Truth in advertising

We got an ad in the mail this week offering us membership at a local gym – Urban Active – for $19.95 a month, and no monthly contract. It prominently said that there would be no pressure, no intimidation, blah, blah, blah.

So we went over there yesterday, with our membership fee in hand, so that we could sign up and get a little back in shape. The moment that we walked in, we were handed over to a high-pressure salesman who brought out two very long contracts. About a minute into this, it became evident that we were going to have to pay $50, each, up front, in order to sign up. When we showed him the ad, which said $19.95, he rather contemptuously dismissed it, saying “there’s always a signup fee.” When we got up to leave, saying that this really wasn’t what we had come for, he started bringing out the better deals that he could offer us, if we would only stop and listen.

Is it really so much to expect that an advertisement mean what it says, and there not be huge additional fees when you go to purchase the product? I hate buying a car, because nobody is ever honest about the pricetag. Other businesses that operate the same way, likewise, make me very reluctant to even try to buy. The only reason that we decided to go over there was that the advertisement was very clear, and impossible to misunderstand. Or so we thought.

So, if there’s actually a gym around here that clearly advertises a price list, and doesn’t have a bunch of hidden fees, maybe we’d be interested. At least the YMCA lists rates clearly, without a bunch of “oh, I can get you a special deal” when you threaten to walk out.

Perhaps it’s naive to expect businesses to mean what they say, however, it’s a naiveté that I choose to hang on to, and insist on. If you can’t tell the truth about your product or our prices, then you don’t get my business. I plan to be much more intentional about this in the future, and simply refuse to shop at places that won’t clearly put a pricetag on things, rather than attempting to judge how much they can weasel out of me.