In common with millions of fellow Brits, my New Year sparked a whole raft of New Year’s Resolutions, with “get fit” right at the top of the list. No doubt I wasn’t alone, then, once the hangover had abated on 2nd January, in reaching for the phone and enquiring about membership at the local branch of a well-known leisure chain. Yet even as I did so, my overriding feeling was dread. Not at the thought of getting fit, but because the thought of my forthcoming dealings with the membership salesman was almost more than I could stomach.
Anyone who has been through something similar will recognise these very compelling reasons why gym salesmen should be consigned to Room 101, with a locker full of smelly socks for company.
- When I phone for information, that’s what I’m looking for. Not a 10-minute monologue about how I’ve called the right place. I know that – you’re a gym, not a car wash, right?
- If I don’t answer when you call me back to arrange a visit it’s because I a) have decided I don’t want to arrange a visit, b) can’t talk right now or c) need to find the valium before I pick up and talk to you. Either way, don’t put me on five-minute auto recall and fill up my voicemail with your chirpy sycophantic messages.
- When I arrive for my appointment to look around there’s no need to pretend I’m the most interesting / important / minted prospective client you’ve ever had. I’m a raddled mum of two in a rush. Let’s just get this over with so you can scuttle back to your mirror and I can scuttle off to the treadmill.
- Try for just a moment to listen as well as talk. If you want to know what I’m looking to get out of my membership, why not wait for me to answer the question instead of answering it for me?
- Strange as it may seem, I’m not really interested in how long you spent on the kettle bells this morning.
- When I ask you something (else) you don’t know the answer to, don’t tell me you’re glad I asked that question – I didn’t ask it to please you, I just want to know the answer.
- Don’t bother asking what I did at the weekend – I was drunk and I can’t remember. Why else would I be resolving to give up wine and get fit?
- Don’t bother asking what I’m doing this weekend. Duh… going to the gym?
- For the last time, can you stop fluffing around the figures and just tell me how much the bloody thing’s going to cost? I’ve said I’ll sign up, I know it’s going to hurt – but not half as much as spending another moment in your company.
Photo: Greg Miller