So I finally paid the bill for the Frankfurter Allgemein subscription the other day. It had been laying on my desk for a few weeks now, as I clung to the hope that, with a little bit of neglect and show of disdain, it might one day slink away in dejection. But, once you’ve been hornswoggled by that friendly chap who came to your table in the mensacafe, offering a free two-week subscription to a German newspaper that you know you will never read, and you don’t even have to give any bank details, and they’ll send you an email and everything, and all you have to do is reply to cancel it.. well, these things have a tendency to persist.. and with an impressive display of tenacity.
My friend Sabrina, who drank that fateful coffee with me during the aforementioned encounter, was likewise bamboozled and similarly dismayed when, after a several weeks’ lapse in memory regarding the incident, found a bill for three-months worth of issues that we neither of us had read. Fortunately for me, she managed to produce for each of us one of those proper, formal letters needed to negotiate the 110€ bill down to 54€ based on the student rate, a small detail which the Frankfurter had conveniently disregarded.
I’m such a sucker sometimes.
So of course, upon my return to Saarbrücken after the winter break, I discovered with slight annoyance that my gym had closed down. This was something of a frustration, as early morning jogs in sleet and bitter cold really do not appeal to me. As I shopped around for an alternative, I found myself visiting the posh Fitness Company downtown, with their red carpet entrance, wall-length windows over-looking the city, and fancy machines. I figured it didn’t hurt to look.
On entering, I was approached by this pretty little Italian girl, who was positively chirping and bubbling over (or I’d say gurgling, like a babbling brook), who utterly charmed me over. Tell me, what is one to do when thus confronted? Ohh, you speak French? How delightful! And ohh, everything’s just gonna work out perfectly! You’re only here for another 6 months? Not a problem. You can just sign up for an 18-month contract.. they can’t enforce it if you have to leave the country.. aaand we’ll even give you a discount on the membership fee!
I left that day feeling completely befuddled, and with one of the most expensive gym memberships I’ve ever had in my life. It’s quite possible that roughly *half* of their current members were brought in by this girl alone.
Once a sucker, always a sucker, I suppose.
On the upside, paying so dearly for gym access appears to have a positive effect on my attendance. I’m finally starting to shed some pounds, have recently become a huge fan of the Dampfbad, and furnished at least one person in our flat with news of the world and beyond.