"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gym policies................

I have repeatedly talked about the benefits of exercise, and the importance of both aerobic exercise and weight training (particularly important for strong muscles and strong bones.) For the last 9 years, I have been a member of the Lake Norman branch of the Greater Charlotte area YMCA.  They are the closest facility to my home that has a pool, and water aerobics is good for strengthening my back, and also for flexibility.  

As of last week, I am no longer a member of the Y............their corporate bureaucracy and incompetency  intolerable.  Below is the email I sent to cancel my membership:

On March 14, I called the Lake Norman branch of the YMCA and asked that my membership be put on hold because I was having surgery on March 17.  I was told I had to come to the Y in person to put my membership on hold.  I found out about the surgery late in the day on March 13, and I had workmen at my house ALL DAY on March 14.  I called in because it was not possible to come in that day.  When I was told I had to come in, I  decided to  just waste the two weeks of membership fees to save myself a hassle. By the way, I wasn't able to use the pool facilities for two weeks before that because I got a skin rash from one of the  Lake Norman Y's pool area's disgustingly moldy water noodles, so that's four weeks of wasted dues.  Yes, I reported it to the front desk, and I was given the customary corporate line about how "we will certainly look into it."

I was not able to use the gym for two weeks post surgery.  Last Friday, I re-broke the arm the arm that was operated on, I am now in a heavy cast, CANNOT DRIVE, and am not  having surgery until April 7.  Since the Y is so inflexible about putting a membership on hold, I decided to cut down on the amount of money I am wasting on dues and  I would just cancel my membership.  I called the corporate office, and (why am I not surprised) told that I have to go in person to my local branch to fill out the paperwork.  Before even allowing me to explain that I am not able to come in because of my injury, I was transferred to the Lake Norman branch.  Whoever I spoke to told me that I needed to call you between 10-2 and also email you at this address.  The person on the phone stressed that I need to do both, because apparently I have nothing else to do except jump through the YMCA corporate hoops.

I AM UNABLE TO COME INTO THE YMCA BRANCH AT THIS TIME.  I can't drive, and while I am blessed to have a number of people drive me while I am injured, they are busy driving me to doctor's appointments, the hospital and other NECESSARY appointments. This fiasco ( I find it astonishing that I am the first Y member to have an injury that prevents them from coming in to a branch to fill out corporate's precious paperwork) is simply not worth the unnecessary stress this has caused.  

I am cancelling my membership effective immediately.  I want the paperwork either mailed to me, or scanned and attached to a return email for my signature.  Please do not bother me with a telephone call, I have grown weary of the time wasted listening to the corporate pablum spit out by branch directors/administrators.  I clearly understand that the YMCA's mission is to make it so difficult for members to suspend/cancel their memberships that they will give up and just keep having the dues taken out of their bank accounts, but I live on a fixed income ... and cannot afford to pay for something I cannot use.


I sent the email to the membership coordinator, and the next morning I received a return email from her telling me she had cancelled my membership.  No paperwork for me to sign.....so all their bureaucratic run around was nonsense.  Despite my request not to be called........yep, Friday morning I received a call from Ben, the "executive" director of the branch.  It was corporate pablum, and a stress I did not need or want.  I tried to explain to him that I did not want to take the drastic step of cancelling my membership, I just wanted it put on hold while I was recuperating.  I had very much hoped to be back to gym workouts by the end of April at the latest. What a mess.  

The point of sharing this with you is that if you belong to a gym...........be damn sure of what their corporate policy policy is regarding suspension and/or cancellation of membership.  This has been an utter nightmare for me, and since I was never given the paperwork the Y insisted was so important, I have absolutely no proof (beyond the membership coordinator's email) that the membership really has been cancelled.  Most of you reading this blog will, at some point, need to take time out from the gym for medical reasons, and I would hate to have one of my readers go through a similar hassle.