Thursday, March 20, 2014

LA Fitness Bought my Gym = An Epic Mess

It’s been about two months since LA Fitness bought my gym. It has amazed me how quickly they have run it into the ground.

About a week before LA Fitness bought the gym, I found out from my trainer that the gym was being sold to LA Fitness. They had a location about five blocks from my gym but I was told that location was closing and everyone would be coming over to this gym. A couple of days before the sale I was also told by my spinning instructor that LA Fitness was taking over. A couple of the people I regularly talk with at the gym knew about it too.

The official announcement of the change over came in the form of an e-mail to all the members the day before it happened. Here’s the small problem with that. I’m a member and I never got the e-mail. I have to assume that this happened to other people as well. 
But of course there is a way around that. That is when people come for the very first time after the sale they are informed about what’s happened. Maybe say something along the lines of did you get the e-mail about LA Fitness taking over the gym. Do you have any questions?

Here’s the reception I got. I came in and was told that the next time I would be getting an LA Fitness membership card. That’s it. Not even do you have any questions. I did my work out and on my way out asked a couple of questions. They were will I be paying the same amount for my membership. I was told for the time being yes the same price. But in a couple of months I would pay a $99 initiation fee and then my monthly membership price would drop. (Two months in I’m still waiting for this to happen.) I asked about the training sessions I had just bought and if I would still be training with my trainer. The response was that everyone was going to be offered a position. More on that later.

The next time I went in I got my new membership card. I again asked about the training sessions. I was asked who my trainer was. I told them. He consulted a list and said I don’t see his name on it. But he added that not all the trainers had responded. I was then told to call back in a couple of days. As I left, I thought maybe instead of me calling you, you should take my name and number and call me.

Saturday I went to take my TRX class. There was no class because there was no teacher. The only way we found that out was by going to the front desk and asking about it. Seems to me the thing to have done was post a sign saying the class was cancelled.

Now back to the we offered everyone a position. I found out that they indeed offered everyone a position but at much lower pay. So saying they offered a position to everyone was disingenuous to say the least. They knew that most people were going to leave. As one guy at the gym said to me, who gone through a similar situation once, they fired all the personal trainers so they could bring in people that cost less. Which brings me to the personal trainers out of seven trainers that I know of only one is still there.

Not the best of starts as far as I’m concerned but it kept getting better.

Many of showers in the men’s locker room stopped working. Normally there are six regular showers and one that’s a walk in for a handicapped person. Suddenly only two were working correctly and that caused lines for showers. One guy told me he waited almost ten minutes before he got to take one. We were told that they were going to be fixed. In fact the front desk guy came into the locker room and said that Thursday night plumbers would be in to fix the shower. They would work over night and everything would be up and ready by Friday morning. One small problem with that was that Thursday was the day we were going to get one of our many snow storms of the seasons.

It ended up that the work was not done that day but not because of the weather. Turns out the contractor needed some sort of a permit in order to do the  plumbing work. A permit it had failed to get. Finally after about three weeks the showers got fixed.

Here are a few other odds and ends that haven’t gone right:

  • They switched out the wipes used for wiping down equipment. The new ones dry out so quickly that you have to pull four or five out before one is actually wet. I noticed today that they’ve changed to different ones.
  • Keeping towels available for showers has been problematic but they are improving on that.
  • The weight area is more and more messy each day. Weights are not replaced on the racks. Yes members can be blamed for this (I don’t remember this happening before the LA Fitness people showed up), but management should be putting them back too.
  • They ran out of tissue this morning as in there was none to be found in the entire gym.
  • The music stopped working this morning. Again in the entire gym. So my spinning class had no music this morning.
  • There is also a smell that wasn’t in the gym before. I’m told it is particularly bad in the women’s locker room.

I can go on but I think you get the idea.

I’m going to keep going for awhile to see if the price of the membership goes down as was promised (I’m not holding my breath on this one). Then I’m going to see what happens. I’m just not impressed in any way or fashion on what LA Fitness has done or how it’s treated the members.

If the goal was a smooth transition from my old gym to LA Fitness, then LA Fitness has failed miserably. However, if the idea was to piss off as many members as possible, they’re doing a great job.

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