Thursday, August 11, 2005

The price of Good health

aka, How to get totally rorted by the system

It seemd like a good idea. Virtuous even. With the hitherto unknown luxury of time on my side (granted to me, however reluctantly, by the absence of my time-waster-in-chief boyf) I decided to get my fat arse into shape by going to the gym, a habit that has been truely sidelined by convivial living in a happily pseudo-connubial home.
Since I am based at a University, and university campuses always have a gym, the choice was obvious. I'm only here for another 3.5 months, so a couple of monthly memberships would do it just fine, I thought. It went something like this:

They don't do memberships, certainly not monthly memberships.
There is however something called a sports card that is like a membership, kinda. Pay £3 per month for the card, and pay for what you use at a discounted rate, pay £25 for the card and get unlimited free use off-peak, pay £31 and get unlimited free use. £31 = $74 a month. Bloody hell.
And it's a minimum 3 months. $222.
Right. Okay. Fine. Grand scheme of things, I can afford it, and it will saving me wasting 10 times that at the pub. Need gym to prepare for winter of stodgy English food.
Ah, don't take cash. Have to pay first installment by credit card. (Which would be fine if some bitch hadn't stolen my wallet two weeks ago, the day before i flew to england.) Don't have credit card yet. It will come soon...
Ah, subsequent intallments must be by direct debit. Don't have UK bank account. What do you mean you don't take cash!!! Don't make it easy, do you? Right...

I leave, utterly frustrated, with a fistful of brocheurs that are uninformative and unhelpful. Phone flatmate. Start with the good news "I got all those tickets, no problem. No, no hurry with paying me back. Hey listen, could you do me a favour?" Flatmate agrees to link membership to her credit card and her bank account. Love flatmate.
That night, filling out form with said flatmate. £31 a month, plus a £5 start up fee. $74 a month and they want to charge an extra $12 for the privillege of having a swipe card! Urgh - fine, right, grand scheme of things, okay ...
Go in the following day to the gym, forms in hand.
Forms being processed. They charge pro rata, so it being 10th of month will only charge £27.42 for August. Membership therefore runs out on 31st October, full month before I leave. Raises possible necessity of having to buy extra full month at end to avoid month of winter podge development. Hm, damn, but hurrah am finally member of gym with swipe card.

"Have you done your induction yet?"
????? Induction is apparently the showing around of equipment etc required by OH&S type regulations. Can't use gym until induction complete. Understandable...
Ten sodding pounds to do the induction this evening, at 8 o'clock?!?!?!? Or only six sodding pounds if you do it doing the day, but the next available slot isn't til Friday.
Right! Having paid $12 for the right to join, am paying $2.45 a day for a gym membership that I can't use for two days until I have paid another $14.50 for them to fulfill their safety requirements!

I would have gone to the pub to drown my sorrows in beer and peanuts and toasted cheese sandwiches, but i couldn't afford it.

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