Truly the dirtiest gym I've ever belonged to, and I've belonged to a lot of gyms. The locker room is really disgusting, like, afraid-to-touch-any-surfaces disgusting. Its floor is always littered with tons of trampled, dirty paper towels and yet, paradoxically, there are never paper towels in the dispensers. The hot tub is rimmed by an oily brown foam with hair and bandaids in it. The showers have hot water 50% of the time. The worst was two weeks ago: I arrived on a Saturday morning and there was feces in one of the shower stalls. Someone had actually defecated in an open shower. I told a staff member and he said, “Yeah, we know.” When I left the gym two hours later the feces was STILL THERE! It was a Saturday, in the middle of the day, and the gym was fully staffed. I counted four employees sitting in the office at the front of the gym shooting the breeze.
I had finally had enough, and called to cancel my membership (you can’t do it at the actual gym; Bally’s is the only gym I’ve ever belonged to who has that policy). When I joined, the trainer who signed me up had been dismissive about canceling one’s membership. He said something like, “Oh you just have to pay an early-termination penalty, it’s like fifty bucks or something.” That’s about what it was when I had canceled my membership at 24-Hour Fitness, so I didn’t give it a second thought.
When I called Bally's corporate to cancel the woman I talked to wanted FOUR HUNDRED NINE DOLLARS. What the Hell? I asked if there was any way to reduce or nullify the cancellation penalty. After all, I wasn’t quitting on some whim: they had failed to hold up their end of the bargain by being a viable place to work out. She said they could reduce the penalty to $250, but that it would go down as a “debt settlement” and that it would negatively affect my credit score.
So now I’m stuck. I wish I could join a different gym, but I can’t really afford to pay for two gyms at once, and can’t afford the 400-dollar cancellation penalty right now. The amount of money involved isn’t really enough that it would be worthwhile to hire an attorney. I guess I’ll just keep paying.
I feel the farmer who’s bitten by the snake in the Aesop fable, and the snake says, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.” Only I didn't know. I didn't even know there were gyms like this. But you do! Please: don't ever join Bally's. They are the sleazy loansharks of the fitness business. They'll make it seem really easy; they'll make it sound really cheap. Well, it's really cheap for a reason, and by the time you realize why it'll be too late: they'll have you in their clutches for a 3-year contract. Don't go down that road. DON'T JOIN BALLY'S.
Pros: Relatively cheap
Cons: Filthy; lazy staff; deceptive membership practices