Gym Stories: Part VII

Welcome to Gymtime Stories: Part VII of a CCXIII part series.

Part VII: Incentive Plans

At my new gym, they advertise an incentive plan. You know those things, right? They say things like ‘refer a friend, you both save $50’, or ‘rate us on Yelp, get a coupon for coffee’.

Well, the one at the West Seattle Gym is ‘Tell your friends! Each one you have sign up, you BOTH receive $10’.


Really? That’s it? I would rather keep this place a secret than receive $10 for bringing in an addition person to hog more equipment. And besides, isn’t this YOUR job to bring in new people, not mine? If you want me working for you, I need mroe than $10.

Oddly enough, this is not the worst incentive program I have seen. At my old gym, the 24-Hour Fitness in downtown Seattle, possibly the most depressing gym I’ve ever been to, they had an incentive program to top them all:

‘Refer 10 friends, get a free t-shirt’.

No lie. That was the incentive.

First off, if I could refer 10 people for them, they should hire me on the spot. They have people all over the place whose sole job it is to trap people into year-long contracts. And I can guarantee those people do not bring in 10 new people in a week. And that is their job! 8 hours a day, calling people, pestering people on the street, etc. But apparently that is not the best way to go for the people at 24 Hour: ‘Let’s get the customers to the heavy lifting. I am sure that will work’.

But what is even stupider is that the reward for bringing in 10 people is……..a shirt. Enlisting that many people probably brings in around $2000 worth of profit. And the reward……a shirt. And it’s not even like a good shirt. It says ‘24-Hr Fitness’ on it in like black Helvica over the 24-Hr logo. Classy. Finally, a shirt worthy enough to be married in. Yeah…..what a piece of garbage.

These gyms have such a high opinion of themselves; they feel like the gym just simply sells itself and all it takes is the mere mention of signing up to your friends for them to run to the door. Please.

Message to gyms; stop relying on the customer to do your dirty work. Maybe I’ll be more on board if there is a real profit-sharing program where we can both enjoy the fruits of my labor. But until then, keep your $10, keep your discounts, and definitely keep your stupid shirt.