Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2

Friday was a day off from work.  I had been planning to get some yardwork done, but it was so steamy hot outside that I didn’t even try.  Mostly I stayed inside, venturing out to do some errands, always with the car air conditioning on full blast.  My Subaru is not noted for its excellent mileage, and needless to say running the AC made things worse, but given the weather it was a small price to pay.

On one of these errands I stopped at the nearest 7-11 for a Diet Pepsi.  As I pulled into the parking lot, four youngish men wearing the logo shirts of a home improvement company were getting into a van.  I knew right away what was going on.  The men were not construction workers, but rather employees of a marketing company that works on behalf of several actual contractors.  Back in my distinctly unlamented days in the life insurance scam industry I heard some things about this marketing company. They’ve also hit our street three times in the past year or so.

Almost without question the four men, none of whom looked particularly happy, were going to be spending the next several hours going door-to-door in the suffocating heat soliciting for home repair estimates.  On straight commission, of course.  Each one would be dropped off in a particular neighborhood and picked up hours later.  Chances are very good that most if not all of them would make no money at all.  The next day (they work six and often seven days a week) they will have to spend a couple unpaid hours at an “atmosphere” meeting at the marketing firm’s local headquarters, listening to a semi-literate manager babble away about how people who work for regular paychecks are losers and how success is all attitude rather than skill or ability. Anyone who complains will be publicly denounced.  The fact that even the managers live in abject poverty, well, that’s not to be discussed under any circumstances.

It completely disgusts me that scams like this are legal.  Life insurance was vile, but at least some agents – okay, very very few, but at least some – actually make very good money.  In these marketing outfits, and there are far more of them than you’d ever imagine, almost no one makes anything approaching a living wage or even the minimum wage.  A “successful” marketer might make $350 or $400 for a 65- to 70-hour workweek.  And this is not even to mention the absolutely soul-destroying nature of soliciting door to door.  Maybe back in the Leave It to Beaver 1950’s people sometimes bought stuff from door to door salesmen, but those days are long past.  Oh, the worst thing of all?  The logo shirts that these young men were wearing were long-sleeved denim shirts, which would be absolutely stifling in this weather.

It would be an exaggeration to say that this ruined my weekend, but it did bring back enough bad memories from my life insurance days to put a slight damper on things.  Still, I stayed reasonably busy.  On Saturday afternoon we made an excursion to Costco, which only reinforced my conclusion that while the store is very good for some things, it doesn’t quite live up to the hype.  Though all the free food samples make a visit worthwhile.  On Sunday evening I went to the yoga center, but not for yoga – instead, I attended a Buddhist meditation session.  I went into it with an open mind.  While it would be an exaggeration to say that I believe Eastern philosophy and New Age things in general, I don’t not believe it either, if that makes any sense.  Whatever the case, it was a helpful session and I plan to return.  Though it must say it was rather odd to be in the yoga studio when it was not heated to 104 degrees 🙂

I had a couple of short gym sessions on Friday and Sunday.  Given that I’m metaphorically creeping back into the gym after a too-long hiatus I’m keeping the sessions short and simple for now.  On Friday I did bench presses: 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 3 x 3 x 225, 6 x 185.  Sunday I started out with overhead presses, 4 x 8 x 80, and then did barbell rows: 8 x 155, 8 x 165, 2 x 8 x 185.

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Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 3:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, May 28 – Thursday, May 30

A closer look

After being away for much too long I’ve finally resumed going to the gym.  Sort of.  Given an annoying pulled muscle in my side, which seems to be the result of having reached too far to get something, I’m waiting for a couple of days before actually doing anything myself.  Instead, I’ve been helping another person start an exercise routine, just demonstrating how the different exercises are done, that sort of thing.  Though I suppose I have done some work myself by performing these demonstrations.

A few weeks back, when I made a “scouting-out” visit, I got a pretty good impression of this gym.  Further visits have reinforced that observation.  For one thing, the girl at the front desk did not try to sell me on a year-long contract when I told her I wanted a monthly membership.  That may seem to be a minor point, but it’s not.  I’ve heard of gyms where prospective members get a hard sell in an attempt to get them to take out contracts.  Even though the month-by-month rate typically is higher, at this gym it’s $40 vs. $30 on a yearly contract, most gyms sell the contracts to third-party finance companies and therefore get an immediate cash infusion.  Monthly memberships don’t provide any upfront money beyond the initial month’s payment and also are less predictable as many people don’t last more than a month or two.  All of which means that I would not have been surprised to have gotten at least a mild push to sign a contract, but there was nothing of the sort.

Another thing that contributed to my positive impression was that even though the parking lot was absolutely jammed at the time of Tuesday’s visit, the crowding inside the gym wasn’t too bad.  I was expecting a mob scene, but it was completely tolerable.  While I had realized on the first visit that the gym is large on the inside, I did not expect that it would be able to accommodate that big a crowd.  Something else that I realized is that the equipment in the gym is arranged in a way that it’s easy to walk around without squeezing past it and getting in peoples’ way.  That might seem obvious, but it definitely was not that way in the old gym.  Finally, even at such a busy time the gym was clean and not excessively warm.

As for work, these three days were fairly easy and routine.  I was in the same location on Tuesday and Thursday, about 15 miles to the west of me, while on Wednesday I headed about the same distance east.  As I went to the Tuesday and Thursday location at the height of rush hour, and it was close to the Sunrise Highway, I used a combination of service roads and ordinary streets to avoid the heavy traffic often found on the westbound Sunrise during the morning.  Wednesday presented no traffic issues as I was heading in the opposite direction from the main traffic flow.

Published in: on June 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment