The Lifetime in Orland Park, IL canceled my membership of nearly 9 years. My almost nine years of pure dedication seemed like nothing to them!
Let me start by saying, I have never caused any problems at lifetime fitness, never any complaints or roomers about me in the 9 years that I've been a member. Many people I know have joined the Orland Lifetime Fitness health club because I was a member at that club. Everyone knew my name and always waved, shook my hand or said hello. I never complained, condemned or criticized the club or anyone else. My $60K car was scratched by a lawnmower, I never complained about it. I had to go to the Burr Ridge location for a week or two because of remodeling, backed into a spot and had a steel barb sticking out of the parking stop went through my bumper, never complained. I didn't complain when my son was hurt in child care or when other children taught him a swear words. At 3 years old a child taught him the F word and I was told by a worker it happened, my son was saying that word all the time for months, I never complained. I didn't even complain when my car was broken into during the day in the lot at the club! Many more situations occurred, I could have complained about but didn't. . I have never had a complaint about any of my children and never had been called to the child center for any reason.
Approximately 3 months prior to the cancellation of my Lifetime Fitness health club membership I had a situation where Stephanie Pekoz (child care worker) handed me a sheet of Xeroxed paper that said I was late to pick up my son from the daycare. The note said that if it happened again I would be suspended for two weeks from the club. I explained to her that all of the clocks were off by 5 min to 20 min each and some of them were even broke. Her reply was, "Yea, right, whatever" and she turned away from me. She had known me a long time. I felt she shouldn't talk to me or any patron in this manner.
Stephanie Pekoz has always been disrespectful towards me. After the way she had treated me with such disrespect, not listening to my point about the clocks were off etc. I had decided to call Lifetime Fitness corporation to complain about the clock time differences. In turn the lifetime fitness corp office gave me the phone number to Jim Scurto (the gm for Lifetime Fitness in Orland Park) and corp office apparently phoned the health club as well. I made several phone calls to Jim Scurto, finally I received a return call on my cell phone a day later, coincidentally I was at the club I told Jim Scurto I was at the club, he then went up to where I was working out and we discussed the situation. I explained and pointed at each clock, I said "look at these clocks, every clock is off from 5 min to 20 min and some do not work." I also talked to many people who had the same complaint"
Jim Scurto seemed very withdrawn and did not seem to care about my problem but smiled and looked in my eyes with a blank look as I spoke.
His reply was, "we have got a lot of complaints about this, and we are getting satellite clocks so this doesn't happen". I went on to tell him that rules are being bent for other parents at the club when checking their children in and out (over the 2 hour time limit).
I said why aren't the rules bent for me? Stephanie Pekoz has special friends she checks out if they are late, without them being there, I can prove this. Stephanie Pekoz will hand type people in when they show up to the childcare without scanning the card (mainly people she babysat for on the side). If they are late, she may call for some people over the loudspeaker. I asked why they couldn't do this for me if I was late; Jim shrugged his arms and sneared questionably and said "I agree". I was discriminated against by Stephanie Pekoz (from what I seen and heard) because I didn't cut her hair (like the one lady she gets haircuts from), because she didn't baby-sit on the side for me, because I wasn't a woman or simply because she did not like me. There were two witnesses close that watched and heard that conversation with Jim Scurto.
Jim said "what would you like me to do" (throwing his hands up), I said I would like these clocks fixed for one and I don't want this strike against me if I was not wrong. He said "has Beth Long spoke to you about this yet" I said no, (at this time I didn't know who she was). He said "ya, because she got a call in about something like this" "I'll check it out", nothing more was done, during our conversation he also said that if I want to cancel my membership to give it 30 days from the time of cancellation, etc, appeared like I made a mistake by complaining! Never the less, I had "snitched" on Stephanie Pekoz and she was not happy about it. (a month or so later Jim Scurto was walking around and I said "hey Jim, where is the satellite clocks?" (Being sarcastic) He threw up his hands and said "That's corporation for ya!"
From that day on Stephanie Pekoz and Beth Long Kane had been discourteous, aloof and sticklers to me, never the less Stephanie Pekoz had always been rude, it was clear that they did not like what I had done. Stephanie Pekoz had another reason too, which I will explain later! The day after the conversation with Jim Scurto, Stephanie Pekoz had said "you going to be late anymore?" and smiled. My workout time went from 9:30 am - 2 hour workout to a new schedule of 9:30 am - 1.5 hr so there was no chance I would be late regardless of the clocks all being off I left at 11am. Every time I was around Stephanie Pekoz and Beth Long Kane I can feel the tension in the air, never looking me in the eye, it didn't take a genius to see they didn't like me. One day my son ran up to me at the check in door so I turned around and asked if Beth Long Kane could buzz me out, she took my lifetime fitness card, put it on the other side and said "we use this door to check in, you have to walk all the way around (using her pointer finger) to the other side to get out", "this way the traffic flows" (in a sarcastic tone) although, there were no people checking in or out at that specific time yet I had seen them buzz people out through the in door, aside from that the doors were often broken for moths at a time.. There were many other situations like this with Beth Long Kane and Stephanie Pekoz although I think the idea should be clear so I will not continue on the subject.
Clearly I was being black balled over my complaint. I felt like a target now.
On 11-30-09 I arrived to the health club with my son as usual as I had during the last 3 and Â½ years of his life and my daughter before him. On this day there was a cluster (perhaps 4) of children in the check out area (1 in 6 years for me), I was not sure whether the children were coming or going, there was confusion. I had been driving a while (hours) and needed to go to the washroom, bad.
I waited and waited, Stephanie Pekoz was hand writing "something", I asked them if the computer was down again, but Stephanie Pekoz did not answer or look at me, another worker said she had to copy some information. Beth Long Kane was also at the check-in desk just observing. Two computers, 3 people and nothing were happening. I picked up my son and put him over the gate to get him out of the way while I ran to the washroom, Beth Long Kane said "John, you're going to have to wait your turn" in a tone like you would speak to a child. I said Beth, I have been in the car a long time, I didn't think it would take so long I need to use the washroom quick", she looked down at some papers shuffling, I said "is that ok with you", she did not answer me, she shrugged her shoulders and tilted her head to the side, again I asked "I have to go to the washroom is that ok?" She peered her lips together opened her eyes wide and the said "˜Okaa-ay" snyly (as if, if that's what you want, I will mess with you because of this). She could have said no or make sure you check him in but the only word out of her mouth was Okaa-ay, I went to the washroom received a phone call on my cell phone and forgot the entire situation at the childcare. I had assumed they would have check my son in, I should have double guessed the situation. There was no common courtesy from them, no consideration that this has never happened in nearly 9 years, no consideration that they have known me for as long as they worked at lifetime! Why was I singled out? Situations like this have been adjusted for others why not me?
I went to workout, 20 min later Beth Long Kane came up to where I was working out on the floor, she squatted down to my level, less than 12" got in my face and said "you need to go downstairs right now and check Johnny in" (again, speaking to me like I was a child) I said I was sorry I thought they would do it under the circumstances, She said "no, you need to do this now!" (demanding and provoking me), I said you came all the way up here to purposely make me go down and check him in when you have checked him in without the card when I lost one or had forgotten my card at home, she smiled shook her head and said "yup!" I felt like she was going to screw with me as much as she could that day, I felt bad for my son thinking they would mess with him as well. I walked away and said "I bet you got a lot of friends" she said I have tons, as I walked down the stairs I said "I don't think so". When Jim Scurto canceled my membership, he said what I said to her is enough to get my membership canceled alone. If that doesn't sound like a discriminating factor to me! I knew at that point, it was some sort of conspiracy.
I was not happy about this situation. As I walked to the child care I tried to phone my wife on my cell phone to express my frustration. I continued to the child area and said, to Stephanie Pekoz you believe this ***, she's making me check in like this. My phone was froze and I couldn't get out, under my breath I said something that only one that can hear that was Stephanie Pekoz and one other lady who worked at the childcare and it was not about Beth, period.
Stephanie Pekoz has said *** many many times in the childcare center which I find inappropriate as a childcare worker and I also hear her say "***" as when she is talking to the other girls about hours cut, etc. What I might have said is nothing compared to what some of these 4 year olds say and teaches my son! So now Stephanie says to me, "you don't have to swear about it" I said I'm sorry, I'm a little upset (The Beth situation and my phone freezing). Stephanie Pekoz scanned my card, I went back to workout and it was forgotten.
Side note: It has come to my attention that I am not the only one that has had LT membership canceled because of childcare, one very recent, where a man brought his son on a school day, he was provoked into an argument because, Beth came and got him demanding he take his child out of childcare because it was a school day. I've seen other people do the same and not have issues. Rules are bent for some and not others. At the end of the argument this person said F U! to Beth, Stephanie clearly knew about it and clearly had an opportunity to get me! I only spoke to two people about this so far and discovered 3 other cancellations. This could be a pattern, I'm not sure yet.
Between forced cancellations and people closing accounts because they cannot afford it, I had seen more people leave and not many new faces.
When I returned to the childcare I apologized to the other worker, Stephanie or Beth was not there. I was still not happy about the Beth situation but thought I would simply apologize to keep as much peace as possible due to the fact my son would see her nearly every morning (3 – 4 days a week). She was not in her office, I turn the corner and seen her at the end of the hall with her arms crossed, she then smiled and said can you come in here for a second. I enter the last office and thought she wanted to settle our difference.
Jim Scurto was inside and another (I assume) manager was seated. Jim Scurto shook my hand and said, a team member said you called Beth a B and a C (only can guess what a C is). I said wait a minute, I NEVER called her a name and he said "well I believe my team".
I said "I am telling you now, I never called her a name to her face or behind her back", I never said Beth was anything to anyone, not even my wife, nobody, never – You are a ____ or Beth is a ____ never came out of my mouth. At this point I thought we would get the facts straight but Jim was firm and said your membership is canceled. With Beth smiling and sitting on the desk I asked her to confirm what I really did say to her and she did confirm it. I said for saying "I bet she has a lot of friends etc, " they all said yes. As far as who said I called her a B or C, I was never told, I am 99.99% sure it was Stephanie Pekoz. There were no explanations from Jim Scurto. I explained to Jim how the club was mainly for my son, etc. and to reconsider after all these years as a loyal customer who never had one issue, He said "I'm sure he has other things to do" I said, no he does not. He said I have kids too you'll find something. He then said "I am asking you to leave and never come back." This all took place in front of my son, which was tasteless, not good. It was that simple, no discussion, no warning, no second chance, nothing. But a girl getting caught having sex still works out at the club!?
Why should an employee of lifetime fitness be able to disrespect me, talk to me in a degrading manner, talk to me sarcastically or provoke me and say what they want yet I cannot express how I fell. Complaints, discussions or comments are not allowed!?
I thought I paid them for the service, am I wrong? What happened to customer comes first, I never experienced this. With this economy I would think LT would do anything to keep people. This was not a fight, argument or abuse of any kind, she provoked me, I expressed how I felt about her in a non treating way, non vulgar way, a simple sarcastic comment. What is the reason of her complaint about me? I hurt her feelings? I challenged her? I should not have my nearly 9 years at Lifetime fitness taken away because of this "alone". Nearly 9 years of a routine, a habit, a place I get my haircut, supplements and occasion lunch, a place– the only place my son can be with children his age and I can be in the same building, a place where many of my friends and relatives go.
The reason I stayed at lifetime was principally for the childcare and activities for them, plus because he knows most of the children at lifetime he has grown up with, this is our community. There are no children in our subdivision for him. The last days have consisted of TV! How do I recreate a new routine for him this suddenly?? He calls these kids at LT his buddies and keeps asking if we can go back.
There are 4 heath clubs closer to me than LT in Orland, one has much better free weights that I mainly loose and nicer locker room, the main reason I am LT was my kids, and my son is the one affected by this the most. If it not for my kids I would not want to go back where a couple people did not want me.
I had only informed now that there is an alleged clause on a contract that states a GM can cancel a membership at anytime for any reason. I'd like to say, I have never read anything like this, not 8 years ago, not 5 years ago, not 6 months ago, never. Since we joined we never received any contract or terms update. If there was a contract signed with that statement, it was not signed by me. My wife signed us up, she may have signed a contract, and never the less I canceled her membership around the beginning of summer. In any case, I have never read such a statement.
Basically, if you are not liked, or you smell, or you are black, they can cancel the contract? That is discriminating if not third world scary to say the least. I have seen trainers quit and have their membership cancelled because of it; two others had a 6 month suspension while one girl trainer who is good friends with Jim and was able to come beck the next day to work out. There is no consistency.
By the way, I'd like to make very clear that it is well known that Beth Long Kane
and Stephanie Pekoz are very close friends, including FaceBook friends and I have documented that as well!
I'd also like to inform you that there are people having sex in the family changing area, one person got caught, claiming she was just taking a shower and her boyfriend was next, she still has her membership. There are people and trainers selling steroids! I know trainers that are having sex with married woman who belong to the club. Jim Scurto, is going to take a great guy like me, a team player over nothing and cancel me because of "a team members word"? Or is it because I had an opinion?
Part of the issue was due to situations created outside Lifetime and I can explain further if necessary. I was targeted and discriminated against.
I am willing to return to LT mostly for the sake of my son and forget this ever happened.
I was informed on December 4th that there is a new sign in the childcare area that says If you argue with staff you will receive a one week suspension. My friend said he did not read the entire note so I do not know word for word yet. I have also been told Stephanie Pekoz the child care worker that was involved is now saying negative things about me. I cannot believe such a sign would be put up, obviously there are problems with others too. If these workers are mishandling our children we just sit back or get suspended, or in my unique case, canceled? My account was canceled; I guess from now on it is a week suspension.
Product or Service Mentioned: Lifetime Fitness Customer Care.