Tuesday, September 30, 2003


The sprawling behemoth Ballys that's not too far from Sean and I's humble abode has been bought out. There's a new gym in town, it appears. "Work Out World" has papered the community ticker-tape parade style with leaflets advertising their bargain starter dues for the first 200, 500, 1000 new enrollees.

Now, if you live in the Boston area, you're well aware that a "bargain" gym charges a bare minimum of $60 a month, and that's for the one with a single Popeye-style dumbbell and a neglected 1984 Exercycle. So, this new place advertising memberships for a mere fraction of that and touting rows and rows of brand-spankin' new equipment caught our eye. We decided to check it out last night, and set out with full intention of joining the gym.

After missing what seemed to be the turn for the parking lot, we made the next turn and parked on the roof of an office building. We could just take the stairwell down to the gym, right?
"Hel-LO!!!" an impossibly peppy male voice greeted us. "Are you guys looking for Work Out World?!?"

He was clad in a purple golf shirt and shorts and was speeding toward us as though his life depended on it., one hand extended in a plea for a handshake. After being assured that yes, we were indeed in search of Work Out World, he led us inside. Not inside the gym, but inside a little office trailer--the kind you'd find at a junkyard or tow lot. Inside, other peppy purple people roamed about, waving paperwork amidst flashing gleams of white teeth. A TV played a neverending stream of public access cable-style commercials for other Work Out World centers.

Derek (Was that his name, hon? Derek?) rolled some cheap chairs over, invited us to have a seat, and began his spiel. I could not help but notice that Derek had clearly missed his calling as a game show host from the year 1985 (the year after the aforementioned Exercycle was produced, no less). He had this sharp, ratlike presence and oversprayed Joe Isuzu hair. I kept envisioning him furtively nibbling on a square of cheese and was unable to stop giggling.

Derek used his little rat hands to gesture at pictures on the wall of the equipment we would be able to see, and use, in the future. When they actually moved into the gym. "See--we have over 80 of 'X' model butt-buster!" he exclaimed proudly.

"Wow." Sean replied dutifully, feigning interest in the pictures of equipment.

At this, Derek let out a whoop. A genuine whoop. "Now you've earned a t-shirt!!!" he congratulated, tossing a Fruit of the Loom with a very pretty turquoise and purple "WOW" logo at Sean. "When we 'wow' YOU" (he looked pointedly at me), "YOU'LL get a t-shirt, too!!!"

At this point, I made it my mission to NOT say "wow". Ever. Under any circumstance. God, Jesus, Buddha, and Jimi Hendrix could have walked into the place together and I would have remained sternly nonplussed.

Derek went on. And on. And on. Giving us the hard sell. I wanted desperately to interrupt him and blurt out "We want to join the gym!", like Chandler in that episode of 'Friends'. Except he was trying to quit the gym. And we wanted to join. But I digress. My point is that he was wasting his cute little jokes on people who already wanted to be sold. There was no need to mention how they limited their "dumbbells" to 90 pounds, to "Keep out the other dumbbells!" (snort!) Please. Please. For the love of god, stop writing your fancy figures on the paper and telling us how much we're saving. We want to join the gym. Just give us your bottom line.

Sean finally asked, upon receiving the "bottom line", if the price was good for tomorrow, too; to give us a chance to think it over. Of course, complicated questions like this require the input of the sales manager, who was called in for his opinion.
"Yeah, I'm sure it'll be good tomorrow. I doubt we'll have that many people join between now and then...but..."
At this, Greasy Sales Manager Guy produced an application from his high-tech manila file. "This couple changed their minds for some reason. He's leaving or something. If you want, you can take their place and get the $89 initiation fee instead."

So, finally, the damn bottom bottom line. Of course. We'll take it. I'm sure the "other couple" will be very happy wherever they are "moving" to. We signed up, although the actual gym won't exist till November.

Greasy Sales Manager Guy even insisted that I get a t-shirt. Lucky me.

No comments: