Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Planet Fitness: A Grammar-Free Zone

I joined Planet Fitness two months ago. It's been a great place to run and work out after my day shift, and even during the busiest times I have no trouble finding an open treadmill. It only costs a pocket of change per day, and I get free haircuts to boot from the stylist on staff. Yes, you read that right. I get free haircuts from my gym. I could even look like the Danish Danny Zuko over here if I asked for it.

Overall, it's been a great experience. The best I could ask for out of a gym. It's open all day and all night from Monday to Friday and has reasonable hours on the weekends.

But there's one tiny thing that has been driving me crazy for weeks now, and I finally decided to write about it.

See, Planet Fitness has this idea in mind where anyone in the world can come to their gyms. They attract the sharks that bite through a bench press and the whales who come up for air walking two on the treadmill.

It's an honorable venture. It works, too. I like going to a gym where most people are there to stay healthy or lose a few pounds. It's a positive atmosphere. And their motto reflects that:

Planet Fitness, the Judgement Free Zone.

They even copyrighted the phrase. (Probably because if you say judgement-free zone, it's supposed to have a dash because judgement-free is acting as a compound adjective, and they don't want to deal with the mess of proper grammar hence their own copyrighted version, the bastards).

And part of that judgement-free zone is trying to keep the body builders quiet and respectful. The big guys who GTL like (insert Guido name here) are still welcome at Planet Fitness, but only if they don't grunt, heave their weights to the floor or "judge" others.

If they do, an alarm goes off. There are sensors in the floor and supposedly something else that picks up on excessive noise. The alarm is a loud wavy noise, sort of like what you hear at some hockey rinks when a period ends.

And Planet Fitness has their own name for it: the lunk alarm.

But that's not what irks me. They can have whatever gimmicky noises they want while I'm there; I'm blastin' Empire State of Mind over and over again. I'm jammin' out mahn, with mah bass.

No, my problem is the definition for their made-up word and the ridiculous sentence they have beneath it.

As you can see from the photo, it's not at all Planet Fitness locations, but here's what it says at the one in Nashua:

Lunk (lunk) n. [slang]: one who grunts, drops weights or judges.

Then, in italics below:

[Ricky is slamming his weights, wearing a body building tank top and drinking out of a gallon water jug...what a lunk!]

This single sentence drives me crazy. First, as a minor aside, these Planet Fitness people have no fucking clue how to use a compound adjective. Body-building tank top. Seriously, I don't think even a full season of Schoolhouse Rock would save them. The CEO needs to take a lesson from my girlfriend and hire an English major on staff.

Second, read the sentence again. To me, it sounds like Ricky is just your average guy with a shitty name who likes to wear tank tops and has a dehydration problem. And maybe he likes to use the word slammin'. I see no evidence of grunting, dropping weights or judging.

If Planet Fitness is going to make up their funny-sounding slang words [note the correct use of the compound adjective] with definitions, they should at least be able to use them in a sentence correctly. All they're showing me with this line about Ricky is their own prejudice against gym rats and that they'd be really bad as National Spelling Bee judges.

Planet Fitness CEO: OK Shoshana, this is for the championship. Your word is, Hebrew.

Little Shoshana: Can I have the definition please?

Planet Fitness CEO: A member of the Semitic peoples inhabiting ancient Palestine and claiming descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Little Shoshana: Can you use it in a sentence please?

Planet Fitness CEO: That man over there counting his money is wearing a funny hat and has a hook nose...what a Hebrew!

Little Shoshana: F*** you.

And they have the nerve to call this place a judgement-free zone.

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