Why I quit the gym today: a very true story.
Today, at Planet Fitness – Salem, MA, I hopped on a treadmill and instantly noticed something shiny in the cup-holder. It was a ring. It was a really gorgeous ring. It was a really gorgeous ring from Tiffany’s. I thought to myself, “Woah—someone is totally losing their mind right now looking for this ring.” So, I did what I believe most other people would do; I hopped off the treadmill, ring in hand, and went to the front desk. I explained the situation to the girl at the desk: “I found this ring, blah, blah, blah, it’s gorgeous, blah, blah, blah, can I leave my name and number with you so that if the owner returns, she can call me, describe the ring and I can then return it to her?”
The girl—let’s call her Rolly Eyes—rolls her eyes (shocker!) and says, “No. You have to leave it here.”
I know right away that I am not letting go of this ring. I found this ring. I am its keeper now. I would be devastated if I had lost it. Call me crazy but I truly felt that it was my personal responsibility to make sure this ring was returned to its rightful owner. I could NOT just pass on this responsibility to the entire staff of Planet Fitness. That would entail too much risk—it could be misplaced, stolen, thrown away—who knows! Seriously, Rolly Eyes, can I just leave my name and number?!
Rolly Eyes insisted that I couldn’t. I delicately explain to Rolly Eyes that I would rather hold onto it. It’s very valuable and I wouldn’t want to leave it at this gym in the care of whoever comes in after she leaves. Small things are easily lost—hence how it came to be lost in the first place. That’s pretty reasonable thinking, right?
She said the ring would not be left at the desk. It would end up in a safe. She was pretty irritated with me at this point. I was asking questions about the safe— you know, totally ridiculous things, like…
“Who has access to the safe?”
“Uhhh the manager.”
“Oh, good–is he here? Can I talk to him?”
“Uhhhh no. He’s not here.”
“No? Then how will the ring get in the safe?”
“Uhhh I’ll put it in the safe.”
“But I thought no one could access the safe?”
“Uhhh I can put it in the safe.”
“Okay, but that directly contradicts what you just…”
“Our policy is to put it in the safe. So you have to give it to me.”
I am all for respecting policies, but there is no way in hell I was giving up this ring under such uncertainty. At this point, I needed a breather from this delightful customer service representative.
I told her plainly, “Look, I’m flustered—I’m going to think about the right thing to do while I run on the treadmill. Okay? I’ll be back in twenty minutes or so.”
Rolly Eyes gave me her best eye roll yet, and said “Uhhhhhh okkaaaaaayyyy….” and then went back to ignoring me.
I hopped back on my treadmill and started running. I was weighing the options in my mind. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I was right; I am responsible for this ring. I am going to find its owner. This isn’t some misplaced iPod or driver’s license. This is a lovely ring. Jewelry is special– it holds sentimental value, and as fate would have it, I came to be the guardian of this value.
I decided that when I was done running, I would tell Rolly Eyes firmly, “I am leaving with this ring. I will gladly give you my name and phone number. I will return in an hour with printed flyers for the locker room…”
I was mid-thought when I noticed a frantic girl darting from treadmill to treadmill, searching in the cup-holders. I pulled my earphones out and called to her, “Hey! Hey!…” She came running over.
“Oh my God! Do you have it?! My ring!? My ring?!” she said.
“Yes!” I was thrilled! She was thrilled! The ring was returned. The poor girl was literally CRYING tears of joy.
I’ll admit I felt pretty good in that moment. That girl was so relieved, so thankful. I was glad I hadn’t forked the ring over to Rolly Eyes and I was also pretty relieved that this dilemma was no longer a dilemma at all. I finished running and decided that before I hit the locker room, I should at least tell Rolly Eyes about this recent development.
I walked over to the desk. Rolly Eyes was sitting on the floor behind the desk and texting. I just kind of stared at her, amazed, until another employee stepped up to the counter. Normally this particular employee would be named Friendly Check-In Guy but his name has since been changed to The Patronizer.
He was cold—not his typical smiling self. I figured Rolly Eyes had gotten to him.
“Hi, I was here twenty minutes ago. I had found a ring in the cup-holder of one of the treadmills…”
He nodded like he knew the story, so I cut to the chase.
“The girl came back; I gave her the ring, so everything is fine now.”
“Hmm…” he said. His lips pursed, his head cocked ever so doubtfully to the side. “Just send her up here so we can talk to her.”