While inquiring about a membership at a prominent chain of gyms-that-will-remain-unnamed in Beijing, I discovered that the Olympics are the gift that keeps on giving. Well… sort of. The bargaining for a year’s membership began at RMB5,000 (plus a one-time fee for joining). But when I told the sales staff that my previous yearly membership at another chain of gyms-that-will-remain-unnamed was given to me for a special Olympic price of RMB2,008, they immediately matched the price, provided I could pay in cash immediately.
I spent the walk to the ATM patting myself on the back for a bravura bargaining tour de force. They could have used my services during those six-party talks a while back. But when I paid, it became clear that this was hardly an exclusive deal for a master negotiator, but rather a case of the gym failing to make its quota on this “special offer” during 2008. Nonetheless, I’m sure the gym will somehow have the last laugh, provided by some special loophole in the contract that bars me from using the facilities on even and odd numbered days except during a leap year. Master negotiator indeed.