Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Hypothetically speaking...

Say you were signing up to a gym membership which cost you £41.40 per week. It's expensive, but because you're a chubby little scamp in need of some exercise, you plump up the cash. 

 

Early morning and evening, the gym is packed to the rafters with sweaty people and you have to wait a while to get on the machines, which often stop the minute you get on them for no apparent reason. What's more, they soon bring in a system where instead of paying a weekly or monthly membership, you can pay as you go. They practically force this system upon you, claiming it's cheaper and a better deal because once you've used a certain amount of machines, it's free for the rest of the day.

 

After a while you start to question the pricing tariffs, which seem to vary by time of day and how far you travel on the machines. You decide to find out if paying to use the machines separately is actually cheaper for you than the full, normal membership. You call the helpline, only to find that the person on the other end of the phone is actually as confused as you are when it comes to the tariffs, daily cap rates and how much your exercise costs per day.

 

On the phone you specify the information they need to work out your daily rate, and in response you can hear the rustling of paper, the flipping of pages and the 'errr, ummm' of someone who doesn't actually know the answer. It doesn't fill you with confidence.

 

When the answer comes, punctuated with 'Err, oh actually, hang on...forget I said that, it's actually...' followed by more page turning and eventually: 'err, well, it's capped at £11.40 before 9.30, but because you're using the gym after that time as well, it then goes down, so your daily cap is actually £6.50, plus £3 for the session before 9.30, so that's...altogether...ooh wait, err, no yep that's right, I think, oh no, wait actually...', more page turning, a bit less clarity and hey presto, you are officially none the wiser.

 

One conclusion you may come to is that if that same system was applied to tube travel – say they called it "Oyster" - there would be a lot of very confused people out there, possibly paying more than they need to for their daily travel and just topping up when told. You'd thank god that you have the option to cancel the membership and find a different gym, instead of pouring money every week into a membership card that neither you or the people behind it understand the pricing behind.

 

Then you'd probably jack in the gym membership and buy a bike.

 

Humph.

 

Anyone else understand the Oyster card pricing system? Anyone? No? No? Never mind.

8 comments:

The Unbearable Banishment said...

On my recent trip to London I was convinced that it would be much cheaper for us to use Oyster Cards on the tube, so we shelled out the 3 pounds and bought one. I cannot recall the rational offered, but it sounded sane at the time.

Dump your gym. It sounds fishy to me.

BlackLOG said...

I like the fact that the Oyster card can be used to track you round, so reassuring that Big Brother knows where you are and where you have been. Helps when they need to send in the Boys in Blue to accidentally shoot you I guess..... I would love to join your Metaphorical Gym, sounds much better then the rubbish we use. Cannons BS has to be one of the worst run gyms in the world, sadly with no competition around they treat the members with a contempt that previously rich city bankers* used to be able to afford to pay ladies in PVC suits vast sums of money for ....

Sorry I seem to be in a cynical mood today.

* they probably still are rich just no longer bankers, having taken all the money and gone off to ruin another sector...

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

I'm one of those odd ones that has an Oyster but it's still a monthly travel card when all's said & done. So I know nowt of this `topping up' palaver. Just a hefty whack of £171.30 at the beginning of every month.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

unbearable - The 3 quid thing's a joke. I got mine for free, and I'm sure they gave them for free for a while before realising there was some profit to be hat.

blacklog - Yeah there is that scary thing that your journeys are tracked...I agree, it's a little weird. But then really, in a city where CCTV cameras can follow you down a whole road...does it matter?

moudly- thats what I'm trying to debate. £150+ every month just seems like a horrendous chunk to pay upfront, although I have a feeling it may be cheaper than what I'm paying at the moment. If only I could discover what that amount is!

Heartbreaker. Bodyshaker. said...

I have no idea how Oyster Pricing works. All I know is that I top it up at the start of the week and by the end there is nothing left. Damn you Boris Johnson!!!

weenie said...

That kind of gym membership is designed to make you lose weight in only one area - your purse!

Reluctant Blogger said...

Well, it all goes to show how out of touch I am. It's just too expensive. Just think how much wine you could buy instead. Dear me.

I could lend you a Brompton. Or the A bike. We have one of those too - completely unrideable but it folds really small.

pinkjellybaby said...

I thought it was just that you were charged for each individual journey, unless it came to more than the price of a daily travel card, in which case the most you pay is the price of said travel card

 

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