is only $25,” I say.

“What are you looking for?”

“I want him to have 30 days free and THEN be able to join at $29 a month with NO entrance fee.”

He takes out TWO sheets of laminated paper. One is the same diamond/gold/platinum one from yesterday. Another one is similar with much higher prices.

“See, the prices are going to go WAY up starting in November. Everybody wants to join a health club in November. They don’t want to get fat from all the turkey.”

“NOBODY wants to join a health club in November,” I say. “They want to join in January, AFTER they eat the turkey.”

“Our clubs are the fastest growing clubs in the east!” he says. “Look at our growth.” He pulls up an article.

“All the more likely to crash and burn,” I say.

“Well.  . . . . “ he says, “I WISH I could give you a better deal, but I’m really worried your prices are going to double if you wait until next month.”

“Well, I want him to have a free month, as your flyer promised, and THEN for him to get the $29 rate. And I think I’m just going to sit back in my chair and relax and see if that can happen. I’m going to just sit here and meditate for a moment while you think about it.” I sit back and relax, while Brian looks about as mortified as possible and this guy is smiling.

“heh heh heh I like your wife,” he says, meaning the opposite no doubt.

I say, “I really want to give YOU our business, not the computer. So how about after you activate his pass, we give you our phone number in case you can work anything out?”

“Okay,” he says, “But I can’t promise you that that internet rate isn’t going to change tomorrow.”

“I’ll take my chances,” I say, and stand up.

The guy reluctantly activates B.’s pass, and we pass some lovely time at the gym.

I don’t know if we’ll still be able to get the 29 rate dollar without the $25 fee, but I WILL say that it is now November 1st, and the internet deal Is exactly the same as it was yesterday.

Writing Prompt: Did you ever haggle for something? What gave you the mojo? Are you normally able to understand why you sometimes love haggling and sometimes hate it? 

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5 Responses to “The Health Club Haggle”

  1. Donna O'Donnell Figurski November 2, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Good for you, Alexandra. I can just see you sitting there. “I sit back and relax,” I laughed out loud at this line – “NOBODY wants to join a health club in November,” I say. “They want to join in January, AFTER they eat the turkey.” So true.

    I tried to join a club in Styertown a few months ago. Their 99-cent-a-month deal, which they proudly displayed in their window, was nowhere near that. After they bombarded me with Plan a, b, c, all the way to … z, I left. My head was spinning. When I told her I would think about it, she threatened that the deal would be gone the next day. Sound familiar? I left anyway. That’s when the phone calls started – several each day. (I let it go to answer machine.) Funny! They told me the deal was ending. They must have liked ME so much, they extended it. How sweet. Do they really think people are so naive????

    Looks like you are on a writing roll today.

    • alexandrahh13 November 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Thank you, Donna. The deal was extended? WHAT a miracle!

  2. Rowyn November 2, 2012 at 2:54 am #

    Good grief! Good for you for not caving. And thanks (as usual) for making me laugh. Can’t say I have any haggling stories of my own, sadly.

    • alexandrahh13 November 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      Rowyn!! How nice to see your beautiful face! I don’t know what got into me, because usually I don’t have it in me for this sort of thing.

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