I have been using the word of “censor” in place of the real name of a fitness center in Malaysia in my defunct old blog. Not hard to guess which gym I am talking about. This fitness center has the most number of outlets in Malaysia for now. In fact, it has a chain of about 500 health clubs in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
The fiasco took place two years ago in year 2005. To cut the story short. I called one of the outlets to ask about the membership price. But, the sales lady insisted me to drop by at the outlet before she disclosed the information. Having joined Clark Hatch for 2 years, I knew what I wanted and therefore decline the offer yet persistent in getting the pricing information. The sales lady then raised her voice and ended the conversation in a very unfriendly manner.
I was mad at that time. So, I wrote about that experience in my old blog which is now defunct. The next day, someone has alerted the management of Fitness First. After reading that post, the fitness center Managing Director called (I left my number to the sales lady) and he wanted to discuss the matter with me. Initially, thought that the gentleman really wanted to hear my complain, but later was told that he was meeting up with his legal team to pursue the matter further. In other words, the message was simple – “Take down the post. Otherwise, see you in court.”
I wanted to sleep well at night. Never was my intention to be a hero fighting for a battle that probably brings no meaning. After all, I was not even a member with the fitness center.
So, I bit the bullet. Swallowed the ego. Replaced the fitness center name with the word of “censor” in my articles in the previous blog.
Come to think about the incident, though I had a bad experience dealing with the sales person, it was really a small matter.
Given a chance, will I still write about it?
Probably yes. But, it will be in a different way, in a subtle manner.
Classifying everyone is bad is not fair just because of one bad apple. Everyone deserves a second chance.
The incident would have a good ending if the Managing Director wanted to sincerely talk about it. Not that I asked for apology, but don’t you think the willingness in listening a potential customer’s feedback is better than the use of legal channel?
Fitness First = Fitness comes first, but how about Customer? Shouldn’t Customer First in this case?
I still received e-mails from blog readers asking my opinion about the gym. Never in any of my advice discouraging them for joining the club. I shared with them the good and the bad. Show them the basic guidelines in choosing a gym. Tell them the truth. Let them make an informed decision.
Fitness First still has its strength. Being one of the pioneers, it managed to capture huge market shares in this competitive industry. Excellent fitness class instructors and accessibility in different International locations are some of its key selling points.
No matter what, the case is long closed. Since then, I signed up with another gym. Not one or two years contract, but a 5-year package which later upgraded to lifetime membership. Not because Fitness First is bad, but others are catching up with better total package and give me what I want.
If you are a member with Fitness First, I welcome your comments. Share with me your experience.
Category: Gym Going
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