On Being A Cretin
With life taking several turns over the last year, I’d given up a bit on going to the gym. OK, I’d given up on it a lot. So I’d put my membership on hiatus, paying a small maintenance fee rather than the full monthly amount. (Because while I’m definitely an idiot, as will be shown shortly, I’m not a complete idiot) It meant I wouldn’t have to pay a re-joining fee etc., and could reactivate things really easily once I was back to being in the mood for it.
Last month, I decided I wanted to get back to going. Again, a number of reasons, but mainly just realising I wanted to do more, as well as some preparation for my idiot event in September – of which more later.
So I went to the PureGym website, logged in, and reactivated my membership. Oddly, I had to pay a joining fee again, but I thought I’d just not read the terms and conditions properly, and it’s not a huge amount, so there we go. The proper payment comes out of my bank about a week later, and all good. Job done, I’m going back to the gym from June 1st.
Come June 1st, I look at my bank account, and there’s that maintenance charge again. Weird. Maybe it’s connected to that billing cock-up where I paid a joining fee.
So I call PureGym, to try and find what’s going on. They tell me that the Direct Debit reference I’ve given them isn’t connecting to any of their records, so they’ll need more information from the bank, to know where that DD started, where it’s going etc. Annoying, but indicative that a significant cock-up has occurred.
I ring the bank, and speak to someone there. Let’s cancel that under the DD guarantee, here’s the details, it’s a Direct Debit for The Gym… And a light goes on in my head. I’m a cretin.
For whatever reason, I’ve got “PureGym” in my head as the one I’m going to. (And it’s one I was a member of, in two different locations) Only that’s not the one I’m using. I’m using “The Gym”, and that’s where the maintenance payment’s come from. So I’ve re-joined a gym I don’t want, and not restarted the membership of the gym I do want. For fuck’s sake.
The lady at the bank (having laughed) reinstated the DD for the Gym, and re-paid the money to them that’d gone out that day. Then I went back to PureGym, explained that I’m a complete idiot, what had happened, and asked if it was possible to get my money and joining fee back from them. No problem if not, we’d class it as an idiot tax, but if possible it’d be great.
And they did. It’s not a standard thing, but I’d not used the gym, it was still on the first full day of “membership”, and – I suspect most importantly – I’d admitted it was entirely my fault, and that I’m a moron. (It also made them laugh, which is fine)
All told, I got lucky in many ways. I’m lucky that (in general) my bank are pretty good on this stuff. I’m lucky that both gyms in question are month-to-month ones rather than contracts. I’m lucky that the people in both cases were nice, and obviously far more used to people shouting and swearing, and making out it’s all Their fault.
I’ve not lost anything (except some self-respect) and it’s all worked out. But man alive, do I feel like an absolute cretin.