Browse Category: annoyances

Is Crisis Over? Gyms Think So

Last week the Crunch gym that was conveniently located downstairs in the same building where I work suddenly moved. E-mail came in on Tuesday stating that starting Tuesday the gym is located within 15 minutes from the previous place, everybody’s welcome. Now, that’s what I call a good customer service (note: this is the case of heavy use of irony).

Crunch offered 3 months of free membership while at the same time upgrading the existing members of that location to all-locations membership at the previous discounted rate. However, a 20 minute travel eats out of workout time, not work time. I got concerned and started visiting other nearby gyms – to see if I have any alternative.

The closest one was NY Health & Racquet Club. Conveniently located within 3 minutes of walking time, it was an obvious choice. The drawbacks were a bit messy appearance, a bit too crowded cardio floor and narrow staircases between gym floors. However, nice sales reps, swimming pool with jacuzzi and attendants in the locker rooms made up for it.

Next on my list was the other Crunch location (where they actually moved to). I figured if I could work out after hours, it might be still better, plus I got a bit lower rate. However, lack of the pool, just the same amount of mess and cardio machines packed a little too tight made that a “NO”. Additionally, there was no guarantee that this new gym would not go yet another place overnight again.

Another one, within about 5 – 6 minute walking distance, was NYSC – New York’s sub-network of of a larger network of sports clubs. Being regarded as “Manhattan’s Bally’s” the gym truly stood out – in a bad way. I’ve spent about 10 minutes waiting for someone to come up to me and at least greet a potential client. Cleaning lady seemed to be the friendliest person to be found, as she was asking if I needed anything to dry out (I came in from the rainy outside without an umbrella). Ten minutes later the sales rep appeared, but figuring I am coming from corporate account he’s got nothing to sell me, he quickly vanished again, saying that another guy will take care of me and show me around. That another guy was, actually, a nice person, but having waited for him yet another 10 minutes while he was finishing the conversation with his colleague was in no way fun. I don’t know how traders react (the gym is located right on Wall Street), but I had enough patience to actually wait out till the end. He showed me around briefly, but I already disliked the place – because of the customer service. I don’t ask for much, but a simple courtesy of not wasting my 20 minutes on just waiting – that’s too much. Also, sales reps were boasting about having a pool as being a privilege of off-the-work gyms, rather than ones that are in the city. Too bad, as a sales person is such a dense area you should know your competition better. It really doesn’t cost a cent to send someone down the Broadway to check out three other gyms on the street. Takes one person less then 2 hours.

So there I was, left pretty much with only one choice on the list – New York Health & Racquet Club. The gym won without really trying, with their old-fashioned approach when sales woman talks to the guy and sales guy talks to female client definitely had added more positive influence (I liked that sweet girl that showed me around), the gym with the pool in Downtown Manhattan is definitely a plus and it’s the closest one I have found.

Now why all the trouble if I could’ve just went to NYHRC and not waste my time on gym visits? Well, for one – I am serious about my workout and I really do put a lot of time and effort into it. So I want a place where I would want to go to, with good atmosphere. Second – I workout during the day, so I need to spend on “other stuff” (like waiting for showers, equipment, lockers, etc.) as less time as possible, maximizing the workout time – this ruled out new Crunch location. Third – I want nice people around me. Most gyms in Manhattan keep a certain level of professionalism, where they treat the client as a decent human being. I haven’t seen that at NYSC.

Overall, I spent less than 2 hours on all three gyms, did my homework and made the best decision I could – based on what people who wanted to sell me a membership had showed me. What does your sales person actually show to your prospective clients?

Char Array to String in VB.NET 2.0

You will be surprised, but the obvious

Dim arrChars(10) As Char
Dim strString As String
strString = "ABCDEFGHIK"
arrChars = strString.ToCharArray
strString = arrChars.ToString

Will not yield the same string as there was before. It will, rather, return “Char[]” response. To get your string back from Char Array (at least in VB.NET 2.0) you will need to call CStr on array:

Dim arrChars(10) As Char
Dim strString As String
strString = "ABCDEFGHIK"
arrChars = strString.ToCharArray
strString = Cstr(arrChars)

Funny, isn’t it? And totally counter-intuitive 🙂

eBay Responds To Customer’s Question

Just a transcript, nothing else. Last e-mail was the best!

On the following question:

Message: Is there any documentation for setting up a merchant account
payment method as a way for buyer to pay for my listed item? I have a
merchant account and would like to process payments through that instead
of through other means.
Also, I would appreciate any guidelines on best practices for the
implementation of merchant account payment method.
Thanks a lot!

I’ve got the reply:

Dear eBay Member,
Thank you for writing eBay in regard to makign merchant account as the
payment method on your listing.
If you don’t see the “Merchant Account – Credit Card” option in the Sell
Your Item form, please click the “Show/Hide Options” icon in the upper
right corner of the Create Your Listing page. You may select to show
that option under the “Payment” heading.
Additionally, a merchant credit card processing account allows
businesses to offer their buyers the option of paying directly with a
credit card online (including through third-party checkout) or by phone.
The accounts are offered by many third-party providers such as banks or
credit unions.
If you have any questions, please get back to us or contact our live
chat support. To reach Live Help for assistance on billing issues, go
Thank you for being a valuable member of the eBay community. Have a
wonderful time shopping and selling on eBay!
Ian S.
eBay Customer Support

This doesn’t answer almost anything, so I ask again:

Thanks for your prompt reply. I have found the option under Add or
remove options in payment options section.
Also, if I want buyers just to click the button and be presented with
screen to enter their payment information – how would I accomplish this?
Should I just create a “Buy” button that would redirect them to a
shopping cart of my choice or is there any other way? Would this be in
line with eBay policies?
Please let me know.

And – tada! – here comes the best answer of 2009:

Dear <Member Name or Member ID>,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to <issues>

It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing eBay.

Anyone else thinks eBay cares?