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  • COMMENTARY: Death, Taxes And The Damn Gym Membership

    Benjamin Franklin once said in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy that “nothing in this world can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

    However, in 1789 there were no Planet Fitness’, 24 hour fitness or Retro gyms. Benjamin enjoyed his booze and ladies but he was not known to be vigorous in his physical exercise.

    225 years later if Franklin was alive he would have to amend his statement to, “nothing in this world can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and your damn gym membership.”

    Have any of you ever tried to cancel your gym membership? Were you successful or is your credit card still getting hit as you read this? The ugly and vicious truth is that you can get divorced or enlist in the military much easier than canceling your membership.

    Why is it so hard to cancel your membership?

    One word: lawyers.

    Every day in this country more and vaguer codes, rules, laws and statutes are written by legislators in Congress. Most congressmen are lawyers; lawyers love regulating every god damn thing in your life.

    Most lawyers are democrats and democrats love big Government

    Every day government lawyers write more tedious and mundane codes that will affect millions of American’s lives in countless and horrific ways. Sadly, most Americans are not even aware of these additions. Historian David Barton says if you take the U.S code as it exists right now and read 700 pages a week of it you could be done reading all the U.S codes in 25,000 YEARS.  4000 new laws become federal law every year.

    That means every day there are 11 new laws. Authors Harvey Silverglate and Alan Dershowitz estimate that the average American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it!

    Prosecutors in today’s society identify defendants to go after instead of finding a law that was broken and figuring out who did it. More regulations mean more lawyers and more prosecutions. No citizen can keep up with all these new rules, codes, statutes and laws.  John Baker, a retired LSU law professor, has said,” There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime…THAT IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION.”

    If Americans are oblivious to all the laws they are breaking daily it then makes sense why they sign Gym contracts and have no clue it will take a miracle or death to get out of it.

    Did you read the lengthy, onerous and duplicitous 15 page contract before you signed it? Did you read it when it was sent to you by email in a PDF document later that day when you first signed? Of course you didn’t!

    Nobody but lawyers ever read the gym contract when signing up. If you did read it the contract I can assure you that you would not be joining the gym any time soon. This might explain why every government lawyer I know is obese; they never sign gym contracts because they know what an awful contract and deal it is and probably helped write up that hellish agreement.

    To cancel your membership in 99 percent of gyms you must either move 25 miles away from the health club or an AFFILIATED HEALTH CLUB.  This means you will never get out of your contract for moving because it is impossible to move anywhere on the east and west coast and not see another damn 24 hour fitness or Retro gym within 25 miles.

    These big gym chains are like Starbucks, 7-11 or McDonalds in that you cannot go a block without seeing another location.  Also, 25 miles is a huge distance! 25 miles in LA, NYC or DC can mean a two hour drive! The nasty truth is the gym industry doesn’t care about traffic or your suffering when it comes to canceling your contract. In 99 percent of the gyms you sign up with you must provide a copy of your mortgage or lease and electric bill to prove you moved more than 25miles away from an affiliated gym. Then after you get your mortgage and electric bill you have to send copies of them with a certified and registered letter asking for your membership to be canceled. If you do not do this 15 days before the next billing date you will be charged another month.

    What if you get hurt or even die?

    Surely you can get out of your gym membership if you break your back, have eye surgery or tear your MCL? In 99 percent of gyms you must have a permanent disability that is fully described and confirmed by two physicians. A permanent disability? What if I lose both my legs in a motorcycle accident, do I really need two doctor’s notes to cancel my membership?

    Does losing one eye qualify me to cancel my membership or do I have to go legally blind to get out of my gym contract?  Does Ebola or Zika virus constitute a permanent disability? What if I lose one arm riding a roller-coaster at Great Adventure over Memorial day weekend? Is losing one arm a permanent disability? If it is do I need two doctor’s notes to prove I have a reason to cancel my gym membership? In 99 percent of gyms    you have to send a certified and registered letter with your doctor’s notes 15 days before the next billing date to cancel the membership. Quite an Arduous task for a blind guy with Ebola or no arms and legs!

    “Nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes.”

    So what happens if you die? Can the gym really keep charging your card and estate if you have hit the bucket? In 99 percent of gyms a death certificate is required for cancellation in case of death. Also in the fine print 99 percent of gyms say  “ they have the right to retain the portion of the total contract price representing the services plus reimbursement for expenses incurred in an amount not to exceed 30 % of the total contract price.”

    That is lawyer talk for saying if you die you still have to pay for a third of the year!

    If you have the audacity to dare and expire before your contract expires with the gym then your loved ones must send the death certificate to gym in a certified and registered mail 15 days before the next billing statement.

    So there you have it folks; liberal lawyers have now made it that, “Nothing in this world is certain but death, taxes and you paying your damn gym membership.”


    Michael Karolchyk

    Michael Karolchyk is currently the CEO of Spartacus Strategies.Spartacus Strategies controls and operates the Personal training, branding and marketing of over 20 health clubs throughout the United States. Michael is the creator of Spartacus Strategies’ patented goddess program which has made more women SEXY goddesses than any other fitness program in the world.

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