Sunday, February 27, 2011

Some Places are not Meant to be Kid Friendly

Why oh why are there are no places left for adults only?

Today, as I often like to do on the weekend, I went to the gym for a nice, tough workout followed by a swim in the pool and a soak in the jacuzzi. This is a gym for adults but recently they instituted a new promotion where members can bring their kids into the pool for a $5 fee. So today - the pool - which already has a very limited number of swimming lanes (4 I think), had one lane taken up with irritating, screaming, splashing kids (and of course clueless, overindulgent father sitting off on the sidelines ignoring their unruly behavior). As if this is not bad enough lane #4 was taken up with a swim instructor giving swimming lessons to KIDS. So that left 2 lanes for the rest of us serious exercisers who pay an annual membership fee to WORK OUT.

I've complained about this to the gym already but they don't give a hoot. To them it's just another revenue stream that they're milking for all it's worth.

As if all this is not bad enough, on my way out of the gym, I noticed a sign on the front desk that said, "Members - Good News! You can now add family members as young as 12 to your membership!"

12!!???? So now the gym is going to be innundated with sweaty tweens and teenagers!???

Is there nowhere a person can go anymore to do adult activities without the entire environment revolving around KIDS!??? We can't eat out at restaurants in peace, we can't enjoy the library because people let their kids run amok like wild animals, and now I can't even enjoy a nice workout at the gym without having to negotiate my way around bratty kids at every turn.

(By the way, the offending gym is Bally's, so do yourself a favor. If you're not already a member, don't become one.)


26 comments:

Frugalista said...

I'd be totally annoyed! I don't blame you. I get annoyed enough going on vacation and having to share the jacuzzi and pool with little rugrats in floaties. Maybe if enough people complain they'll change it.

flamencokitty said...

As the gym allows all these kids into their building, are they adding more lifeguards to supervise the pool? Did they take into consideration that the gym equipment is not build for kids (and therefore unsafe for the kids)? Is there a babysitting area where someone actually supervises kids and maybe leads them in gross motor activities?...

I'm really not understanding permitting children into a gym for adults. Aren't there already kiddie and family gyms? Yeah it's more money, but isn't that a huge liability? Imagine the lawsuit when some unsupervised kid pulls a muscle on a weight machine and needs to be hospitalized.

Sarah-L-B said...

On the one hand I can see it from the gym's perspective. So many children around the world are over weight and unhealthy, so its good to encourage children from a young age to get fit. However, I can also see your point of view too. I think places such as gyms, restaurants etc need to find a separate space for kids, away from the adults. They could designate certain times in the day for kids only, or invest in building them their own space. Here is the UK in certain places they have a play area for kids away from the adults who wish to dine alone for once. Although I admit, sometimes the chaos can still be heard echoing over our conversations.

I think the problem is that so many people will "kick off" and attempt to sue places that are deemed child-unfriendly. No one wants to get hauled into court for seeming to be "discriminating" against parents.

Yes, I think its bull too. But there you go.

CFVixen said...

Man, I'd be highly irritated too. There are no boundaries.

Why is it that as a child, it seemed like there were age requirements for everything? Now, everything is a free-for-all.

Melissa (A Gracious Calm) said...

I belong to the YMCA here, which of course has kids programs, but fortunately they don't do yoga and they have special hours where the pool is only for adults. Your gym should do that, have "adult swim time" and "kid swim time".

Shal said...

Every time my Mom, brother and I walk into a restaurant, we always ask for the child-free section. The person always laughs like we're joking, we're not!!

Temujin said...

I'm a little uncomfortable with my city's public pool policy of allowing children of the opposite sex into the locker room as long as they are under 7 years old. Maybe I'm just one of those uptight prudish puritanical Americans, but it feels creepy to me.

I'm with you on the liability issues. If I were the gym I would be much more worried about the cost of an injured child than a denied child. (Not to mention the possibility that the child could get an adult injured!) If the gym wanted to make more money, charge a big fee to cover babysitters or lawyers on retainer.

Anne Marie said...

This is exactly why I'm in the pool at 6 am, no kids and not too many others either. I had the pool almost to myself this morning.

Megs said...

I really liked the dining out system in Ireland. If you go to dinner early, say 5:00-6:30, there are specials and lower-priced smaller portion sized entrees and children are welcome. If you go to dinner later on, kiddie hour is over and entrees are regular size and price. Everybody wins - folks can afford to take their kids out to dinner, and the rest of us get the quiet, civilized evening out that we really want after a long day.

As for the gym, I had no idea that kids were even allowed in main areas (I'm with flamencokitty, that seems like a horrible accident waiting to happen...bebes + 45 lb. plates = disaster). I work at a university, so I get to use the gym on campus for a very small fee. I had no idea how good I have it!

Laura said...

I would complain and name a competing gym where you will take your business and encourage all your friends to as well. I've always gotten what I wanted when I mentioned the competition by name.

Childfreeeee said...

I am glad I am not the only one who thinks Bally's is outrageous to invite kids into the gym.

Laura, complaining and naming competitors get you nowhere with this gym. Trust me. I've tried it before. Last year they pulled another stunt to save/make more money. They raised the gym temperature thermostats (in the summer) so save on air conditioning costs. So the gym was SWELTERING to the point where I couldn't even work out because I was turning beet red and sweating profusely and feeling faint. The desk staff are USELESS and blamed it on "corporate" that ordered all their gyms to do this. So they gave me a customer service number to call - useless. Called them several times and they didn't do anything about it. Half the time I couldn't even get through to a live person and they wouldn't return my calls. When I finally got through and requested they put the thermostats back to a reasonable/comfortable level, they told me they couldn't do it. So I asked that they cancel my membership and refund the balance of my annual dues. They wouldn't do it. But they did extend my membership by 3 months. Well, what good is THAT when the gym is too hot for me to use it???

It was only when I went to the Better Business Bureau and filed a complaint and starting posting complaints on consumer sites warning others of the problem and suggesting there will be lawsuits (from people sweating and dropping weights, or passing out)that things changed. They finally adjusted the thermostats back to normal.

The only reason I even GO to Bally's (after their non-ending crappy business practices) is that they send me an annual renewal that is hard to resist. I think I pay $89/year now (I've been a member for awhile and have a strategy for ignoring their first renewal notices. If you do that, they will send subsequent ones offering better renewal deals).

Karyn said...

Yuck! I work out at the fitness center at my apartment complex, and I see it ALL the damn time. Our treadmills and stair climbers have TVs mounted on them so the little bastards will climb all over the equipment as if it were a jungle gym. I've went down on numerous occasions to complain to the office downstairs from the gym about it, but since it's a 24 hour gym there's not much they can do after office hours. I've been saying I can't wait until we can afford a gym membership, and at least I know one gym I won't be giving any money to.

Spectra said...

I would be so pissed if my gym did that. Luckily, my gym is an employees-only gym that is located at the hospital where I work. Around Christmas-New Year's time, they offer a two week time period where members can bring a family member or friend for free--I've seen a few people bring their teenage kids and MOST of them are well-behaved and actually do work out, but some of them sit around on the machines texting their friends for an hour and THAT annoys the hell out of me.

I've also noticed an increasing number of people that bring their kids to bars (granted, I live in a state where there are a LOT of bars). I'm fairly sure it's illegal, but people do it anyway. I honestly think that there are places that really should be kid-free. Bars, gyms, certain stores/shops, and a few others come to mind.

Daghain said...

My boyfriend has the same complaint about the pool that you do - no one can actually work out because the kids are playing in it. He's been all over town and cannot find ONE gym that doesn't allow this.

And, that's why I have a huge collection of Tae Bo DVDs and work out at home.

Megs said...

Apparently even a lot of Moms don't want kids in the gym (check out the comments).
http://www.momlogic.com/2009/01/keep_your_kids_out_of_my_gym.php

Temujin said...

Sometimes I feel like launching a counter-offensive when kids are being offensive and loud and obnoxious. I imagine talking to myself (or on a cell phone) in a really loud voice about very adult subjects, using lots of expletives, and see if the parents move their kids away from me. I never have the guts to do it, it would annoy all the other people, and I'm afraid it wouldn't work anyway. (And maybe the kids would just learn new words to use in annoying someone else.)

Anyone ever try something like that?

Diane said...

They wouldn't *need* to offer rates of $89/year to renew if they didn't do stupid things like this!

redwings19 said...

I would walk away from Bally's. DO NOT PAY YOUR MEMBERSHIP. They are not meeting your terms.

And for goodness sakes, they do not have your best intersts in mind! Find another gym! There HAS TO BE something else! Even if it means buying a bicycle and free weights?

We went out for our anniversary and went THREE different places before we could eat. "do not set us next to kids" is apparently code for "set us next to every kid table you have.

Only boycotting and protesting and making a point to NOT give your money to these people will get their attention. The more public of a platform you have to highlight their issues, the more a change will happen. Keep fighting and don't let them take your hard-earned money to abuse your trust.

I'm not sorry, but I do want to apologize for my intensity, as it may be over the top. I just am so, so SO FREAKIN' VERY TIRED of catering to kids! ADULTS HAVE THE MONEY, DAMN IT!!!! Our voice needs to be heard, that's all. And try as we might, it's just not happening. It needs to end.

Sarah-L-B said...

I feel rather sorry for the kids. It isn't their fault. They are what they are and obviously no one asks to be born. I think its the adults who would truly get on my nerves for allowing such things to happen in the first place.

I work for a children's charity and I do love and respect the little devils (he he), but even I think that there is a correct time and place for kids to have their fun. They can run around and exercise just as much at their local park or playground (obviously supervised!) leaving places such as the gym for the adults they were intended for.

primary2535 said...

Sadly the world seems to revolve around kids. At the rate people reproduce, they are probably not worried about the child free because they are in a minority and it doesn't make much difference if they lose that business. Of course, they will probably need to pay more in insurance because if one of those kids injures them self, the parents will not only raise only hell, they will sue them to hell. I guess the bean counters have done the math and said the revenue stream will increase enough to make it worth it. Complaining will get you nowhere. Time to start looking for a new gym. Look over your membership agreement/contract and see if you can get out of it without paying a huge fee. And warn your childfree friends not to join that gym and when you find a new gym, tell all your friends who have memberships there. Maybe if they lose enough business, they will reconsider but historically, large scale boycotts are the only thing that have made a difference because the only thing people care about is the bottom line (i.e. profit margins) so unless they lose a lot of business, they won't change their policy. Start looking for a new gym.

Childfreeeee said...

Hi Everyone

Thanks for all your comments!

I'd LOVE to join a different gym can't justify the expense right now. I mainly keep my membership going at Bally's for the pool and the jacuzzi. The rest of my workouts I can do at home as I am really into fitness videos and have a home workout room. I figure for $89/year it's worth it even if I get aggravated from time to time.

I don't blame the kids for the situation. They are just being kids and who can blame them from wanting to go swimming!? It's the parents' fault (as well as the gym's) for not having any consideration toward the gym's members.

BGS Cleaning Services said...

I completely agree!
Try going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant to celebrate a birthday with your husband only to find three brats running up and down the aisle next to your table for a solid half hour as the parents obliviously continue their conversation at the next table as if this is somehow normal or okay. I'm a paying customer too and I picked the pricey restaurant so I would NOT have to put up with families with small children!! Its not chuck-e-cheese!!

Zarina said...

You're going to love this article. http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/04/why-having-kids-is-foolish/

Amy Guskin said...

I belong to a *great* gym (ACAC) that unfortunately has children's programs, child care, etc. But at least the children's area is far away from the rest of the gym, and in fact you don't even have to walk past it unless you're dropping off or retrieving children. So, I've learned when most of the mommies come to do their zumba and dump off their kids, and I simply try to avoid going to the gym at those times. Another positive thing: my gym has a rule in place that prohibits any child older than two from being in opposite gender locker rooms. So, not perfect, but not as awful as your gym sounds.

Sirene Jaune said...

Just came across this post.

I know how pissed off you felt. During my free time, I like going to the library to study.

Now my library has this program where parents can bring their new born to five years old.

The library has a librarian who not only reads a story and sings songs with the kids. Two days a week the study tables are taken over with newspaper,craft stuff etc.

So not only do these kids get to hear a story they can do craft too.

It shits me off to think this is the only free time I can study only to have it disrupted by parents who are looking for some free activity. It's a library not a child-care centre.

AnoidAsHell said...

Oh to locate housing without kids...i could get into a 55+ community...however kids are still there at intervals, doing what they do when unsupervised and obviously undisciplined: vandalism, theft, harassment of people and pets, escalation of noise 24/7, voyurism, trespassing...anything goes...I hate kids, of all ages, right along with their entitled parents...I am not a babysitter, a caregiver, a teacher, a coach, a supervisor, a referee, a nurse, a cook, a food provider, a repairman, for your spawn...my home is MY HOME, not a playground or amusement park...one cannot eat out, fly on a plan, go to the market, go to a movie, go to the dog park, go to the library, go to the gym, go to a MD office, go to the vet, go to a shooting range, go to a museum, without being subjected to someone's out of control kids...it is a plague!