We always try to remember that the most important things to our members are the little things. Years ago, we had three new treadmills delivered on the same day that one of our staffers thought it would be nice to put potpourri in the women's locker room. We never thought that 50 cents worth of potpourri could trump $15,000 worth of fitness equipment, but it did.
Just last week, we learned this lesson again. This time, it was tissues. Really.
We ran out of tissues. Now, there are certain things that we never allow ourselves to run out of. Toilet paper is number one on the list. In fact, we'd consider that Rule #1 of operating a fitness facility - never, ever run out of toilet paper.
But tissues? We ran out. Big deal, right? We figured we'd get them on our weekly visit to the local warehouse supply store. Naturally, we also could have picked up some at any supermarket or convenience store to hold us over, but…they're tissues. It's not even cold and flu season yet. Doesn't everyone just grab some toilet paper whenever they can't find a tissue?
Apparently, they don't. In the 36 hours it took us to make our weekly BJ's Wholesale Club run, the issue of the missing tissues took on a life of its own. "Are there any more tissues?" "Did you guys run out of tissues?" "I need a tissue - are there any?"
On Friday morning, we were carrying in the weekly supplies. "Did you get tissues?" asked an exasperated staff member. "Yes." "Oh, thank goodness," said a member with great relief who seemed otherwise lost in checking her e-mail on her phone.
Our childcare manager approached. "Do you know I met more members this week who don't have kids then I think I ever have," she said. "They were all coming into the babysitting room for my tissues."
Now that we've seen tissues rise to the level of mission-critical, we can worry a lot less about all of the new equipment - group cycling bikes, weight machines, treadmills - we'd like to bring in during 2012. Maybe we'll just upgrade to two-ply, or spring for the ones with aloe lotion.