Garcon, Treadmill For One!

Be sure to tip your maitre d’ sweat.

The world is facing a cataclysmic problem.  The supply of essential resources will shortly be woefully inadequate to meet demand.  How will we allocate those resources?  Why have pundits been strangely silent on this burning question?

Or course I’m talking about our soon-to-be-scarce treadmill resources.

When I head to the YMCA tonight, I’ll have my pick of treadmills.   High supply, low demand.  Come next week that will no longer be true.  That’s when everyone’s New Year’s resolutions kick in.  Same supply, high demand.

Next week there won’t be a parking spot anywhere near the Y. You’ll have to slog a mile through the snow to get to the door.

When you finally get in, you won’t be able to move because of the 8,000 kids running around, hopped-up on soda pop and too much Christmas vacation.  While I suspect that their mothers are using the Y as free daycare, I recognize that most also have a noble motive.  To prevent murder.  Which said mothers are sure to commit if they are stuck in the house, just one more day, with their little darlings.

Worst of all, there won’t be an empty treadmill to be found.

I know that everyone who pays their dues at the gym is entitled to use the facilities.  But what about those who paid their dues twice – once in dollars, and once in sweat?

I’m not claiming to be Jacqueline LaLanne – far from it.   But I, and others like me, have been loyal.  And I say to you, is it fair that faithful customers will be stuck on the sidelines while Flabbies-Come-Lately get all the treadmills?

What is the best way to allocate our precious treadmill resources?

Let’s look at techniques used by other industries.

Airlines use frequent flyer miles to give rewards, including special lines at the ticket counter.  This gets the preferred customer through the check-in process quickly.  The YMCA could set up something like that.  You scan your ID card when getting on the treadmill and earn frequent walker miles.  Once you hit a certain number of miles, you get rewards.  Like being able to kick January Jills (or Johns) off the treadmill of your choice.

Fine restaurants have to allocate a limited number of tables.  They use a free-market approach to determine who gets in and where they sit.  Their control is the maitre d’.   His criteria?  How much you tip.

This could work in the gym.  Treadmills would be controlled by the maitre d’sweat.  What you get is determined by what you pay.

If your gym is laid out like mine, the following might be a good guide for tipping the maitre d’ sweat.

  • $0 – No tip = no treadmill.  Remember the 8,000 screaming, running kids?   The “I paid my dues so I’m not tipping” mentality gets you an exciting, roller-derby experience with them on the indoor track.
  • $3 – gets a treadmill in the first 2 rows.  You’ve got the workout necessities, but none of the luxuries.  TVs are mounted from the ceiling and only show reruns of “Two And A Half Men”.  The sound is tuned to Bowling Highlights.
  • $5 – gets a treadmill in the 3rd row.  Now you’ve got your own little TV mounted on the treadmill.  The drawback is everyone in the 4th row is watching your butt jiggle through the workout.
  •  $10 – gets a spot in the coveted 4th row.  This has all the benefits of the 3rd row, but with no treadmills behind you to observe your butt jiggle.  Only the free-weights room is back there, and that doesn’t matter.  The guys in there are too hardcore to be interested in any butts except their own.

But it isn’t always about supply and demand, dollars and cents.

An Italian restaurant in New York always kept a table ready for Frank Sinatra.  The oyster house in Boston kept JFK’s table empty.   These weren’t moneymaking schemes.  It was about respect.

So, too, at the Y.   The last treadmill in the last row will have a brass plaque and a velvet rope around it.  The plaque will proclaim that this treadmill is to be used by only the rarest and most special patron:

“Reserved for those who worked out the week BEFORE Christmas”.

I hope this post from the vault helps inspire you with your New Year’s workout resolution!

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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59 Responses to Garcon, Treadmill For One!

  1. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    OH, how funny and sensible! You are so right. But have no fear. Those guilt-ridden revelers will last all of a week with their new resolution to get the weight off and then they’ll head back to the couch. You can wait them out. Come January 8, the gym will be so quiet you can hear sweat drop.

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  2. Paula's Paradise says:

    Very wise … and funny! The all-year treadmillers definitely deserve preferred “Frequently Dewy” status (that’s a southern belle expression where people don’t perspire, they get “dewy”). Happy New Fitness Year!

    Like

  3. Janu says:

    Most of the “Flabby-Come-Latelies” will drop off by mid-January. I cringe when the FCL’s invade the weight machines. They slam the weights, hyper-extend, and their form is pathetic. I just keep my head down, and my mouth shut, knowing that they too, will soon disappear.

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  4. Hold out for another week. I just heard on the news that January is the lowest attendance month at gyms. I’m thinking it’s because everyone rushes to the gym during the last week in December, scared out of their minds after what they just consumed during Christmas, exhausts themselves/expires, then comes to their senses in January and goes back to sloth as usual.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      What??? I thought the opposite would be true – that Jan would have the most attendance. Sure seems like it at the Y, but that may just be because of all the kids on vaca who are running around screaming and generally annoying everyone.

      Like

  5. notquiteold says:

    Here’s another possible criteria: The newer your outfit, the longer your wait.

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  6. Sandy Sue says:

    Yes, this is definitely the worst week at the Y. No scheduled classes (so you’re on your own to do the right thing), the FCLs and the sugar-crack-head kids. Luckily, most of the annoyances are still in bed when I go at 6:00. Just me and the hard bodies doing laps in the pool. Makes a girl feel so virtuous!

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  7. Big Al says:

    Right on the button Peg (as usual). But Big Al has the solution.

    We must organize the “treadmill occupiers”. All the “Y” regulars should get together and plan times that all of us will occupy the treadmills. The calendar will be posted online. As soon as one occupier’s shift is over, another is ready to step up and start stepping out. Our motto will be “treadmill snobs of the world unite!”

    The FCLs will give up quickly. In fact, they will probably thank us for usurping their one week of hell this year.

    Or, we could just stay home and finish eating those Christmas cookies. Either way.

    Like

  8. Lenore Diane says:

    Ah, preventing murder. A very noble motive indeed.
    Go ahead, Peg – take a shot of the gym tomorrow morning and compare it to Tuesday of next week. Having had a gym membership (and having used it religiously), what you describe is accurate. (And funny, when viewed from a treadmill.) This is a priceless post that you can use year after year. I think the idea of a roped off treadmill with a brass plaque is a fantastic idea. Truly.

    Like

  9. Hey, now wait just a goshdern minute! Is this post about me? It is, isn’t it! Hmph.
    Well, I take umbrage now. I am a flabby-come-lately. I have kids hyped up on sugar. I am using the Y as free daycare! I deserve a 4th row spot, because trust me, you don’t want to be subjected to my butt wiggle, it ain’t a pretty sight…and I too will drop out of sight by Feb 1st, so make way, Peg-o-legicious!

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    • pegoleg says:

      Ok, Ok, don’t start hitting me with your umbrella! YOU can have the treadmill but, I warn you, you don’t really go anywhere, so if you want to escape the kids you may want to consider actual running out in the world, Darjeeling.

      Like

      • Huh. I never thought of that, Pegolego. Yeah, what would be the point if I can’t escape? Maybe if I could somehow rig up a way to dangle a chocolate sprinkled doughnut in front of my machine, just out of reach, I’d have more incentive?

        p.s. Darjeeling is the best name so far, love it!

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          Now THAT’s inspired. Only a donkey would go after a carrot – a chocolate sprinkled donut is a much better incentive.
          p.s. Thanks! I thought that name fit you to a tea.

          Like

  10. Margie says:

    I solved the treadmill issue – I bought one and put it in the basement. I’ve got my own TV down there too! And when I’m not using it, the grandchildren use the tread like it was a runway for toy airplanes. Fortunately they haven’t figured out how to turn it on or they would be launching all sorts of things for real…

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    • pegoleg says:

      I’ve done that before, but it ends up being the worlds most expensive clothes hanger. You must have extraordinary discipline to actually use the thing.

      Like

      • Margie says:

        No, not discipline. Laziness. Bundling up in winter clothes, cleaning the snow off the car, driving into the city, shedding the winter clothes, etc. It is just easier and takes far less time to just go downstairs and use the treadmill…

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  11. I do hate that. I really do hate January at the gym. You are absolutely right about everything you said (except the tipping part – I kinda think you shouldn’t have to pay your way to a treadmill when you pay in sweat all year). You know how I’m going to avoid all that? I’m not going to go to the gym in January. Hmph.

    Like

  12. Pingback: Another Ghost of My Blogging Past | Lenore Diane's Thoughts Exactly

  13. Tar-Buns says:

    Ah, time for the January mecca to all things get in shape! Do I join someplace in Mt. Pleasant, even though we are in winter and I work south of home. Someplace close to work would be the best option but not many options there. Should I think Wei (or WEEEEEEEEE!!! the game) for fitness fun with the Mr. at home? Yeah right. Snap out of it.
    Sigh. Pool at motel or Curves. Yikes.
    Good luck to us all.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I think Carolyn bought the Wii fitness/dance program – see how she likes it. And I would pay good, cash money to see you and your dear hubby sweatin’ to the oldies in your living room. 🙂

      Like

  14. Spectra says:

    An easy solution for getting those Flabby-Come-Latelys off the treadmill – baby oil on the handrails. After a few slips, slides and falls, they’re sure to give up. In fact, why not just squirt a few quarts of black motor oil on the rubber treads? Think of the hours of entertainment you’ll have, especially when those loud little kids hop on for a ride.

    I, for one, am taking a spool of red velvet rope down to the gym, with a big VIP TREADMILLER sign attatched to it, and I will cordon off my machine and, donning black Jackie O’ sunglasses and a scarf, sweat my way to svelte inner beauty. (despite the fact I haven’t been down there in months)

    Like

  15. Laura says:

    I have a stationary bike at home. There’s never a line, and I don’t have to spend time on transportation to or from a gym, so in theory it should be a really efficient workout routine. In practice, though, I think I spend an average of two hours of procrastination for every 30 minutes of working out. Reading this blog post was part of my pre-workout procrastination today, and it actually did spur me to get up off the couch a little sooner than I normally would have.

    Like

  16. Barb says:

    I had NOOOO idea anyone else felt this way. I grumble and mumble at all the newbies cluttering up the hallways and chatting away while sitting on the weight machines. Don’t they know it’s my job to gab and do anything except work out? I think we should get a discount for quantity attendance. Kind of like buying in bulk. Never fear…by Easter…the treadmills will be available again.

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  17. Okay, so I know this wasn’t the intended impact of your post, but it’s just occurred to me we have a YMCA not too far away from here! Up until this very moment, I’ve been thinking, “I’d get a gym membership, but I don’t like the only gym that’s close to here.”

    Yeah!

    My favorite job during college was the YMCA. I loved that place, and know exactly of what you speak here from both sides of the welcome desk. 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Great idea! You get moving, girl! Our local Y has really good daycare, so if yours does, Li’l D would be happy as a clam while you work out. I actually love the Y, although you couldn’t tell by how often I blast the place. I should have a separate category of posts set up for “Y Bitching”.

      Like

  18. I awarded you the Kreativ Blog award! 🙂 http://wp.me/p1jBAi-yc

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Aw, thanks so much! I must admit to being way too lazy and nonconformist to ever comply with all the mandatory requirements for awards, although I think I would make an exception if the Acadamy Awards gave me a jingle. Maybe.

      Like

      • Hi Peg, No problem. I know you were just Freshly Pressed — so you’ve your share of acknowledgments anyway! 🙂 But I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your humor and your blog.

        And I don’t go to the gym, so you won’t have to knock me over to get a parking spot. I prefer workout DVDs, so no one can see me. The only problem is my “warm-up” is so annoying it is sometimes all I do. That is, clearing a path free from Legos, matchbox cars and tiny doll brushes…

        Like

  19. Curly Carly says:

    So funny! I love your approach. Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening at my gym, so I’ll just help the gym community by not working out again until March. Sometimes you have to make personal sacrifices for the sake of others’ happiness.

    Like

  20. Carla says:

    Gotta love that 4th row, BUT, then You get the BUTT views. Most of those, are far worse. The snot coated murderous moms I feel for, but not bad enough to give up MY fav. equipment for. Tried the Wii at a friend’s. It was great to look like idiots together, but we had no one to make fun of but ourselves. This is a great blog!

    Like

  21. Some really funny stuff here, and obviously written by a real veteran of the YMCA. Thanks for the laughs! 🙂

    Like

  22. Pingback: Garcon, Treadmill For One! | Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings - Treadmill

  23. gojulesgo says:

    Ha! Yes, it sure did help…reinforce why I should stay far, far away from the gym (but I do feel your pain; I’ve been one of the ‘regulars’ in the past and the post-New Year’s crowd is maddening! At the YMCA in my hometown, they have a sign-in sheet and a 30-minute limit on treadmills!).

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Maybe we should go with the 30-minute limit. Hmmm. I was surprised by how many were there tonight, in the no-mans-land between Christmas and New Years. This is usually a week of no-workout-revelry.

      Like

  24. No treadmills?!
    But…
    where will l hang all my slightly damp / still drying laundry?!
    🙂

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  25. So true, up-tick in attendance at health clubs/wellness centers is both obvious and frustrating around the New Year. The only consolation is that all those resolutions last for a month, tops! 😉

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    • pegoleg says:

      That IS a consolation, which allows me to feel smugly superior. Although this morning, on New Year’s Eve, I was surprised at how crowded the gym was. Everyone’s trying to pre-work off tonight’s debauchery (like me.)

      Like

  26. egills says:

    About the only thing I’m subscribing to is a months worth of tissues ( or so it seems ). I might think about the gym when I can breathe… possibly… maybe… um. No I know I’m lying, but I did go for a nice long walk just after Christmas – through real fields 🙂

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