I quit the gym.
Or tried to. I won out eventually, but they tried to bully me with ridiculous "logic" to keep their paws on my electronically transfered monthly fee:
ME: I'm moving to Tacoma. You don't have an affiliate club there. the nearest one is in Seattle, 30-40 miles away. Therefore I want to quit the gym.
GYM: There's a club in (weird WA town whose name likely means 'water'); that's near Tacoma.
ME: Sorry, but no, I'm not gonna keep this membership in hopes that my apt will be driving distance to this town that I don't know (and like I'd trust any of you Ohioians to have any real clue where it is, either). I want to quit the gym.
GYM: But once you quit, you can't transfer the membership. If you join as a new member rather than transferring, they might charge you several hundred dollars for a signup fee. ( tactic: demonizing "The Other" in the form of West Coast bashing).
ME: If they want to do that, I won't join that gym. (duh) I didn't pay a fee like that here, why should I expect to be charged one there?
GYM: Why not keep the contract open, then you can cancel if you find there's no affiliate when you get there (some line about how the list we're looking at that shows no gym of theirs in Tacoma is old, and they're adding new affiliates "all the time").
ME: Because even by quitting today, my contract says you can (ie "will") take 30 days to "process" my cancellation, and you also required me to pay my last month in advance, meaning that canceling on January 2nd means you still have me paid thru the end of February, even though I won't be here to use the gym past mid February. If I don't cancel now and don't end up transferring the membership, I'll have to cancel in mid February. Then you'll charge me thru the end of April for services I can't even use, not to mention you require I cancel in writing, and if I delay mailing it off, you'll find a way to charge me thru May, I'm sure. I want to quit the gym. Now.
GYM: I can't understand why you don't want to keep giving us money instead of just quitting and joining a new gym in your neighborhood when you get there. Isn't it important to you that we keep our enrollment statistics up?
okay, they didn't really say this last one. But I couldn't believe the pressure to stay in a situation which is just an incredibly bad deal for me. Yeah sure, I wanna drive across Pierce County just to use your gym instead of something convenient to home or work, because I'm ALL about brand loyalty to a Fitness Chain.
I can't decide which theory is more likely true:
1) Enough people who work at gyms are stupid enough that they think their logic is sound enough to persuade me to keep giving them money when I'm leaving the state.
2) Enough people who join gyms are stupid enough to be successfully persuaded by this logic. "Give you money for something you can't promise is available? Okay! it's better than risking a signup fee somewhere else, because God knows I can't be without a gym for even a few days and would happily pay whatever is asked because it's not like I have a choice."
Truly an unctuous experience. Up there with buying a car at a dealership.