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Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Bottom-Feeder Planet Fitness Violates Protected Rights!!! Another Report.

“WE’RE GOING AFTER THE 80% OF THE POPULATION* THAT DOESN’T HAVE A GYM MEMBERSHIP”
CHRIS RONDEAU
Planet Fitness CEO


You may not know it but you’ve become a target for the fitness scam of the century, PLANET FITLESS.

It’s all about the money of selling memberships; nothing about you or your fitness!

Thumbs down AGAIN for Plantet Fitness in Glenmont.

We recently published a scathing article on the Planet Fitness franchise, particularly one local facility in Glenmont, New York. Our research actually showed that what we reported about the Glenmont facility is epidemic in most Planet Fitness locations. It seems it’s a corporate characteristic: incompetent management and staff, poor maintenance, and the majority of members are really not what you want to work out with.

The only judgment-free we can find is that it is free of any good judgment.

We have received another serious complaint about Planet Fitness operations, this one points to serious violations of rights guaranteed and protected by the United States Constitution, that is, freedom of speech and opinion. Seems that if someone at the front desk not doing their job but listening to private conversations can go to management who, without due process of any kind such as discussing a possible problem, simply disciplines a member by terminating their membership. No questions asked. Now that’s Planet Fitness customer care. As we’ve already reported, Planet Fitness is a bottom-feeder among fitness clubs, and is really going to hell in a hand basket if recent observations and reports are accurate. Judging by this contributor’s letter, it’s only getting worse.

Now Planet Fitness staff are eroding protected rights like free speech, and they’re doing it in a discriminatory way without any notion of fairness or due process. If you’re Mr Nice Guy, you’ll be the first to go because you won’t beat the crap out of the [redacted] manager or his [redacted] staff. Right Daniel Boughton.

Planet Fitness – The Constitution-free Zone

Here’s what we just received (it’s a bit long but we thought it was worth reprinting in its entirety):

Dear Smalbany Editor:

Let me start out by saying that I am not easily impressed or shocked. In my professional life I have encountered incredible suffering and incredible stupidity and ignorance but, I must admit, just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all, someone comes up with another masterpiece of idiocy.

Well, I do apologize, since I am writing to the Smalbany blog, a remarkable venue of never-ending-exposure of local stupidity and ignorance, and the suffering it causes. I read your blog and sometimes just have to shake my head, roll my eyes, and offer a fervent prayer that my friends and neighbors in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk communities, and our neighbors in the New Baltimore and Greene County communities, read your stuff and wake up to what’s going on. Before I tell my story, and I hope you will publish it, even if you have to edit some of what I have to say, let me first say Thank you! for your time, energy, interest in our communities, but most of all for your guts in saying what others don’t even dare to think. It’s a terrible shame that our communities have become what they are, and we need people like you and your contributors to help us out of the morass into which we’ve sunken thanks to our apathy and unwillingness to speak up.

Several weeks ago, I read a piece the Smalbany blog published on the Planet Fitness franchise [See our article, “Planet Fitness a.k.a. Planet Failure“. The Editor], and I was appalled at what I read. Appalled because I have personally witnessed and experienced much of what you described. But to think that it is so widespread was what really floored me.

Yes, I am, or was, until today, a so-called Black Card Member. I really don’t know why I stuck with Planet Fitness as long as I had but, like so many of my colleagues and friends who are or were members, the fact that it is the bottom feeder of health and fitness facilities was offset by the fact that it was cheap and was on our way home. Well, that’s what we kept telling ourselves.

The fact is, Planet Fitness is a bottom-feeder. Anyone with any sense will admit that and now that there’s more competition in the Albany area with beautiful new YMCAs in Delmar and Coxsackie, Best Fitness, VENT, and other serous, real gyms and exercise studios, the situation as I have been able to observe over the past couple of years is getting worse at Planet Fitness. Worse in that there seem to be more sociopaths and low-lives than ever. But that may be because Planet Fitness is losing all of their top-shelf members to the YMCAs and to the other, more glamorous competition. So I guess they have to make up for their losses by offering cheaper and cheaper deals and attracting a lower and lower class of member

Your article only scraped the surface of what’s going on at Planet Fitness, though, and you have to be a regular at Planet Fitless to really know how bad it is. Don’t be suckered in by the hype and the marketing garbage. This stuff can’t be made up!

Yes, management, if you can call it management, is substandard. At the Glenmont club the manager is about 30 years old and has been “managing” a PF facility for 12 years. 12 years!!! Doing the same thing, dusting equipment, mopping floors, cleaning out urinals, hiring brainless and immature front-desk personnel, and making lame excuses. Clocks were out for months. Equipment unrepaired for weeks. Urinals not working for weeks. Sink fixtures broken likewise for weeks. But the most irritating experience is the type of people that are becoming the regulars. They have no respect — but what can you expect when the staff has no respect —, no gym etiquette, they’re dirty, and the list goes on.

I’ve recently observed the so-called trainer giving an equipment blitz-tour: a quick explanation of what the piece of equipment is working but I have never seen her tell the new member that after using the eequipment, he or she should wipe it down with a paper towel and some of the sanitizer provided. It’s no wonder that these people use the equipment and leave their residues all over it. They have to be told to wipe off their sweat and dirt but nobody at Planet Fitless tells them!

I’ve also never heard or seen the trainer or any of the other staff telling members to pick up after themselves or to put the weights back where they belong. It’s even more of a mess than what you describe in your article.

Management is incompetent and staff are lazy and indifferent. What’s worse still is that the manager is about as mature as the adolescent minds he hires. I guess it makes him feel more comfortable, sorry soul that he is. I can’t imagine what he thinks of himself but then, it takes all kinds.

Yes, I was shocked today when the Glenmont Planet Fitness manager , Daniel Boughton, called me over as I was leaving the facility. He stood there mumbling a lot of words and I was having trouble discerning what the devil he was going on about. I stopped him and asked, “What is it you’re trying to say?” He responded: “I have to terminate your membership.” To be honest, that wasn’t the worst news I could have been given, since I was only waiting until my current membership ran out and I was going to cancel anyway, investing the money in a YMCA membership, because of the quality of the facilities and the programs. No big deal. He’s terminating my membership so now I don’t have to wait. OK.

But curious me, I had to go one step further and asked him Why? What he told me hit me like a brick. His reason: “You are continuously using foul language.” Are you kidding me? Do you know who you are talking to? He repeated, “You are continuously using foul language with staff and other members.” News to me!

I couldn’t believe my ears but when he repeated what he had said I knew I had heard correctly.

My initial reaction was to ask “What are you talking about? First of all, I’ve never used foul language with your staff or with other members.” But ‘continuously’? That really bothered me.

Mr. Boughton pointed out that a couple of months ago I approached him in an agitated state because of some dangerous activity in the free-weights area and an abusive member. I did mention to Mr. Boughton that the member told me to “F**k myself and go tell the manager.” I did quote the member and I did tell Mr. Boughton that “I don’t have to put up with that kind of sh*t.” Yes. I was upset because I was fed up with the same old same old and Boughton and his staff just hold a love fest at the front desk ignoring everything.

Today, another member, a workout buddy, and I had a chat about a new member slamming weights and leaving weights all over the place. My buddy had already told the guy to stop dropping the weights and making such noise. [Editor’s Note: PF has what is called a “Lunk Alarm” which is a whistle or a siren that is operated from the front desk when a member makes too much “inappropriate noise” in the “Non-judgement [sic] Zone.” But isn’t that a judgement [sic[? Apparently the front desk attendants were to busy love-festing to push a button.] He also told him to put his weights away after using them. He was ignored and so he went to the front desk to get one of the “attendants” to talk to the guy. At about this time, rather than being told again to “f**k myself” by some lowlife, I approached the front desk and also asked that someone talk to the guy. The attendants looked uneasy but when we insisted, one of them, a kid, left his perch and seemed to go over to the unruly member. At that point I said something like “#*($(&(@#!! retard member and the staff is too.” I was not happy with how the staff member responded; it was as if we were bothering him, making him do his job, the snotty brat. Apparently [redacted] attendant was offended and carried the “story” back to Boughton, who decided that I was abusive and “continuously using foul language with staff and other members.”

PF Has It But Staff is Too Lazy to Push the Button!

So what I got for my years of membership and loyalty is an insult and a termination. Oh! And I got handed a scrap piece of paper with Daniel Boughton’s manager’s name and telephone number. Boughton told me if I wanted to discuss the termination I could call Dan Harms, his boss. No thanks! Dealing with one ding-a-ling is enough for one day. [Editor’s Note: Wise decision. We’ve spoken to both Boughton and Harms; you don’t want too much contact with the brainless; it might be contagious.] Besides, I wouldn’t want to interrupt Mr Harms’ urinal fishing.

That was it. My private remark to a like-minded buddy was enough to get my membership terminated. No discussion, no inquiry. Summary termination. Isn’t that illegal on some planets?

I could go on but what’s the use? Planet Fitness is Planet Fitless. It sells memberships whether you use them or not. New members, short-term widgets get dumped on veterans who know how to work out together and make life miserable before disappearing, paying their $10 and some ridiculous monthly pittance.

Your article was over-the-top right. Everything you wrote is true but in reality it’s actually worse.

At this point, after some 5 years a Planet Fitness member, and getting treated like that by the likes of the Glenmont Planet Fitness staff, I’m grateful for the nudge to move on.

People interested in real fitness and professionally managed facilities, management who cares, and members who care about their club and their health and safety would do well to avoid Planet Fitness. Yes it’s cheap but you get what you pay for. Some people will accept that. People with any self-respect won’t.

[Name Redacted by Smalbany Policy]

P.s. I know you say you don’t publish names but I have no problem with your publishing my name. I don’t really care if Planet Fitness knows who I am. In fact, I know many local people read your blog and at least my friends who read this blog will know why they are not seeing me any more. I’m sure Boughton won’t tell them the truth – he didn’t even tell me the truth. If you publish my letter, let me say Thank you!

Well, that’s another Planet Fitless (we liked that so we’re going to use it) horror story. We’ve edited in some emphasis and some notes and edited out some words but for the most part, we’ve reproduced the letter as sent and received.

Does this sound like a lawsuit in the making to you? We think there’s good lawsuit in this situation and we’ll be happy to research the possibilities for our reader.

There’s a saying that goes “There’s a sucker born every minute.” We guess that at that rate, there will be enough suckers to keep Planet Fitless going for a while but then what? Are you one of those suckers?

Planet Fitness Club Rated:

Glenmont, NY
Daniel Boughton, Manager
329 Glenmont Road
Glenmont NY 12077
518-439-1200

EXPOSED AGAIN!

 

Planet Fitness a.k.a. Planet Failure

Health clubs and fitness centers have been around for a long time. They range from the storefront body builder dens to the glamorous health and beauty spas and resorts. But by and large, the most common since around the 1970’s have been the larger chain or franchise fitness centers. Some of our readers will remember the Jack LaLanne and the Bally franchises. Now we have such franchises as Best Fitness and Planet Fitness. While we have heard good things about Best Fitness we have personal experience with Planet Fitness in a number of locations in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. This report is inspired by a reader comment about Planet Fitness in Glenmont, New York. The stats are: 97% of the people signing  Planet Fitness “No Commitment” contract (“No commitment” contract??? What in hell is that?) drop out in the first 3 months but get to pay for 12 months! 


We’d like to thank another Planet Fitness member for sharing this new PF Failure with us:

Just yesterday, April 17, 2018, I was at the Glenmont Planet Fitness. I started my workout and saw one of the 45 lb dumbbell sets were in use — there are normally 2 sets on the rack — but I didn’t see the second set on the rack and I didn’t see anyone using them. As usual, my first thought was that someone had used them elsewhere and didn’t both to put them back — the norm at the Glenmont PF, so I spent several minutes wandering around the gym searching for the second set. Returning to the dumbbell area I asked a gym bro’ if he had seen the other set. What he told me set my teeth on edge. He told me that the Glenmont PF had sent the entire second set of dumbbells to another club until that club received their new ones. That now puts the Glenmont club in a real inconvenient situation when members, like me, need the weights. This was a very poor management decision, like so many others at PF, and showed how little they care about members, especially the regulars who take their workouts seriously. I really don’t appreciate this incident — another among many. [Preferred to remain Anonymous]


Planet Fitness sells memberships not fitness, and they don’t give a damn about members or service.Planet Fitness a.k.a. Planet Failure

Our reader sent us the following about Planet Fitness in Glenmont:

“I’ve been working out for many years and have belonged to a number of health and fitness clubs over those years. I’ve worked out in bodybuilding gyms and in the larger franchise fitness centers in several states. I usually like the chain fitness centers because I travel and like the option of being able to use my membership in more than one location. I’ve lived in the Albany, New York area for several years and watched as the Bally operations closed down one by one. Then when Planet Fitness arrived in the area, it was close, convenient, and inexpensive…I thought. Naturally, because I travel, I wanted the convenience of a larger chain and facilities in most major areas, so I opted in for the Planet Fitness Black Card. Unfortunately, there’s no uniformity between Planet Fitness locations locally much less regionally. I’ve used Planet Fitness facilities in Guilderland (Crossgates Commons), East Greenbush, Saratoga (Wilton Mall),  Albany (Glenmont), Brooklyn, Connecticutt and Massachusetts. Clearly, the bottom-feeder of them all is the Glenmont Planet Fitness. 75% brownish collar, 20% millennial zombies, 5% serious human beings. Not a very good mix, and it’s downright dangerous. Management doesn’t seem to care and the staff, well, when I write about millennial zombies, they have cornered the market with very few exceptions. All of the manager’s answers were wrong. After noting that he was totally indifferent I responded that maybe going public on the Internet would help. His response: “Do what you have to do” was not the right answer.”

Watch This Video

The comments were rather lengthy so we’ll just summarize a couple of the points made. We are including some of our own comments because we are familiar with Planet Fitness in Glenmont, so we can confirm some of the statements.

Poor Maintenance of Premises and Equipment. Toilets, urinals, showers, sinks can be out for literally weeks. I’ve actually observed some sanitary facilities to be out for more than 4 weeks before someone started repairing them. The roof is one of those warehouse metal roofs and when it rains, you’ll need a poncho, and a GPS to avoid the buckets and puddles throughout the exercise space. Equipment can be out of service for 4-12 weeks. Get used to the “Out of Order” signs. One really bizarre problem is the clocks! There are three or four clocks at the Glenmont location: In the front of the space, at the back of the space, one each in the men’s and women’s changing rooms. When in the middle or back of the exercise area you can’t see the clock in the front because of the huge fans and exposed ducts. The clock in the back was taken down during painting and wasn’t replaced for months, leaving only the clock in the front. When the clock was finally replaced, it wasn’t working. They changed the location the clock and it was working but there was about 3 hours difference between it and the other clocks. This went on for several months. They apparently finally replaced the battery or something but it took months.

Inept Management and Uninterested Staff. You know right away when someone has become indifferent to his job and uninterested. That’s the problem at the Glenmont Planet Fitness. The manager is a nice guy but totally useless when it comes to making management decisions or coping with problems. I have personally brought a number of problems to his attention but got nowhere. Most recently, I asked him to take care of an aggressive patron but got the impression he didn’t hear a word I was saying. I left my machine for a minute only to return to find someone had removed my towel and my water bottle which I left on the piece of equipment to show it was being used. He had removed my weights and made himself at home. I asked him what he was doing and why he had removed my stuff and he started to get aggressive (I actually thought he had a screw loose). Rather than get into a shouting match or worse, I took his suggestion and went to the front desk. The manager simply responded that I could not “reserve equipment.” “Reserve equipment,” I responded, “I went for a pee!” Still, he held his ground and I was apparently in the wrong, not the guy who clearly saw the equipment was being used but ignored the indications. I told the manager that there were many problems and that I had spoken to him before about dangerous conditions, including member behavior and not returning weights to the racks, working out without spotters, etc. I noted one occasion where two women had wheeled a very old woman in a wheelchair onto the weights floor and parked her in the middle of the workout area, between benches where people were working out with weights. I explained that I found that to be incredibly dangerous but that staff had ignored the situation. I told him I was so concerned, I took pictures of the situation. Rather than agree that the situation was outrageous, the manager told me that taking pictures in the club was not allowed for “privacy purposes.” When I noted that that couldn’t be true because everyone is constantly taking selfies on the exercise floor. He had no comment. Nothing was done. The pictures are shown below.

The old woman in wheelchair between Smith machines.

The old woman in wheelchair (asleep) between benches in dumbbells area.

Indifference of Staff. Management is reflected in the performance of employees. The staff at the Glenmont Planet Fitness is constantly changing, with maybe 3-4 faces that have been around for a while. All very young, all very spaced out, none interested in what’s going on. They congregate at the front desk and when they are not chatting with one another they are staring out the front doors. Meanwhile, chaos and pandemonium is rampant on the exercise floor. No one supervises members, most of whom don’t know their asses from their elbows when it comes to how to safely use the equipment, and present a real danger to life and limb, both their own and ours, when they are “working out.” Even the resident “trainer” seems not to be interested in showing members how to use the equipment properly. Everyone seems to be on his or her own. It can get really scary, really dangerous. I have even had to leave a piece of equipment because some freak was taking out his aggressions throwing weights around. As I mentioned, the staff is busy doing their own things and avoiding any unnecessary movement, like telling people to clear their weight and put them away after use, or picking up after the slobs. Instead, weights are all over the place and are a real hazard when moving around the area. [Editor’s Note: We have actually addressed this problem and the problem of gym etiquette to management, suggesting that when they sign a member on, they should give a short course in gym etiquette including such things as putting weights back in the proper place, wiping down equipment after use, leaving benches where they are, not doing push-ups, sit-ups, stretching, etc. in the weights area but to use the areas provided for stretching. Needless to say, our suggestions fell on deaf ears.]

Here’s another comment we received:

“I changed banks and went in to advise PF (Glenmont) about the change. I brought along a sample voided check because they needed to scan it to change the billing. I explained to the manager, Dan, about the situation and how I wanted to change my billing account. He told me I could do that online. I asked why he couldn’t do it just as he did when I joined 2 years before. He told me that they had to wait to submit the next bill and have the bank refuse it. I told him that was crazy. He gave some lame excuse and repeated I should do it online. So I did it online. Next thing I know, I get a notice from the bank charging me $30 for a charge made on a closed account. I went to the manager again and asked what was going on and demanded that he fix it. He told me to wait. OK. I contacted the bank and told them this story. They told me to have PF make the changes. PF told me to have the bank fix it. All in all, by the time PF woke up, they had submitted the demand for payment THREE times and I got charged 3 x $30 = $90 plus my $20.00 payment = $110.00 because the PF manager at my club in Glenmont didn’t have the balls to make a call to his manager about the situation and PF would not do a couple of mouse clicks to make a simple billing change! Monkey management and no customer service!

“Cell Phone Use is Permitted in the Lobby Only”
This is not enforced at the Glenmont or other Albany area clubs.

Cell Phones and Loud Conversations on the Exercise Floor. Bring your IPod but even that’s dangerous on the workout floor, because you can’t hear what’s going on around you. Besides, there’s music provided over the facilities’ system. But when it comes to real idiots, it’s the cellphone conversations all over the place, everyone shouting, every one in their own little idiot’s world.  Then they stop midstep to take a selfie (Note: Manager says no photographing in the workout area; privacy.) The workout area is no place for cellphones and unsecured earphones! You have to say something three or more times, finally shouting, to get someone’s attention, even to tell them to be careful, they’re getting too close. Most of them have their eyes closed and dancing to the music!!! It’s CRAZY! [Editor’s Note: I have seen this and can verify the statement. Furthermore, I have used Planet Fitness locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts and there they have signs telling people that cell phones are not allowed in the work out areas. If you need to make a call you have to go to the café area or go outside. Problem solves…at least in CT and MA. NY appears to be backward, as usual. We found an article on Planet Fitness police regarding cell phones at Planet Fitness Cell Phone Policy Seems Loud and Clear. We don’t understand Why? this policy is not enforced or isn’t enforced in many Albany area clubs.]

Club Polices?!?!?
Does PF management know about these? Does PF staff know about these?

General Free-for-all and Total Lack of Gym Etiquette. People just race back and forth to a piece of equipment and make themselves at home. They are apparently unaware of the fact that you’re standing right there between sets, but it doesn’t matter. They start rearranging the equipment right in front of you and then, when you tell them that you’re using the equipment, they get pissed! In other instances they sit for up to 20 minutes on a piece of equipment checking messages or answering texts before they even look at the weights. I have even seen them occupy a piece of equipment while I’m moving through 2 or 3 sets, then they just get up and walk to another piece of equipment and to the same thing. They just have no clue and no courtesy! In most gyms, there’s something called “gym etiquette.” If you see someone on a piece of equipment you understand he is using it. You wait. If you see a towel on a piece of equipment, you understand it’s being used. You wait. When you use weights you put them back in the proper place or you take the plates off the bar when you’re done and put them where they belong. Not at Planet Fitness in Glenmont. And management and staff don’t give a damn. You’re on your own, Baby!

Planet Fitness Lunk Alarm Sign.

There used to be a so-called Lunk Alarm. This was an alarm that when off when someone dropped weights or threw weights around, or was making a lot of noise when lifting. People tend to drop weights loudly or throw them around making loud abrupt noises. Other times they sound like a hippo giving birth. Weightlifting requires concentration and awareness; imagine you have 200 lbs over your chest and you have a car crash next to you. [Editor’s Note: Yes. I can confirm this.] Come to find out, the Lunk Alarm is activated from the front desk (see above, Management & Staff). The problem continues.

Total Disregard. Just sell memberships! It’s obvious that the franchise owner for the Glenmont Planet Fitness doesn’t give a damn, and neither does local management. The whole business model is SELL as many MEMBERSHIPS as possible, get their signatures on the contract, get their bank details, and then forget them. No orientation. No required training. No management. No one cares after you sign on the dotted line.

Sure, they’re cheap. $10 a month, $20 a month for Black Card. They do get you for a “membership initiation fee” of up to $50.00 in addition to the monthly fee. And every year they charge a continuation fee of about the same amount. Why a membership continuation fee? Who knows but it makes them money. I was very pissed when I read the contract and found out they were hitting me with that continuation fee while still collecting the membership dues each month. I just felt it was sneaky business and nickle-and-diming members but they must make a bundle doing it. To be sure it’s not going back into improving Planet Fitness services, at least not in Glenmont. [Editor’s Note: Confirming this.]

Like so many things in the Albany, New York, area, the scams and the substandard services are everywhere, ranging from local government to hospitality, to even health and fitness facilities that are anything but healthy. Our recommendation: Ask your club management if they’ve seen this article and what they’ve done to correct the issues our reader complains of. If you don’t get the right answers, try Best Fitness.

Sign appearing at Planet Fitness locations.
The only judgment-free we can find is that it is free of any good judgment.

As one reader puts it: When God created the world the angels were handing out smiles but by the time they got to Albany they had run out of smiles so they started handing out assholes. That may explain a lot of things.

Click the Image Above to Read Ratings.
Similar impressions from around the country!

[Editor’s Note: There are a total of more than 770 ratings of PF on the above “Consumer Affairs” Site, 142 of which were made in the past 12 months.]

Watch These Other Videos about Planet Fitness!

We’ve reviewed these videos and they are right on target:

5 reasons to AVOID PLANET FITNESS

This is a reasonably honest portrayal of Planet Fitness by a gym bro. Listen closely; he makes a lot of sense. This video made me want to explore the many, many exposés of Planet Fitness on YouTube.

The DARK SECRETS of Planet Fitness (Ex-Employee) Exposed

If you cut through the BS, you will get an idea of the type of manager and employees at Planet Fitness. Managers with fake personalities. Cliques among employees. You pay peanuts you get monkeys. Again we hear about employees doing their own things and not paying attention. This guy reveals some facts but is a typical Planet Fitness employee. The last several minutes are really hitting the nail on the head.

My! Second Planet Fitness Experience

This is a sequel to the “5 Reasons” video above. The narrator gives PF a second chance but PF fails again. This guy points out some obvious but over looked PF BS.

When you look around PF, any PF, you see how little they care and how arbitrary their “polices” are and how useless their employees are! One reveiwer summarized PF as:

“Planet Fitness is a business…They are making a lot of money …They don’t care about members’ well-being.”

You can check out alternative health and fitness centers below:

Capital District YMCA Locations

Best Fitness

Vent Fitness Locations

Albany Strength (Real Bodybuilders’ Gym)