"NOT A Healthy Place"
Noise Pollution from Multiple Sources, Poor Climate Control, Radio Interference, Promotion of Tobacco Use in Videos,
Water Fountains Not Functioning, Unfriendly/Unhelpful Personnel, Threatening Clientele,
Strange Unhealthy Policies Concerning the Use of Gym Fans,
No Written or Verbal Response to These Numerous Complaints
I joined Gold's Gym in September 2006 when I moved to Austin. The closest Gold's Gym to my place of residence is the Lincoln Village location right off I-35. The place seemed fine at first. However, as I have gotten to know the place, this particular location seems to be fairly unhealthy and unfriendly to various situations and feedback.
Approximately 2 months ago during the colder months of the year, I noticed that at the peak hours of 5-7 PM, the door to the aerobics room was kept open. The loud music and amplified vocal commands of the aerobics instructor are allowed to fill the rest of the gym. Therefore in addition to the music in the gym, the sounds of about 100 pieces of exercise equipment and people having to talk/yell over the din, there is music and loud commands that have nothing to do with the rest of the gym. The sound decibels must be very high. I cannot even drown this out with my headphones and music player without blasting my ears out. This is unnecessary noise pollution which clearly is not healthy or pleasing.
I complained to the front desk personnel. This kind person actually closed the door for me, but within minutes the door was reopened. I then complained to someone at a higher level (Tonya). Tonya mentioned that she had not noticed this, and that no one else had complained. She investigated it briefly and stated that due to the poor air conditioning in this older facility that it was necessary to keep the door open for ventilation. However, when I joined in August, when the temperature was 110 deg F outside, this door was not kept open. I emailed the gym through their website 2 weeks ago, requesting a response to this issue, and, of course, there has been no response. I have spoken with a few other patrons who feel the same way about the noise. I have notice one woman clutching her headphones to her ears to drown out the din. I have observed patrons yelling at each other to carry on a conversation.
A related issue recently appeared. I try to listen to public radio while I am at the gym to keep up with world affairs while I am keeping my body in shape. One week ago my ability to do so was lost when Gold's evidently switched on their FM transmitters which allow patrons to watch TV with sound through their own FM receivers. The TV set labeled "92.8" transmits on that channel but blankets the entire radio spectrum down to 90.3 (kut radio) with interference. I don't have a problem with the system as it is planned, but to unnecessarily blank out the public radio station due to poor quality implementation is appalling. So now I cannot even cover up the din of the aerobics room with a public radio broadcast. I have not yet reported this to the gym. I plan on doing so, but based on my previous experience, I doubt there will be any resolution.
The bottomline is that if you want a dirty, dark, unfriendly, noisy gym where you cannot listen to the radio, go no further than the Gold's Gym in Lincoln Village in Austin, Texas. I plan on finding another gym as soon as possible. As a City of Austin employee and as a physician, I do not plan on recommending Gold's Gym to my colleagues or patients.
5-11-2007 There has been little change and no answer to 2 emails via the website. A new wrinkle is the lack of a cool environment as spring ends and summer heat begins in Austin. The thermostat appears to be set at 80 degrees F which is about 6 degrees warmer than I keep my house and I don't run or lift weights in my house. The Lincoln Village Gold's Gym continues to lead the way in cutting corners to the disadvantage of the customer. As soon I can find an alternative, I will be out of there. One good thing is that the TV interference of KUT radio has abated. At least I can tune out all the noise at the gym with something intelligent like NPR.
5-20-2007 It is difficult to know if this is purposeful or even related to my complaints. However, the aerobics room door has been closed on both of the weekdays that I went to Lincoln Village. However, on one of these days, the music played overhead in the general gym was so loud, it interfered with my ability to listen to my portable player. Overall, the situation is somewhat better. I know that other people must have complained as my in person and email complaints seemed to have no effect at the time.
8-4-2007 The situation has improved somewhat. The place is still too dark. Temperature control is poor. I think its a bit on the hot and stuffy side for a gym. The fans behind 50 treadmills are on a switch at the front, and one must ask the staff to turn them on. Once I was informed that I must ask everyone else on the treadmills before the fans could be turned on. I tried to explain how difficult it would be to take a poll of people who were exercising as to whether they thought the fan should go on; however, the staff didn't seem to understand my logic. The place still has a lot of older, even dangerous exercise equipment with sharp edges. The staff are still pretty aloof. However, the ability to listen to KUT, the University of Texas, public radio station has been restored. I doubt my emails had anything to do with this. Also the aerobics room is generally closed off, but there are exceptions when the door is opened and the aerobics noise gets into the gym. And although I know that hip hop is popular, I really don't think that that type of music is very appropriate for a general audience at the gym. All of the music and noise still tends to be on the very loud side.
Update 8-11-2007 Yesterday, at
approximately 7:00 PM I want to the Lincoln Village Gold's. As I
entered the young blonde employee had her back to the door and did
not turn around as I entered and said nothing.
And as I left the gym, the young blonde woman still had her back to the door and said nothing as I left. Perhaps, just perhaps, Gold's needs to rethink their hiring practices.
Update 8-26-2007 For the last 2-3 weeks all three water coolers in the gym have not produced any cool or cold water. They deliver only warm water to drink. I have complained 3 times to the personnel at the front desk and it seems to be a new complaint each time I repeat it. I was told that it has to do with the mall in which the club is housed. However, my understanding is that each cooler has its own refrigerating unit. How likely is it for all three refrigerator units to become nonfunctional simultaneously? I find it bizarre that the club cannot fix the problem over a 2-3 week window. Clearly it is unacceptable to not have cool water to drink in a health club. The only cool water that is available is for purchase. Perhaps this is a subterfuge to force clientele to purchase bottled water? If not resolved in the next week, I will complain to the BBB. This morning I emailed Customer Care and the Lincoln Village email address that I have.
Update 12-7-2007 See below for a string of problems that the Lincoln Village Gold's Gym has presented over the past year or so.
The latest issue has to do with my simply asking to have the only fan directly behind the treadmills turned on. The fan is located directly over and behind 33 treadmill machines. The temperature and humidity in Austin and particularly at Gold's are pretty high; I would estimate that they keep the gym in mid to upper 70's. Before getting on the treadmill machine, I went to the front desk to ask that the fan be turned on. The young lady refused and said that I would need to ask the other people on the treadmills whether they would mind that the fan be turned on. I told her that I had no intention of interrupting several people's workout just to turn a fan on. She stated that this was policy and that I could speak to a manager. I told her that if a survey or poll of the treadmill clientele had to be done, then an employee should do it. I stated that I did not come to Gold's to take my time to systematically poll each person on the treadmill and then tally the results just to have a fan turned on. Another employee came up and supported the first one and told me that if I had used the energy that I had been using to request that the fan be turned on to survey the other folks on the treadmills that by now the fan could have been turned on.
The manager than walked up and stated that the fan policy was indeed not a policy but a courtesy. He did not explain what the difference between a forced courtesy and a policy was. Nor could he really clarify what would happen if the survey was taken and the results came out mixed with some folks wanting the fan on, some not wanting it on and some abstaining.
The main problems I have with this enforced "courtesy" are as follows:
1. I have to take my time to ask up to 33
people on the treadmills whether they will consent to have the fan
turned on. If this is an issue, an employee should take their
time to find out for the customer.
Update 4-20-2008: This is the worst experience I have ever had a gym. I have been going to gyms for over 25 years.
Gold's is basically a place for thugs to work and to workout.
Today I came to Gold's at about 11:00 AM. I did some
light weights and then decided to treadmill.
Update 6-7-2008: Planet Fitness here I come.
Today I joined Planet Fitness during their presale drive for members. I was member number 420. They promise a "non-intimidating" atmosphere. After the incident below, that's pretty much what I need. It opens in August, so I have a couple more months to go at Lincoln Village Gold's. You can find out more about Planet Fitness by clicking on the name in this sentence. They have great hours (24 hours after the first of the year), lower prices than Gold's during this special intro, the music will not be hip-hop or loud, the place will be brightly lit, and I've been promised that the environmental control will be better.
No doubt, even though my membership was sold to me as "month-by-month" at Gold's, I anticipate a fight getting out from underneath the Gold's Gym business juggernaut. I'll detail that here as it happens. If necessary I'll just stop payment to them via the credit card I used.
Based on my experiences, I expect Gold's at Lincoln Village and the one on 183 to take big membership hits from PF.
I am going to let my friends, colleagues, and patients know about the way that I was treated at Gold's at Lincoln Village.
My experience is not unique. Check out Gold's Gym Sucks for lots more complaints.
Update: 6-8-2008: The Thug Life at Lincoln Village
Hey the latest is even more funny and sad. I got on a leg machine the other day, and the trainer next to the machine grabbed the weights and said that his client was using the machine, even though the trainer and the client were just standing by the machine. He told me that his client was paying (to which I replied that I PAID to workout there too) and that he would throw me out of the gym if I didn't get off the machine. I told him I would do one set and get off. He allowed me to do this, and then I said I was sorry for delaying his client in her circuit. What a thug life at Gold's!
Something happens every time I go now.
Coincidentally or not, the clientele seems to be becoming proportionately more African American and their staff is too. Do they avoid hiring Caucasians or do white people just not apply to work there? I can understand why people who lack the thug instinct would avoid this place.
Update: 6-14-2008 Apology
I walked into Gold's today and immediately ran into the "gentleman" that had acted rudely on 4-20-08. He was on his cell phone but approached me as I was entering with his hand out to shake mine. I shook his hand and he said "apologize" as he was on the phone. I was shocked and happy by this turn of events. However, I wonder if he is going to try to work for Gold's and doesn't want customers around who might cause dissent with his employment. I may be off base there but I tend to wonder what brought this change of heart around. Of course, I will not find out from him.
Update: 10-25-2008 Leaving Gold's - fraudulent credit card charges
I am no longer a member of Gold's Gym as of mid-September 2008; however, as I have read on numerous other sites, Gold's Gym attempted to charge my card for another month despite having paid the last month in advance AND acquiring the documentation that is required to cancel the membership. As soon as I noticed the fraudulent charge from Gold's, I contacted my credit card and contested it. Sayonara Gold's. From start to finish this place seems toxic to me: noise pollution, unfriendly personnel, poor lighting, warm water from the "coolers", crowding, old equipment, sharp edges on equipment, broken equipment, and thug members. Gold's is the perfect gym for thugs in my opinion.
Planet Fitness would likely NOT accept many of the members from Gold's. It is a quiet, well-lit, large, clean space with state of the art machines. They discourage all the things that Gold's promotes including thug members, loud grunting, dropping weights, cell phone use, and loud music. Please check them out at http://www.planetfitness.com
Also, Planet Fitness is responsive to customer feedback. This is something else about Gold's that really sucked. I sent them information about all the problems above, and I never heard a word in reply.
Did I mention that Planet Fitness is half the price of Gold's????
If karma is real and the economic downturn continues, Gold's may indeed get their just desserts.
Adios Gold's. Hola Planet Fitness!!!!!
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