Gym membership and toothpaste

Has anyone tried to cancel a gym membership lately?  My gosh!  What an ordeal!  It reminds me of the friends episode where Chandler is afraid to cancel so Ross goes with him to provide moral support… and Ross ends up joining the gym rather than Chandler cancelling his membership.  They definitely try their best to keep you.  The worst part is that I knew my cancellation process would be like this because my gym is one of those ultra cheap gyms that have little to use by putting the pressure on to try to keep you.  I tried cancelling online, but when I clicked on the ‘cancel membership’ link it guided me to call one of the gym representatives since they ‘might be options for keeping my membership active’. Ah.  How nice.  Except I didn’t want that.  I just wanted to CANCEL.  So I tried calling.  I was on hold for 15 minutes.  And every 30 seconds they interrupted the terrible grating ‘on hold’ music by an automated voice saying very insincerely how important my call was and that I could choose to remain on the line or I could email the club.  I was starting to get the feeling that they didn’t actually have anyone answering the phones and that the idea was to keep you on hold until that ’emailing the club’ option started to sound too good to pass up and you gave up on the idea of calling.  When someone finally came on the phone and muttered something unintelligible I was thrilled.

“Hi!  I want to cancel my membership.”

<mumble, mumble> “Sorry to hear that but I can help you with that.  Why are you cancelling?”

“I’m moving.”

“Where?”

“That’s not your business.”

“I only ask because if there’s another one of our clubs nearby we can give you a discount on freezing your membership during your move and then reactivate it at the new club afterwards.  Would you like to take advantage of this option?”

“No.”

“Would you confirm the address we have on file?”

“Yes.”  <I gave her the address.>

“Is this your old or new address?”

“Old.”

“Can I have your new address?”

“No.”

<Dead silence.>

“Just keep my current address on file.  I’m having everything forwarded.”

“Ah!  Ok.  Good.  Um.  That way if we have to send you… anything.  Documents, or… or, anything.  We can.  So, good.”  (Just for the record, they have never sent me ‘documents’ or promotional brochures or anything else during my entire year and a half membership.)

“Mmm hmm.”

This back and forth banter went on for awhile, but I didn’t really care because I was at work working and I mostly let her talk and just inserted a ‘No’ when it seemed appropriate.  It’s a hard balance.  I appreciate the fact that her job is to make me want to stay, but I just wish there were a little more respect for the fact that if I call to cancel my membership, I probably really want to cancel it.

On a totally different note, I had a dentist appointment a couple weeks ago, and they sent me home with the standard little ‘care package’ (a miniature tube of toothpaste, about a yard of floss, and a new toothbrush).  It suddenly struck me that this was odd.  We don’t go to the doctor and get a mini bottle of aspirin or go to the eye doctor and get a little eyeglass cleaning kit.  What does a dentist’s gift of a tooth care kit imply?  Here are some possibilities I thought of.

1.  Your dentist assumes that you have absolutely no dental hygiene.   You are unlikely to ever brush or floss, so your dentist is removing all possible obstacles from your development of a tooth care routine by giving you a week’s worth of tooth care products.  Hopefully by the time these run out you have developed a habit of brushing and flossing that will convince you of the error of your previous unclean ways and will propel you to the nearest drugstore to buy your own products.

2.  Your dentist is charging you (and/or your insurance company) SO MUCH to sit in the dental chair and get your teeth cleaned that they feel bad.  Really bad.  So bad that they’re giving you free products.  A new toothbrush isn’t much, but they’re a dental office.  Do you really think they have a lot of cool swag to offer up?  There’s nothing in their waiting rooms except for stacks of dixie cups next to a water cooler.

3.  Long ago and far away, a single lone dentist tried to get more patients by advertising free tooth care products.  It was only after you got to the appointment that you discovered they were doll-sized containers rather than full size.  However, once that dentist started his free promo (Come here and get your teeth cleaned… and you’ll never have to buy your own toothpaste again!  And then below it in tiny print if you have one tooth and use the toothpaste VERY sparingly and use approximately a millimeter of floss per flossing session), then all dentists had to offer the same promo or no one would feel like they were a ‘good deal’.  Why would I go to that dentist?  I would still have to buy my own toothpaste.  And then it got to the point where no dentist worth his salt didn’t give free tooth care products.

4.  It’s all about MONEY!  Dentists get money from Crest, OralB, and Glide to give you those free products.  The idea is that you’ll get to the drugstore to buy your own products and get confused and panicked by all the options.  Oh my gosh… there are over 254 varieties of toothpaste here… what do I do?  I don’t know how to pick… and I can’t read all these labels!  I’m starting to short-circuit!  I’m going to freak out and have a panic attack right here in Walgreens!  Oh… wait a minute!  Wait a minute!  There’s that friendly blue tube… I’ve seen that tube before!  I have that at home already.  That’s probably good.  My dentist gave it to me.  Plus it’s minty.  I’ll go with that one.

5.  All of the above.

Those were the possibilities I came up with.  Does anyone else have more insight into the minds of dentists than I do?  🙂

Hope everyone is having a great week!

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