One of the nice things about being owners (as opposed to employees) is that we don't have to mince words. If a salesperson won't take a polite "no" as an answer, we might say, "We're never going to use your product, so please stop calling." If a member has a request we can't accommodate and says, "But you're the owner - you can do anything you want," we have been known to say, "We can, but we're not going to," rather than something more politically correct. One employee so desperately needed to be fired that we actually said the words, "You're fired; get out now."
Call us rude. Actually, we're not. In fact, even though we spend a large percentage of our time answering (typically) redundant questions and fielding (mostly) unhelpful comments from our members that run from naïve to vaguely insulting, most of the time we have to resort to politically correct speech. It's a shame that we can't use our usual candor, though. Here's what we're thinking when we hear:
1. From the prospect or new member who has never exercised before: "Do you exercise regularly?"
If by "regularly," you mean at least one hour at a time, three to four days a week for the past 25 years, then gosh, I guess I do. I'm sorry that I don't resemble the bodybuilders you might see on TV or the fitness models on magazine covers, but I'm in a lot better shape than you and sort of hope that I'm a bit of a role model for you. Would it help if I took off my shirt?2. From the female member who is considering weight training: "I don't want to get too big."
Are there Russian shot putters in your family tree? Do you plan on making steroids a part of your training regime? We'll be lucky to get one set of 12 out of you with almost no resistance on most exercises for the foreseeable future. How about we worry about you getting in and out of a chair without making a groaning sound before we worry about your muscles bulging out of your clothes like The Hulk?3. From the male member who is embarrassed by having no 45-pound plates on his bar while bench pressing: "I want the big plates."
And I want to avoid a liability claim. If you were on the beach, there would be guys kicking sand in your face. Everybody wants the big plates, but let's start by not getting you killed.4. From the member who can't understand why they're not losing weight: "I'm here two hours a day, five days a week, and I kill myself, but I can't lose weight."
So, that box of Oreos that you eat every day when you leave here isn't a factor? 5. From the former member who is unhappy with our cancellation process: "I'm certainly not going to recommend your gym to anyone now."
We've had so many referrals from you in the past that we'll brace ourselves for that economic impact.Of course, if you are playing along at home, you know that our actual responses have to begin as follows:
1: "Regular exercise is a big part of my life."2. "Don't worry."3. "Let's see how we do with these."4. "Let's talk about what you're doing when you're not here."5. "I'm sorry you feel that way."
But once - just once - wouldn't it be fun to be honest?