Dear Mr Johnson

While I admire the sentiment of ‘five star service’ at your gym, I wonder whether the young man on your reception desk at 10am this morning had actually been trained to deliver ‘no star service’ – in which case, may I confirm, that he must have passed with flying colours.

The ‘no star service’ which he delivered so admirably, must surely contain the following elements:

1. If you are on the phone when the customer arrives at the reception desk (to have her card swiped, as her ‘home club’ is elsewhere), give no indication that you have seen her or the membership card that she is holding. Make no eye contact, do not smile, just continue to mutter into the phone. If you ignore her and perhaps she will give up and go away.

2. When a further 3 customers arrive at the desk, treat them in the same way.

3. When, finally, you have put the phone customer on hold, while you await a colleague (and after 2 minutes or so have passed), you may still ignore all customers waiting at the desk and when the first customer (ie: me), hands you her card and asks politely, “Can you swipe my card, please?” take it grudgingly, without a smile or without saying a word, swipe the card and hand it back.

4. At this point you may also deliver a GLOWER.

If this prompts the customer to say “Is this five star service, because it doesn’t feel like it?” don’t concern yourself – she will have stomped up the stairs, without waiting for an answer, to continue the rest of her visit to your gym in a very bad mood.

Which, because I was in a bad mood, lead me to notice that a) there was no sign indicating that the outdoor pool was closed – just cones and a shut gate and I had to ask 2 members of staff before it was confirmed that yes, it was closed and b) on using the indoor pool it quickly became apparent that the lanes are too narrow. If there are more than 2 of you swimming in a lane, when you pass each other, there is a severe danger of getting a kick in the stomach or a swipe on the head. (Have you tried swimming in your lanes when it is busy? I suggest you try it). All of which defeats the object of the exercise – ie: to have a relaxing swim.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Helen Yendall