From the Forum – Debating Mint’s Family Policy

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Mint’s “Family” Policy:

“What’s up with Mint Gym’s new “family” policy that only allows married couples to qualify (see: Here’s the explanation given on the website:”MINT is welcoming of all varieties of families and loving relationships and does not wish to define the term ‘family’…However, the process of applying for the discounted ‘family’ membership requires that the process be fair and definitive, free of subjective judgement. The requirement of a ‘marriage license’ provides one single, factual, legal and consistent method for verifying discount eligibility.”
Huh? Is it 2014? Are we still living in DC? There’s no other way to document one’s “family” than a marriage license?? Neighbors, stand up for ALL families and encourage Mint to change their policy:”

A reader responds:

“Unless you are expecting Mint to allow discounts for children, then I’m not sure I see the problem. The business should be able to provide some qualification as people will take advantage of the discount by declaring themselves and friends and acquaintances as ‘family’. Now that gay families have the ability to obtain legal status, this policy doesn’t seem to be a problem to me, personally. As part of a gay couple, I take a tax hit for being legally married and get other legal perks and benefits- discounted auto insurance being one and apparently discounted gym memberships now too. What would you like them to accept as proof of marriage or domestic partnership in addition? Did you ask them to accept a different form of documentation (mortgage in both names or such) and they say no?”

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54 Comment

  • From a business perspective, Mint’s policy makes sense.

  • Thankfully we are in DC…the most progresive city in the US. As a gay married man, this policy supports the hard work many have worked for….marriage equality.

  • I imagine this is to discourage people who are just dating (and can easily breakup) or roommates who have the same address from paying the reduced price. Anyone can marry in DC, so I don’t get how this is discriminatory.

  • I am gay married. I don’t see any issue. You want to go in with your roommate or bf/gf? How would they really know? Honor system?

    • Agreed. I am confused as to who this policy is supposed to be discriminating against. Is the issue that they want family discounts for common law marriage type situations? People who don’t intend to marry? Children? What?

  • Mint has misspelled judgment! It is judgment, not judgement, at least in the U.S.

    • Not accurate — Merriam-Webster’s primary entry is “judgment,” but it lists “judgement” as an acceptable variant.

      • “Judgment” is the established spelling in the United States. In Word and in Yahoo, for example, the spelling “judgement” registers as a red underlined error.

        So, promotional material in the United States should avoid the spelling “judgement” in my judgment.

        • nobody is *required* to avoid any spelling that is an accepted variant just because it’s not the primary version. that would be the definition of “accepted variant.” get over your pedantic self.

          • It’s not accepted. I offer this only as advice. I think in US courts, too, you have to use the spelling”judgment.” But, as you say, you are free to make bad choices.

          • Bruno, if you’re relying on MS Word for definitive guidance on spelling and grammar, that tells us all we need to know.
            If you really want to get up in arms over something, there’s tons of abysmally written promotional text in D.C. — poor word choice, poor grammar, poor spelling, poor punctuation, etc. But jumping on Mint because they used the less common of two accepted spelling variants is ridiculous.

  • I could see where this would be a problem somewhere like the middle of Texas where a gay couple would have to travel a thousand miles to get married. But in a city with marriage equality, what’s the problem?

  • You would think that Mint would need to include all people with the ridiculous prices they charge.

    Who wants to get married and split the $45 license fee so we can save at the gym. We will get divorced after we have six pack abs

  • Seems to me that the gay community has it’s work cut out for it working through all of the real and truly damaging forms of discrimination that occur every day. Why waste energy trying to find discrimination where it seemingly doesn’t exist. There’s really no time to waste…

    • gotryit

      Where did you get from the posting that the person complaining is gay? All I got from it is that they have too much time on their hands.

  • Both names on a lease or mortgage should be good enough.

    • on a lease? i wouldn’t call some of my past roomates “family.” a couple i wouldn’t even call friends.

  • Perhaps Mint is getting ahead of the times by equating family and marriage. I guess we not that progressive yet.

  • I agree this is probably making a mountain out of a molehill, however I can see the other side of it too. Some people may not want to get married for whatever reason but may be in a long-term committed relationship or domestic partnership. I consider my partner my family, however I don’t have a marriage license to “prove” it.
    That said, I really don’t care about this issue as there are much bigger fish out there.

  • At first I thought this might be an April Fool’s joke but apparently there really are are folks out there who have nothing better to do than to manufacture moral outrage over a high-end gym’s decision to give discounts to married couples — which, by the way, is now legal for any consenting adult who wants one. There’s an easy answer to this. If you don’t like the policy, then go to another gym. In my opinion Mint’s family policy is very generous. I don’t think WSC or Vida offer any sort of discount to family members.

  • Maybe part of the debate is about what types of relationships should get financial breaks from business, the tax code, etc. Mint’s policy seems to be to financially support only married couples — not a parent and a child, or siblings, for example. Most of us are comfortable with senior citizen discounts, although we may not benefit from them ourselves. Most of us are also comfortable with most types of discounts for children — often because it’s understood that seniors and children may not use as much of whatever it is that’s being discounted, and possibly because seniors and children. So this raises the question of what types of family relationships get to benefit from discounts, as well as why “family” — or in this case, married couples — warrant discounts and preferential treatment compared to others.

    • They do it as a money grab, plain and simple. If Mint can persuade two people to join at $80 bucks per person for two people then that is more revenue than one person at $110. Mint now has an extra $50 per month in its pocket, has locked another member into a contract effectively preventing someone from enrolling in another gym, and the couple walks away thinking they got a “deal” by only paying $50 more to add a spouse to the contract. Seems like a win win for all. My guess is that they don’t want to start opening up the system to people who are on the same lease because that could lead to abuse and, after all, it’s not a “friends and family” discount but rather a “family” discount. It’s geared toward families, particularly those with kids, as the childcare comes free with the discounted membership.

  • Mint is preeeettttyyyy gay (I say that as a gay member) and I trust that they thought about the gay/straight thing and this passed the sniff test. I really don’t think they would intend to offend anyone bc, um, everyone can get married.

  • While I support the right for everyone to get married, it’s not a choice that I personally want to make. So I actually do find this policy a bit problematic. My partner and I have been living together for several years, and I would hope that a business would accept our word that we’re in a long-term committed relationship, even if we don’t want the state or the church/synagogue involved in it.

    • I guess you have to take your lumps, and if you don’t want the state involved in your relationship then you can’t necessarily expect to have your gym involved in it, either.

    • It is so obvious to see how “accepting your word” would be rampantly abused by every pair of roommates who share an address, that I can’t even take this line of reasoning seriously.

      • so the gym would have a problem with two people wanting to join as a family even if they arent? sounds like a win-win for the gym.

        • No, b/c if they join as a family the gym gets $160, if they join separately the gym gets $220.

  • Make the requirement a common address (driver’s license, lease, etc.) Lots of organizations and businesses do this for a couples’ rate. The number of platonic roommates gaming the system will be far outnumbered by legitimate couples and far outweighed by goodwill towards the business.

    One parent with one child? Why not–it’s not any larger number of people using the gym. For families of 3 or more (no matter the composition), it’s only fair that an additional fee tier apply.

    • Actually, without doing the research, I would guess there would be more a lot people likely to game the system than legit families who couldn’t document their status.

    • “The number of platonic roommates gaming the system will be far outnumbered by legitimate couples and far outweighed by goodwill towards the business” Um, think about that statement for a minute. Now the gym has a bunch of people gaming the system, plus a bunch of legitimate families, all paying the same lower rate. I don’t think anything is “outweighed” here.

  • Its fine for them to define family that way. But as a point of reference, in 2002 I was able to get the family/partner discount at 24 hour fitness with my roommate. It seems fair and celebrates that in DC we have marriage equality.

  • No problem here. Just make it official! It is nice of Mint to offer a family membership. And it is super-easy to get hitched. Just head to the court house! If you already have a domestic partnership there is no fee!

  • This policy is reasonable. I don’t understand what the poster wants us to stand up for – abuse of their system?

  • Here’s another twist: I’m legally married, but have no marriage license. Common law marriage. Yet another group they didn’t think of …

    • do you want to join this gym as a family?

    • I don’t think that’s a “twist” at all, since Mint’s policy is that you need to show a marriage license to qualify, not that you be legally married. They state pretty clearly that they needed an easy and clear way to define who qualifies for their policy – just because they picked one that doesn’t include you doesn’t mean they didn’t think of it.

      • You trolls are funny. Are you really arguing that they considered common law marriages in formulating their policy?

        There are two parts to the debate: What they’re trying to do and how they’re doing it. The OP addresses the second on the assumption that their goal is to give family discounts to people who are legally married.

  • I’m curious — how common is it for someone, outside of a court proceeding, to be asked to produce their marriage license as proof of marriage? Up until I read this, I assumed that it would happen rarely — on par with needing to show a birth certificate to get a drivers license or a passport.

    • Huh? I thought a birth certificate was needed to get a passport? Or certificate of naturalization. Plus I don’t think the membership necessarily requires you to produce a marriage license, it only requires that you possess one.

      • Sorry if I wasn’t clear– the few RARE instances that I can think of when I have had to produce a birth certificate have been to get a passport, and to get a driver’s license. So I’m trying to guess what other — also rare, I thought — circumstances might require a marriage license.
        If the membership only requires that you possess a marriage license without having to show it, then how is the club “verifying discount eligibility”?

  • I don’t have a problem with the gym wanting a marriage license to get a “family” rate, but I think they’d be smart to take a look at Sprint and the new “framily” plan they offer for cellphones. Most of my friends all go to different gyms, because right now, we pick gyms mostly on proximity to work or home and price. That’s exactly why I *didn’t* pick Mint – it’s far my from office, not particularly close to my home, and just as expensive as all the alternatives.
    However, if Mint could cut the rate down to something rational, like $50 per person per month, in exchange for me putting together a group of four or five people who would all join, everybody wins. Mint gets $200-$250 a month that they don’t have right now (since none of my friends go there currently), my friends and I all get a reasonably priced gym membership (which in a pricey city like DC has serious value), and on top of that now they have four or five members who have a HUGE disincentive to shop around when their contract is up, because we have friends to work out with at Mint and I can’t match that price anywhere else unless another gym matched the promotion. Even then, I’d have to convince my friends to all jump ship with me and go to the competitor, and some of them might not agree on the new place.
    Mint is free to define “family” in any way they want to as long as that definition is available to all of us (which, luckily, here it is). But, it’s a pretty stupid decision to do so if you ask me.
    One other question – how does Mint treat gay couples from Virginia? I could imagine if I lived out in Arlington but my partner and I both worked close to Mint, we might want to join together, but we wouldn’t be able to get a marriage license.

    • A couple from Virginia can get married in DC or Maryland so I don’t see how that is an issue.

      • Yes, technically a couple from Virginia could marry in the District if they so chose, but I completely understand that they would not want to marry if it wasn’t recognized in their own state, and certainly asking them to enter into the legal limbo that is gay marriage for couples who live in states where it is not recognized over a gym membership is a bit much. I hope Mint would recognize this and choose not to discriminate against the small (if any) number of gay Virginians they may have in their membership because of the bigoted, backward views of the voters in their home state.

  • There is also the issue of DC law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of marital status and that law applies to places of public accommodation. I am not sure any business is on solid ground for offering a married persons discount.

  • I think that it needs to be a little more flexible. There are other type of unions that should be recognized, such as Civil Unions. Does that qualify for the family plan? It should!

Comments are closed.