Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I can also tell the truth (even though it may hurt)

My gym membership is about to expire and I seriously cannot wait. I’m going to join a new gym. A nicer gym. A fancier place. Somewhere where exercising doesn’t feel like a punishment.

I’m not the only one who has noticed that my card is up for renewal. Last night when I went inside I was greeted by no eye-contact, no smile and no “hello!” by the receptionist. Then he scanned my card, realized, and ran after me:

-Hello, hello, HELLO!

(I had to stop myself from saying “my name is not hello!” Could have come across as too rude.)


-Oh, hello! Your gym card will soon expire. Would you like to renew it?

Oh, here we go! Eye contact! Smile! Politeness!

-No, I don’t.

-No?! Uncertain giggle. Eh… just like that, no?

-Yes. Definitely a no!

-Eh… why?

-Why?! Oh…. well...

For a moment I stopped short. Should I tell him the truth? Should I say that I don’t want to go there anymore because:

1. The gym opens at 6.30 am which is way too late for a gym when you start working early.

2. That the gym staff seem to enjoy keeping you outside the gym until 6.35am, just to piss you off.

3. That all of the receptionists are insanely rude! They never greet you with a hello, they never look you in the eye. Once they threw my gym card at me.

4. That you need to rent a towel… at 15 rmb!! Most places give you towels for free.

5. That they quite often say: “we don’t have any towels” and then you have to nag for 15 min before they finally give you one (WTF?!).

6. That women in the changing room uses the hairdryers for drying everything but their head hair.

7. That there are cockroaches in the showers.

8. That there are sometimes orange peal in the shower.

9. That 5 out of 10 treadmills are out of service.

10. That there is no aircon during summer and so hot that you feel as if you’re going to explode when you run.

11. That the gym staff laugh at you when you try to ask them for something.

12. That it’s dirty.

13. That the music is so loud during spinning sessions that if you don’t wear earplugs you might run the risk of getting tinnitus.

Then I decided to put it all in one, simple sentence:

-Well, this place sucks.

-Eh… hehe, eh… haha… OK!

-Yeah. This place sucks! So no, I won’t renew my membership. Thank you!

With the risk of sounding a bit bitter, I have to say that that felt good. Farewell, stinky ol gym. I deserve better.


Anonymous said...

That's hilarious! :) Sometimes it's such a relief to tell the truth. It makes life so much simpler.

BTW, you seem to have a very interesting life so I started following your blog. I look forward to visiting Sweden and living in Australia in the next few years.

Sara said...

Very good that you said exactly what you think! If Chinese people keep telling us truths we don't want to hear, then we should have the same right :)

Tom said...

I like the post.

As a Chinese living in Canada for over 10 years, I can understand totally what you had experienced.

There are a lot of cross culture differences going on here. For example, it is not common for a chinese to look into your eyes when he talks with you. And also, depending on how they are being trained, they may not even realize saying nothing, no greeting every morning is rude at all. It actually shocked me when someone on the road, who was totally stranger saying hello to me when I first arrived in Canada.

I wish the manager/owner of that gym can read your post and make some improvements if he really care... After all, their level of service and lack of understanding of cross culture makes them the loser in the market, sooner or later.

mantse said...

you are so nice to be there for one year....

Tom said...

I like this post.

As a chinese living in Canada for over 10 years, I totally understand what this feels like.

There are quite a few culture differences going on here. For example, it is not common for a Chinese to look at your eyes when he talks to you, espcially a foreigner; Also depending on the training, they may not even realize to say nothing, or no greeting to you every morning is rude at all. In their daily encouter of billions others, they have formed unconcious mindset that these politeness on the surface may be extra...

However, I do hope the owner or manger of this gym can read this post and make some improvement. After all, it is his business suffering if he can not catch up with this cross culture awareness.

Unknown said...

Getting it off your chest was good! Perhaps things will improve in the gym.

Anonymous said...

they had all the opportunities to do things right and keep their word on it but they don't.

i'm glad you gave them the taste of your medicine. karma rules sometimes

flyingfish said...

15 rmb for a bloody TOWEL?! What planet are they on? Good for you for a) telling them off and b) recognizing that you deserve better!

WoAi said...

Jonna, my gym membership expires soon as well. I'm at California Fitness. Would you mind telling me which gym you go to so I can avoid it? If you're shy just email me, cheers!

Anonymous said...

You have changed, less happy and more judgmental. You need to move on and move out of China.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Anonymous -u r right. I'm working on my attitude. I think it was extra hard to come back to China after my holiday in OZ. Everything was so different over there.. I guess I just have to get back to the China mode, and then things will go back to normal. I used to love being here -as I hope u remember. Right now not so much. But gimme a week or so. I'll try to get rid of the negative and back into the positive. One cannot just pack up and go as soon as there's a bump on the road, then I wouldn't be able to live anywhere. So don't be too judgmental on me. I'll be fine. Soonish.

WoAi said...

This is normal after a trip away, it definitely gets better I promise you! It's post holiday blues (which you will get no matter where you live) combined with specific China annoyances.

TG said...

Stuff like that would rarely happen in Taiwan, because people are really polite. I also have the feeling that you won't stay too long in China, the negative things will start to outweigh the positive ones, I guess. Like someone said, you do sound different. Not sure, if 1 week will be enough to put you back in happy mood. But anyway, wish you good luck. Maybe it's the winter :)

Anonymous said...

If it sucks so much how did you end up at that gym in the first place? 

Jonna Wibelius said...

Anonymous- good question! Well, for starters I used to go there back in 2007, and then it was OK. So I didn't think it would have "fallen apart" so much when I joined again in 2010. Then, it was cheap. So obviously it is my own fault. Anyways, I cannot WAIT to go to join a new place! I have def learned my lesson: u get what u pay for. This time, I am willing to pay some extra in order to get something better!