Dear PoP – More Trouble at Columbia Heights WSC

“Dear PoP,

Last week, on the evening of Wednesday, January 20th, a thief broke into three locked lockers in the men’s locker room at the Columbia Heights Washington Sports Club (WSC) location sometime around 7:30. As you know, it was a PoP reader who alerted us to the same type of theft in July. I had my wallet and suit pants stolen and I no longer assume that anything I leave in a locked locker at that location is safe. It looked like a bolt cutter or crowbar was used to pry my lock off.

To add insult to injury, the entire situation was mishandled by staff from the very beginning. The acting manager on duty that night said he would file a police report on behalf of the victims. That turned out not to be true. Initially my calls were not returned and it was only when I began to complain about how poorly I was being treated as a customer that I had my concerns addressed. I was initially offered three free personal training sessions for my trouble, which I found insulting given that the value of my stolen goods was at least $520, and that I had a lock on my locker. They then offered me one free month of membership and reminded me that they are not liable for damaged or stolen property under any circumstances. Whoops, I guess I should have read the fine print when I signed the membership contract.

Besides informing the gym that I am canceling my membership, there is nothing more I can do in this situation. I did, however, want to mention this incident so all your readers are aware that security is still poor at the WSC Columbia Heights location. I’ve heard from two separate sources that there are 8,000 members at this particular gym. I guess with that much revenue pouring in the loss of one member is just minor collateral damage in the effort to get more and more members without adequately protecting existing members. I’ve gone back a number of times since the theft and see no change in security procedures. For example, many times there is no attendant in the locker room.

It’s disappointing that the management of the club is so poor because the location is convenient, but I cannot in good conscience continue placing my trust in WSC to improve security or cap their membership to better manage their club. I just wish I could have had the chance to stop this criminal like the reader who confronted the thief back in July. From now on, I will go to the gym closer to my workplace and exercise there.”

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