Magazine article CRM Magazine

Your Savings Are My Services: Think about What You're Giving off When You're Giving in to Pressure

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Your Savings Are My Services: Think about What You're Giving off When You're Giving in to Pressure

Article excerpt

SO, WE'VE PRETTY FIRMLY established by now that there's a recession, right? Good--don't need to cover that here. And, because of this recession, individuals and companies alike are tightening their belts, doing what they feel is necessary to survive a tough economy and maybe even come out of it stronger. Fine, got it. I shouldn't be surprised at any measure taken in the name of financial hardship. (I am surprised that I fell off the wagon pretty hard, clothing-wise--a decidedly non-hardship measure; see my August 2008 column for why.)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Yet surprise manages to surprise me anyway. My local gym--I'm not going to name this particular New York sports club, other than to mention that it's a chain you might also find in Boston or San Francisco--has instituted a couple of changes recently that don't strike me as all that clever, even if they help bring in a few bucks in the short term.

First, and less shocking, is a recent reduction in hours. Our location now closes early on Fridays (which, to translate for any non--New Yorkers, means 10 p.m.), and really early (5 p.m.) on weekends. That's understandable, except (a) members aren't getting back a prorated amount of their dues to reflect the reduced service, despite the fact that the savings in salaries, utilities, and insurance should more than make up for the refund; and (b) one of the reasons I joined this particular gym was its hours, so that I could work late and still work out, or take care of business on weekends before getting all sweaty. (There's one other unfair factor: a clause that says I can't cancel the contract penalty-free unless I move at least 25 miles from the chain's nearest location.)

The second change is more appalling, considering that health clubs are supposed to promote health. My gym, bastion of fitness that it is, has started letting other businesses sell products on the premises. …

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