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High Pressure, Low Satisfaction

by Patty

My job was selling memberships for a new Bally Total Fitness gym that was starting up. It was just part time and I didn't stay long enough to get any benefits, which at that time weren't exactly great anyway. My salary was based on commission from sales, and needless to say, I earned very little.

My problem was the amount of pressure we were supposed to put on these potential customers and the glowing promises of things I found out weren't really there. A family member of mine is a personal trainer and we went to see this gym using her practiced eyes. The problems were overselling the space available and having terrible overuse and overcrowding and the really small number of trainers available.

I had a membership myself and as a customer found that the wait for a personal trainer consult could take weeks. I needed rehab from an orthopedic injury and really needed a professional to help me decide what things were appropriate and what was not. I felt my time was being wasted.

As sales people, we were told to tell people that the gym was "huge" and there would be plenty of staff and equipment whatever time you used or whatever limited plan you selected. We were also pretty much expected to make them feel like idiots for not taking the "limited time" special membership deal. This had a low monthly rate but a really high initiation fee, one that was hard to get back if not satisfied. The limited plans were mostly hours that would not work for working people.

We were expected to act as if every member had the services of a personal trainer when it just wasn't so. I heard some sales people make health claims that verged on practicing medicine and supervisors never told them to tone it down.

Additional fees for personal trainers were never to be mentioned, which I suspect did not help the relationship later.

Maybe I'm not suited for phone sales, but this job was very unpleasant and I got the feeling Bally Total Fitness was just a little sleazy. My family member who is a trainer just snorts when I ask if she would work at a Bally, because the ones here apparently have a bad rep among trainers and always are hiring because the turnover is so high.

Bally may be very different in other locations, but this is simply my reaction, and that of my kin. She says a personal trainer here would go to Bally's only as a last resort.

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