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Thursday, December 20, 2007

A letter I sent to the Y

Subject: The Y Membership Card: A question of tact

My family and I have been Y members since last year, and I think we are a real success story.

  • My wife joined Weight Watchers earlier this year and works out at the Y almost every day. She has lost over 80 pounds so far.
  • My kids love to play and make friends at Kids Care.
  • I come in almost every day at 5:30 and workout for an hour, then go home and get my kids ready for their day, etc...
  • On the weekends, we often come in to go swimming, and we participate in your extra activities like the Sweetheart dance, the Halloween party, and other events,
  • We have shared our positive experience with the Y with many people.


There is one aspect of the Y that I do not like, and that I would like to see changed.

At 5:10 am every morning, when I am sneaking around my house in the dark trying not to wake family, sometimes I realize that I can't find my Y card or perhaps have placed it in the wrong pair of shorts or whatever, it is not the best time for me to flip all the lights on and go hunting for it., And if I can't find it, I don't want to just go to bed and admit defeat and not workout. There have been 3 times I have forgotten my Y card in the last 8 months.

So I drive to the Y, get out of the car, walk up, and am greeted by John saying "Hi Kurt" like he does every morning. Then when I tell him that I d not have my card, he turns into a cyborg and rattles off the policy, like I am a child and he is a membership card requiring robot. I don't need a brusque reminder. It really turns me off. Earlier the week (Monday I believe) I had misplaced my card and came in without it. I told John I had misplaced it and would have it tomorrow, and then he said something like, "You get three times and we'll make ya pay."

That sounded like a threat! It grated on me. I thought, "How could John, who knows me and will ask me where my friend Matt is if he doesn't show up, be so rude to me?" So today I confronted him about it (it's very uncomfortable for me to confront people...usually I let things slide) and told him that I did not like to be talked to that way. He said that there had been lots of meetings about this kind of thing already and they had decided that they had to say that. I told him that I understood the need to mention the policy (even though I really don't agree with it) but that I was complaining about the way it was stated. He didn't seem to care, actually. I had to state my concern a couple times, and even then he had to say something like "Well, we have to say that" as I was walking out. It was like he was trying to get in the last word.

In 10 years of working in technical support at IBM, I know what good customer service is. I accepted your raising my monthly fee without complaint, but I will not tolerate being spoken too in a rude manner, and then being brushed of when I overcome a great feeling of discomfort to actually lodge what I think is a valid complaint.

So to recap:

  1. I think that the way the policy is stated is RUDE. If there have been"many meetings" (as John said) to discuss this situation, and the best thing you folks can think of is "You get three times and then we'll make ya pay," then you need to have more meetings!
  2. I am not a BABY. I know what the policy is.
  3. Someone who is friendly and calls me by name 19 times out of 20 should not treat me like a robot grilling some unknown infiltrator when I neglect to bring my Y card. This is the sort of thing that would cause me to finally bite the bullet and join the RAC. At the RAC, if you forget your card, all you have to do is remember your number, and there is no warning or sudo-threat given out. I just called to ask them if they threaten people or give warnings and they said they don't.
Thank you for reading this and understanding my complaint.


Kurt Schroeder


Heather 12/20/2007 05:23:00 PM  

Good for you for making your feelings known and not just "forgetting about it" or stewing about it without doing anything (like I would do).

We got our Christmas card today. Very well done. I think you're crazy to have done it, but I thought it was great!