Saturday, June 06, 2009

NYSC sucks and here's why

I sent an Email Executive Carpet Bomb a la The Consumerist to about 15 people at NYSC about an incident that happened last week. Their personal trainers need to really learn some gym etiquette.
Here's a copy of what I sent, please to enjoy:

"I’m writing to inform you of a recent incident at your 8th Ave and 23rd Street facility.

Recently this location has started roping off one area of the gym and trying to keep other members out while one or two people who have hired personal trainers use the area to exercise. Unfortunately this is the area where all the Swiss balls are stored, along with a rack free weights, stretch bands, medicine balls and other equipment. On Tuesday June 2nd, I was in this area using one of the pieces of equipment (the hip flexor machine) that is located there. When I finished on that machine, I wanted to use the blue Swiss ball (of which there is only one in the entire facility) and, seeing no one else near the ball, picked it up to take it out of the Personal Training area. When I walked past the only personal trainer in the area on my way out, he snatched the ball out of my hands and said, “This is for MY CLIENT.” I replied that neither he nor his client was making use of the ball, as they were at the other end of the area from where the ball was sitting unattended. He responded that he had placed the ball there for his client to use later. Even if the Swiss ball was the personal property of the trainer, there was no reason for him, someone much larger and stronger than I, to physically pull the ball from my hands. He might have maintained a civil tone of voice and explained that they would be using it in a few minutes and asked me if I could wait, or he might have followed what is standard gym/health club etiquette throughout the world and offered to let me work in between their sets. I was then told to leave the area by both this trainer and his client.

I proceeded to the front desk and approached the General Manager, Gerry Gutierrez. I told Gerry that if I was going to lose the opportunity to use certain pieces of equipment during peak gym hours (which is the only time I can use the gym), then I expected to have a reduction in my dues. Gerry smirked and said “that’s not going to happen.” I then explained the incident that had just occurred with the personal trainer and asked why I was not allowed to use the blue Swiss ball, even though the trainer and his client were not using them at the time. He said that I was allowed to use the ball, as long as they were not. I asked him to please explain this to the trainer and Gerry and I and another gym employee walked over to the Personal Training area. The trainer again said that his client would be using the ball, but again the ball sat, unused, in a corner. Indeed the ball sat unused for much of the time that I observed the trainer and his client over the next 15 - 20 minutes. I insisted that I only needed to do two sets of twelve using the ball, and would be done quickly, but still was not allowed to have access to the ONE blue Swiss ball in the entire facility. Although Gerry and the other gym employee assured me that they would “take care” of the situation and speak to the trainer, no attempt was made to get any contact information from me in order to follow up and let me know what the outcome was. Gerry seemed extremely uncomfortable having to deal with someone who was complaining and refused to approach the trainer at that time, so as not to “interrupt his time with his client” even though my workout had already been disrupted and rendered incomplete by the arrogant attitude of your employee.

I would suggest that if this area is to remain an area for personal trainers and their clients that you remove the equipment that is stored there so that the other paying members of your facility have access to them and have the trainers be the ones to retrieve each piece of equipment as needed, rather than monopolizing all the gear stored in that area and/or roping off access to it.

Furthermore, it seems that you have begun a new policy of catering to one or two members who have chosen to buy personal training, while ignoring the needs and expectations of the other members whose dues make up the majority of your income. It is obvious to even a lay person with no training in business management that catering to the two people in the gym that evening that were with trainers versus the 60-some people filling up the rest of the facility is foolish. I’d advise you to check your revenue streams and reorganize your priorities accordingly. At the very least, some customer service training for all your employees is in order before another incident like this occurs and another member like me takes her business elsewhere."


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