I returned to the gym for the first time in about five weeks last night and treated myself to a round of deadlifts, seated rows and hyperextensions.
In June 2011, I paid for a full year's membership. (I prefer to avoid recurring billings. If you want to see a collection of gym horror stories, check out this episode of CBC Marketplace.)
I knew my membership was about to expire last month, but didn't know the exact date. The Fit4Less computer did, however, and wouldn't let me in when I swiped my pass one day.
To keep costs down, Fit4Less only staffs its gym with employees during certain hours, so I wasn't able to renew my membership that day. Inevitably, I put it off over and over again. My time as a free agent also prompted me to do some comparison shopping, looking into whether there were any other cost-effective gyms closer to my home.
Again, it's my fault for not getting on it. Regardless, my inaction effectively cost Fit4Less five weeks of revenue until I hauled my increasingly out-of-shape body back to the gym. Had they called me up as my membership was about to expire, there is a good chance I would have renewed right then.
My gym experience differs from my recent dealings with Rogers. More than a month before my cell phone contract expired, I started receiving calls from customer retentions reps asking what it would take for me to sign a new contract.
Still believing at that time that Research in Motion's new BlackBerry was actually just around the corner, I held off ... and was rewarded by Rogers with a $25 customer loyalty credit on my next bill.
When I was ready to buy a new handset, I still did some comparison shopping and found that Telus was offering an attractive package. Knowing that Rogers wanted my business, I phoned them and told them about Telus's price, which they promptly beat with little fuss.
In the end, I stayed with both my incumbent gym and cell phone provider. However, like most consumers, I don't feel any particular loyalty to either company and would have been tempted to switch if an attractive offer had come along.
But while Fit4Less effectively left me orphaned and treated me like a brand-new customer, Rogers used its advantage as my incumbent provider to hook me into another three-year contract.