Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Frustrated and Confused - Just a Day in the Life

It doesn't matter where you live, life can get frustrating.  But add in a language in which you are not fluent and that frustration can skyrocket.  Take today - I went to the gym with the intention of just doing a cardio run (which ended up being 4.5 miles, not bad).  My trainer came by to say hello and in our short, mostly English with some Spanish, conversation he mentioned that I needed to pay for my sessions with him for October. 

Now to my knowledge, and yes, that knowledge is limited because the information had been given initially in Spanish, I had 2 free sessions with my trainer that I was using in October and then would start the "real" ones in November.  Apparently that was not the case and he went up with me to the front desk where I received discounted sessions with him that I needed to pay for.  I didn't have my credit card on me (all I had was my keys, ipod and water bottle) and said I'd be back shortly to take care of it.

Fast forward 45 minutes and I'm back at the gym - ready to pay my 66 euros for my 2 sessions and while I'm at it, renew my membership which is up in December.  It took me a while to explain to the guy at reception that I needed to renew - last I checked socio was membership but maybe I'm wrong.  He spoke a tiny bit of English and I thought we were on the right track.  But then a woman showed up and he started to ask her rapid fire questions that I couldn't understand. 

She asks me how much I would like to pay for my membership... really, that's an option??  Kind of like you get what you pay for with insurance?  Isn't there some company out there advertising that for insurance?  Anyways, I tell her that right now I'm paying about 55 euros per month (which by the way, is about double what I paid for my membership in the States) and get to use the gym from 7-11 M-F.  Memberships here are based on your age and the time you go.  So I use the morning with extended hours and only on the weekdays.  That information when I signed up last year put me at 55 euros more or less, mas o menos.  Now that doesn't mean I want to pay 55 euros per month for my membership but looking back at the conversation I think that's what she thought (I get this mainly because when I left the gym I saw a sign saying sign up now staring at 24 euros per month). 

So she explains in Spanish (I am in Spain afterall) and does a bunch of math on a scrap piece of paper - first it was 680 minus around 138 euros which came out to 500 something euros.  I have absolutely no idea what the 138 euros was and I did not pay the 500 something euros so I really have no idea what that was for.  She said something about instead of paying 660 like before, I should pay 680 and I can get the Prestige Membership which is good at all of the DiR gyms in the city and I "thought" she said I could use with a friend or relative as well.  That kind of got me excited - the fact that I could change my membership for 20 euros essentially from one year to the next AND be able to use it WITH someone at ANY location, well, sure, sign me up.

But of course, that is not what she said.  Yes, I can go to any of the other locations but NO I cannot bring someone with me to use the card or hand off the card to Josh in the AM and have him go and then I can go.  What she apparently said was that I can transfer the membership to someone else.  So if I no longer want to be a part of DiR, I can give the membership to Josh and I will get some money back.  Oh and I can go any day of the week at any time of the day which I suppose would be a plus IF I ever went to the gym at any time other than 8AM.  But I don't - I'm a morning gym person - if I don't go first thing, I don't go. 

Let's recap.  So in the end, I get to use the gym any day or any time - which I'm unlikely to use.  I cannot bring a friend with me but I can give my membership to a friend someday if I want.  I paid 20 more euros than I paid last year and did not get any free months like I did the last time.  Yeah, I'm feeling screwed right about now.  I don't think they did it intentionally - they really don't seem slick like that - but I think they really thought this would be a good fit for me since I get more "benefits" for only 20 more euros than I paid before.  But what I'd really like is to pay the 24 euros per month and use the gym M-F from 7-9 or 7-11.  At least they gave me a free backpack and a free book (in Spanish of course)...

Off to Spanish class shortly and boy do I need it!!!!


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