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Sean Smith 06-09-2015 12:37 PM

Affiliate Owners: Drop-In Etiquette
Affiliate owners and CrossFitters...

Times are changing and I wanted to put this out there in case some of you didn't know....

We are all CrossFitters, we all have that bond, we could all talk for hours over a few cold ones about CrossFit and how cool it is. But, that doesn't give you the right to do certain things. To give you a little background on me, my gym, CrossFit Glory is one of the first 1,000 affiliates. I don't consider myself an OG CrossFitter, or OG Affiliate. I've just been around longer than most have in this sport. I'm not trying to sound arrogant, but I've seen this wonderful sport change over the last 6 years. When my gym first opened it did the old school "garage to small gym to bigger gym" transition fairly quickly. CrossFitters were different back then.

Now, in 2015, CrossFit is pretty much mainstream. You get a lot of people who only know mainstream CrossFit. More and more gyms are being owned by multiple people. They call themselves, "box owners".

Here's my story...
My coach of the 5:30am class tells me a guy showed up at 6am to check out the gym. My coach is a 108# female, so at this point, I'm a little freaked out that there's a strange man coming into my gym at 6am unannounced. She then goes on to tell me he said he's a "box owner" and he stayed for 5 minutes watching the class - sort of judging the gym and the coach while drinking his coffee. He mentions he wants to drop in later that day to our 5:15pm class. She said "ok, another person coaches that class but I'll let him know." She did let me know later that someone stopped in and wanted to drop in later.

So, this guy shows up at around 5:05pm, 10 minutes early. Good, I like that. He still never called or emailed me to let me know that he was coming, but at least you're early. He tells me he's a "box owner," I could care less. After the waiver, he says, "So, I talked to your coach and told her that I'm doing my own squat program and workouts." I immediately respond, "We don't have space for that, sorry." In a weird turn of events, he says something like, "Ok, I'm going to go then." Picks up his stuff and walks out. No, "Thanks ,sorry, or could I come back another time you don't have classes."

I asked my coach later in the day if she told hime he could do that and she said that he never mentioned anything about doing his own thing.

If this guy truly was a "box owner," you just gave CrossFit affiliate owners a bad name. As an affiliate owner, you should know better. It is an honor to go workout in someone else's gym. You always call or email ahead and ASK if you can drop in. Don't assume they are going to say yes. Some gyms are packed and will turn you down. At that class he dropped in to, there were 23 people in a 2800 square foot gym. And you want your own corner to do squats and a workout? Then, you'd probably put the "I'm an affiliate owner card and not offer to pay the drop in rate."

Here are my rules to dropping into another CF gym:
1) Always call or email ahead of time and confirm with the owner/manager that it's ok.
2) Be super upfront with the fact that you do intend on paying for the class. Most of the time if you walk in and say, "How much do I owe you?", they will either say nothing, or give it to you cheap.
3) Tell them thank you and something nice about their gym.
4) Never criticize me, my coaches, or my gym. I don't care about your opinion unless I ask for it.
5) If you liked the experience, give me a good rating on Google, Yelp, Facebook. If you had a bad experience, you might just not want to leave a review. Bad gyms will sort themselves out.
6) Teach your members good etiquette when they drop in to another gym.
7) Tell the good drop-ins that you appreciated them being "good". I just told a woman today that I appreciated her politeness and friendliness as a drop in. I really liked it because she walked in with money in hand and gave it right to me. No BSing around about if she is going to offer to pay or not.
8) This is my business...I support my family with this. Just because we don't give you a physical product, doesn't mean you don't have to pay.
9) You represent your gym when you drop-in. Be smart about it.

I'm not a jerk, I just want people to know to still be polite when you visit a gym.

Christopher Morris 06-09-2015 08:48 PM

Re: Affiliate Owners: Drop-In Etiquette
I used to travel a lot and drop in on many different CrossFit gyms.

I agree with your courtesy guidelines. If I found a gym on Google, I would call or email (sometimes the information on Google is not correct or current). I would ask about payment. I was always happy when a gym would quote the drop-in fee, or say "Buy a t-shirt instead." I have a pretty good t-shirt and hoodie collection from the gyms I've visited.

When I was on a Wendler schedule, I would sometimes ask if I could do lifting after a workout. Some said it wouldn't work out, and I was cool with that - I'd pick it up next time. I had the most respect for one gym that was huge, and obviously had space for me to lift out of the way of their next class. They asked about my lifting experience, 1RM, etc. before letting me do my thing. Once they were satisfied with my answers, they let me lift. Respect on both sides.

CrossFit Hoboken has the best t-shirts. Comfortable and cut well. When my niece sees me wearing it, she says, "It's Hobo Ken!"

Those days were when my wife owned an affiliate. We learned a lot, good and bad, from our visits to other gyms. The worst was a coach who wrote down scores on a clipboard without any encouragement or prompts during the whole workout. The class had camaraderie in spite of him. Kind of a weird class.

Marc Tower 06-10-2015 08:23 AM

Re: Affiliate Owners: Drop-In Etiquette
Well said Sean, well said.

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