Celebrity Fitness stands out among Jakarta fitness club nonsense

What does a membership cost at Celebrity Fitness — the presumed third amigo in the Gold’s Gym (GG)/ Fitness First(FF)/ Celebrity Fitness (CF) triad?

We were were all carbed up with plenty of time to waste, so we popped into CF at Gandaria City, Indonesia’s newest fake city (still empty, kinda cool).

Perhaps it’s same around the world but at Jakarta fitness clubs there’s always two or three levels of hype before you get anywhere close to the true knowledge you seek. We’ve commented before on the fast-talking sales reps of the Jakarta gym world. And it’s true — if you’re rusty on automatic renewal and chargeback and can’t do long division in your head, then you better bring along your attorney in addition to your calculator and all your credit cards.  Even though all you want to know is:

  • What is the monthly fee (unless they offer 12 months)
  • Which fitness location can you use
  • How will you pay (do they insist on credit card)

Instead they’re going to dispose of your first 15 minutes trying to figure out which language to rip you off with — English or Indonesian (they’re equally proficient here). Next comes the “your fitness objectives” survey.  I told them straight up that I’d like to look like Ade Rai (pictured) and become a celebrity and we kept the whole ridiculous interchange to a very painful 10 minutes. I mean, unless they trying to cheat you (by charging you more than other members) why wouldn’t they just tell you the price of a membership?

Eventually they start throwing around numbers. But ya Allah it takes a long time and a lot of patience.  At the manager level they begin with the chicken scratch. This is good, since it means the denouement is just around the corner. It sets me up for my big question : May I take it  home (the scratch paper)?  Only a standardized multiple-choice testing proctor or voir dire attorney would refuse.

But no, you may not touch, handle, or carry away the perspiration-soaked scratch paper over which both elbows are positioned when you arm wrestle the sales rep at Celebrity Fitness  in Jakarta.  I tell you the paper has no value. It is marked with several geometric shapes but few words. I would say vaguely Masonic — with all due respect for the my Masonic forbears — but ultimately, just a distraction while they move in on the MasterCard.

Long story short, they are hiding the ball, pulling their punches — subjecting you to all this unsportsmanlike behavior, at the gym.

The first price they quote is a nice round Rp 999,000 per month. Of course that’s nonsense. But I swear they play poker. What a waste of time. No one pays those kind of prices at a fitness chains in Jakarta. (Although I admit that everyone may pay a slightly different price and that lets the sales rep feed his family). My understanding, based on feedback in the forums at Kaskus,  was that CF was positioned between FF and GG. And FF was right at Rp 500,000 the last time I signed up ( I think maybe they did a global 10% price hike in Jan 2011).

The second price point — where we folded and walked — was Rp 660,000  (per person per month) . Or perhaps I’m off by 6000 rupiah. Did the man have three of a kind? The mark of the beast?  It feels like numerology more than shopping.  And these per-month rates at tongue tip, while they claim they never offer contracts of lesser duration than 12 months.

And to reach chapter 2 in this cock-and-bull story about 60-d0llar-a-month ONE LOCATION fitness in Jakarta, they will need your passport, which they’ll photocopy. They’d like to verify that you aren’t a returning member is what they say. Because this promotion is for newcomers.

One step from me being locked into a 12-month automatically renewing agreement linked to my credit card and they won’t even tell me the price. I thought it was pretty bad. But I guess they treat members worse, so I got lucky there.

Would like to think they learned all this stuff in LA. Take it easy Instant Expat.

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