Why Make a Mountain Out of a Fountain?

I like to work out. I like it so much I joined a gym and I actually use it – 5 days a week since the Talent Revolution 30 Day Challenge, thank you very much! I don’t want to mention any names but the gym I joined is huge – it has all the amenities you’d expect in a workout facility. Free weights, every machine you can imagine, big mirrors to watch your biceps inflate with every pump of iron (yours not mine), TV’s, treadmills, running track, swimming pool, tanning beds and you can even purchase a smoothie on your way out the door. Amazing...

I’ll tell you something else that amazes me about the place... Sometimes when I work out I bring my own water and sometimes I don’t. Depends on how organized I am that particular morning. In any event about 3 months ago I didn’t have my own water supply. Typically I spend about 45 minutes on the stationary bike which results in a significant level of thirst. That day I’m dying for a cool sip of water so I make a bee line to the water fountain. I bend over in anticipation of a nice long gulp of clear clean fresh cold water and as my lips touch the stream of H2O I’m immediately distraught by the realization that the water is warmer than the temperature of the room. YUK.

I go on, finish my workout and go about my day. About a week later it’s the same drill. Because the malfunctioning water fountain isn’t top of mind I finish peddling on the stationary bike and go to get a drink of water from the same fountain – lo and behold the water is still warm much to my chagrin. I know there is another fountain upstairs so I trudge up the steps to that fountain. While this one has cold water there is so little of it coming out of the fountain I practically have to kiss the hardware to get anything close to a thirst quenching mouthful of cold water.

Fast forward 3 months from my first disappointing experience with that water fountain and it makes me sad to say the water is still – you guessed it WARM. To me this is a big deal and here’s my analogy.

You buy a nice new shirt or blouse that you like a lot. It fits like a glove, you love the way it looks and feels on your body. You mistakenly put the shirt in the wash along with a pair of pants that contains a pen that you forgot about. You do the wash and the pen leaks. When you pull the laundry out of the washer you notice that your shirt has a huge ink stain on it and essentially is ruined. The water fountain at my fitness club is like the ink spot on that shirt. The rest of the shirt is fine but because of the ink spot I will never wear that shirt again. The only difference is that ink will never come out of the shirt. Surely the club can figure out a way to get cold water to come out of that stinkin water fountain!

What I can’t figure out for the life of me is how can my fitness center possibly think it’s okay to have a water fountain that doesn’t produce cold water? Do they think it doesn’t matter? Do they not have enough money to fix the water fountain? Don’t they realize that working out without cold water is like a day without sunshine? They might as well just have a recording coming out of the fountain that shouts “WE DON’T CARE ABOUT OUR MEMBERS!”

In my opinion that fountain is every bit as important as any other piece of equipment in that building. It goes back to a basic marketing philosophy that will always be with us – everything communicates. This fountain is that ink spot on my favorite golf shirt. It has absolutely undermined any of my positive impressions of the fitness club.

A mountain out of a fountain? Maybe. However if I had to guess, I am not the only one who sees it this way.

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  • Thanks for the comment Sarah. Doesn't it boggle the mind how management doesn't see it that way. Do you think they know and just choose to ignore it or do you think they just don't think it's that important. Either way it seems crazy to me. You think LA is ready for us?
  • Definitely not. To maintain EXCELLENT customer service any business must keep all facets of their operation functional, and functioning appropriately. You never know what is important to each customer walking through your doors everyday.
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