Georgina Guedes

Pay up or get out!

2014-01-31 14:00

Georgina Guedes

I recently signed up with a personal trainer. The reasons for this are not the point of this column - I find other people's exercise and dieting stories so mindbogglingly uninteresting that they make me want to lie down and eat chocolate in defiance, so I won't inflict the same on you.

I like my trainer very much. She's friendly and understanding (but still as mean as a snake when I'm not doing lifting my arm high enough, or whatever), but when I signed up with her, she gave me a list of payment conditions about a mile long.

I'm not offended by this kind of thing. I run a small business myself, and I believe that it's important to state all the contractual requirements of a relationship upfront so that everyone knows what they’re in for.

Nasty people

So when my trainer painstakingly explained her rules - for example that I had booked a specific bi-weekly slot, not half an hour at any time - it made me sad because I could tell that this kind of stipulation was born from years of experience with nasty clients.

Which brings me to my actual point: The world is full of awful people. My personal trainer has had to make a set of rules that fly in the face of her accommodating nature because people can be truly revolting.

What makes it worse in her case is that she isn’t some nameless corporation with a fraud budget to eat up her losses (not that that would make it OK). The money that people pay her for their monthly gym sessions is the money that she uses to feed her kids or pay for their schooling.

They never intended to pay in the first place

I hear so many stories of people getting suppliers in to do a job and then never paying them. I’ve had fortunately very few of these experiences myself, but when I have, they’ve hurt me directly - not my balance sheet or my bottom line, but my actual personal income, the money I use to make my life work.

I can’t fathom the mentality that allows people to get into a situation where they’re not going to pay what they owe, but will benefit from the other person’s hard work until they are challenged. I find it difficult to understand how people can go through life using that approach. How do they sleep at night?

So, when I sign my trainer’s little book after each session so that she can prove to me, if she needs to, that I was actually at my session, I do so willingly because I know two things: She has to ask this of all her clients because some have let her down, and she won’t ever have to use that book on me (unless she’s spanking me with it because I’m not lifting my arm high enough).

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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