so today i went to have a look at that one gym i had picked from the several this town has to offer.
it was a good reminder that website impressions don't necessarily translate into the equivalent real-life impressions. the gym that had seemed the friendliest turned out to feel like the least friendly. 20 years ago i would have given up. today i went to another 4 gyms to check them out instead. yay for perseverance.
what went wrong at the "nanaimo athletic club", which was the only one that features a "safe harbour" pro-diversity and tolerance badge on their website? the receptionist went wrong. i don't think she read the website or the mission statement. she wasn't unfriendly per se, but she had apparently no clue about new customer service. she shoved some price lists under my nose, and a schedule, and i had to explicitly ask whether i could take a tour. she became patronizing and acted like i was stupid when i asked newbie questions -- and that after i had told her at the start that i knew nothing of gyms and had never been a member at one. her tour of the facilities was so quick i hardly had time to look at anything, and she sucked at presentation. like, she literally went "ellipticals, garbage can, drinking fountain, our first circuit..." -- ok, lady, i think i can identify those two in the middle on my own. and i kid you not, when i asked what a "circuit" was for, she said "you don't know? everyone who comes here knows about equipment. your trainer can teach you.". wow. when we were in the change room i asked whether the facility was scent-free, which elicited a defensive "well, we can't police that". that was pretty much it for me, any further questions stuck in my craw. she didn't show me the outdoor area. she didn't tell me about the jiu-jitsu and mma club. she also did not mention anything about a free trial (the website says they offer it).
the only good thing i learned was that i don't have to be a member of this gym to use one of the personal trainers for whom they had business cards; they're all independent. so if i end up liking the trainer i noticed on their website, i can go to another gym at times when i am not training with her.
it didn't help that the facilities didn't look as bright and friendly as in the photos; everything looked like it might well have been bright at some point, but that time had passed. the spin cycles were much too close together. maybe the change in ownership last year affected the place negatively. maybe the receptionist's unwelcoming attitude affected my vision negatively. and no, seryn, i did not walk in there with a bad attitude, i was primed to LIKE the place. i had been positive. i had even been a little excited -- i was about to do something about stalling my body's slow descent into decrepitude.
after that experience i was a little disspirited, and was gonna just go home and think about it. but what the hell, if my impressions of a place that looked good online were mistaken, maybe my impressions of a place that didn't look that great were also mistaken. fine. i decided i'd visit all local gyms. i am kinda proud of myself. interacting with strangers in person is not fun for me, and any negative experience makes me want to just stop it and go home. but i didn't throw in the towel.
of course i didn't have their addresses with me, and my phone is bricked. reminder to self: get new cell phone ASAP. apparently one result of the widespread use of cellphones is that public pay phones are becoming rare. there were none in the redesigned (made smaller) port place mall. the rogers rep (whom better to ask for a landline phone than a cellphone company rep, *snrk*) sent me to the wharf. there were two phone booths, but neither had a phone book. yeah, that's helpful. they were not ripped out, no, there was apparently not even a provision for them. fine. this day was so not going my way. but by now i had my stubborn on. fortunately, the guy manning the wharfinger's office had a phone book and lent it to me.
i scribbled down the addresses and started the trek. ( click for the continuing saga, which -- surprise! -- becomes steadily more positive )
ah, gotta go sleep. more later.