So-Called "24 Hour Fitness" Locks Customer In After 10pm

Late-night workout woman gets locked inside 24 Hour Fitness after everyone leaves. Hey, they’re still being true to their name, stumbling around in the dark burns a lot of calories. When she complained the next day, nobody gave a damn, but after the reporters contacted HQ, the customer got an apology and her next year free. Plus, 24-Hour agreed to post a 1-800 number by the desk in case any more customers got locked in… you know… after hours.

Woman finds herself locked inside fitness center alone [ABC13]

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  1. Kierst_thara says:

    Like it says in the article, why is it called ’24 Hour Fitness’ if they close at 10:00pm?

  2. letoofdune says:

    I sent this one in to Ben this morning – make sure you catch the video. Nothing like live reporting from the hospital bed – especially when it’s the reporter!

  3. tvh2k says:

    It was the night before memorial day, guys!

  4. Mark says:

    woah… what’s with the 100 year old reported on his death bed in the hospital?

  5. B says:

    @Kierst_thara: It is 24 hours, just not in a row.

  6. mrmysterious says:

    I would have grabbed a 10lb dumb bell and thrown that thing through the front door if I was her. Of course, I never would have thought of the emergency exit idea like she did.

    Oh, and kudos to corporate for doing the right thing and giving her a free year membership and changing company policy.

  7. letoofdune says:

    I can’t believe no one walked around, flicked the lights, just made sure everyone was gone. Isn’t that usually rule 1 when closing up a store?

  8. timmus says:

    A 24-hour establishment means ALL-DAY, ALL-NIGHT. A 24 hour pharmacy means it’s open at night. A 24 hour restaurant means it’s open at night. This company can’t just reinvent the phrase. I am really stunned to hear they close at night… whoever came up with that one is going straight to the Dantean Fifth Circle of Hell for Bullshitters, if there is such a thing.

  9. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Wow – that reporter is great. Looks like he died last week and nobody told him!!

    I guess it’s not safe to assume that “Open 24 Hours” means…well “Open 24 Hours”!!

  10. ncboxer says:

    It says this on their website-

    With over 370 24 Hour Fitness clubs nationwide, there’s bound to be a location near you. And because many clubs are open 24 hours, it’s convenient to get a quick workout at any time.

    “Many clubs”? How about all clubs should be open for 24 hours to be called 24 Hour Fitness. This seems like false advertising. You could make a case that the woman should have checked the club’s hours to be sure, but if it was me, I would have just assumed it was open 24 hours and not have checked. Maybe they should change the name of the club to 24 Hour (Sometimes) Fitness.

  11. Murph1908 says:

    1. Sh*t happens.
    2. Nobody was injured or put into any real danger.
    3. Club apologized, and gave her a free year.

    These are the good stories we like to see on this blog.

    What boggles my mind is, how did this make TV News? Did we really need the blow-by-blow of, “I called the 800 number, but they were closed. I called the police, but they couldn’t help.”

    Slow news day?

  12. levenhopper says:

    Like they said above — it was the day before Memorial Day. Even 24 hour stores shut down for holidays sometimes…

  13. LionelEHutz says:

    Look, it’s all her fault for not realizing that the 24-hour fitness center really wasn’t a 24-hour fitness center. She should read the hours sign that’s posted at the center. Besides, if the place has locks then there’s no way it can really be a 24-hour fitness center. That’s obvious.

  14. Murph1908 says:

    Lionelhutz, your logic rivals your namesake.

  15. Mills says:

    I feel no pity for someone who probably ignored six or seven announcements that they were closing because the volume on her ipod was up too high.

  16. britne says:

    @ncboxer: none of the “24 Hour” Fitness locations in my area are actually open 24 hours. All of them have hours like 8a-10p.

  17. xanax25mg says:

    i think the bigger question is was this story so important they needed to go live to the reporter who looked like he was having angioplasty during the report.There were soooo many things wrong with this story that had nothing to do with the gym

  18. valkin says:

    I love that the reporter is in the hospital. He must love his job and how awesome that the station wasn’t all, “ewww, we don’t want to show an old man in the hospital. Think about the ratings.”

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    “24 Hour” is a brand name, not an adjective.

    Little baby Jesus weeps at the injustice, but there you are.

    I’m glad she figured a way out. I’d have used the 45lb weight vs plate glass window MUCH sooner, if a company locked me in. Aw hell, even if they didn’t.

  20. scott5834 says:

    The reporter in the story, Marvin Zindler, is a big deal in Houston. He broke the The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas story and regularly investigates businesses ripping off customers. He recently announced he had pancreatic cancer. In my view, he’d be a good patron saint of the Consumerist.

  21. everclear75 says:

    There’s SLIME in the ICE MACHINE!!

    Marvin is a local legend. Actually he’s been dead for over 20 years, it’s the corpse that’s living..

  22. Buran says:

    @Murph1908: I am pretty sure that it is illegal to entrap someone like that. False imprisonment or something. And the place was called “24-hour” Fitness. In other words, there should always have been someone there! Even if they try to weasel around that fact, there is no excuse for locking someone inside a building.

    No harm done? They’re lucky she didn’t do harm to the building to escape.

  23. Buran says:

    @Mills: So now you are blaming the victim when a business has a responsibility to make sure there’s no one inside the building before it is locked. Nice.

    This place really is BlameTheVictimist now.

  24. BobbyMike says:

    Marvin Zindler is great. He’s been fighting the good fight since I was a kid (I’m 44).
    From his wiki…

    “Two years before joining KTRK-TV, Zindler was assigned by the Sheriff and District Attorney to establish a Consumer Fraud Division with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. This Division is still in operation today. It was during this time of his career that he got his first taste of working on behalf of people.

    Zindler joined KTRK on January 1, 1973, and in September 1988, Zindler made history when he signed an unprecedented lifetime contract with Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. and KTRK-TV.”

    He may be eccentric, but he means business and gets results for people.

  25. letoofdune says:

    It’s like Weekend at Bernie’s, with a customer service spin.

  26. uncdude27 says:

    I love seeing bad press about 24 Hour Fitness. One of my favorites was when some guy died while on a piece of equipment and they just threw a towel over him while people continued to work out around him until paramedics arrived.

    I quit 24 Hour Fitness after their high pressure sales techniques finally crossed the line. Not only were they coming over the club loudspeaker every 30 minutes to tell us about some special deal they were offering, but they started actually deploying sales people on the floor to bug customers while they were a captive audience on the treadmill.

  27. faust1200 says:

    I love Marvin Zindler’s work in Tales From the Crypt.

  28. ikes says:

    “serena yen knew she was locked into an exercise routine, but she never imagined she’d become a prisoner in the gym!”

    That’s journalistic GOLD right there.

  29. Ponygirl says:

    All the “24 hour Fittness” in our East Bay area close around 10pm. I have always thought it was strange given their name.

  30. TechnoDestructo says:

    @trai_dep:

    Oh, it’s just a brand name. I think I’ll start a pizza place called “15 minutes or less pizza” that guarantees delivery within two hours. It’s just a brand name! Or a restaurant called “Free Handjobs.” But it wouldn’t offer free handjobs.

  31. Shadowman615 says:

    I wouldn’t have even bothered looking for the emergency exit. By locking her in, they just gave her the green light to smash one of their windows.

    I can’t see how this happened, though. Nobody checked to see if anyone was still inside when they left? Or was she hiding under a treadmill or something?

  32. bricko says:

    That old news guy is Marvin Zindler. He is the original old country sheriff that busted the original “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and then went on to be a consumer reporter.

    He is the one in the movie that is modeled after wearing a white suit. When he was on TV for 20 years, he has never worn anything but the white suit.

  33. CumaeanSibyl says:

    What bothers me is, if they just locked up and left her in there, I can’t imagine they did anything in the way of cleaning. Shouldn’t they have been vacuuming or sweeping, taking out trash, wiping down machines, stuff like that? If nothing else, shouldn’t someone have checked to make sure some customer didn’t leave a treadmill running?

    If she was wearing an iPod, hiding in the bathroom, passed out on the floor… doesn’t matter. Plenty of customers ignore closing announcements in retail establishments, but that doesn’t mean the employees are allowed to lock up without checking first. It’s a huge liability issue for the store — just think if this woman had been groping around in the dark, tripped, and cracked her head open on the corner of a weight bench.

  34. gregr209 says:

    My gym left a guy dead in the hot tub! They didn’t find him until the next day. It seems he had a heartache in the hot tub and died and no one saw him floating in the hot tub when they closed up. The same gym once turned the lights out on me and several other men in the locker room to try and get us out so they could close…we were dressing by cell phone light!

  35. guymandude says:

    I’d have called the police to come meet me at the front door and then thrown a chair threw the front door(so I could have a credible witness). Problem solved. If the fitness center bitched about it I’d tell them that in the future perhaps they should be more careful.

  36. EtherealStrife says:

    First off, many 24 Hour Fitness locations ARE open 24 hours. When they first took over Family Fitness their locations were 24/7. As they’ve expanded to keep up with Bally and the rest 24 Hour has had to make cutbacks, especially at the less popular locations (California has had a fitness craze going on, so a disproportionately large number of ours are actually 24/7).

    My closest is open 24 hours, allowing me to work out in my beloved 1-4am bracket. I essentially have the gym to myself, and can work out for as long as I want on any equipment. No hot and sweaty meat market to deal with! Hrmm.
    It has pros and cons. :)

    And Marvin: take a sick day, fella.

  37. synergy says:

    I hear KTRK is always operating in the red and someone had to be sent over to do some slash and burning. Sounds like the center of exemplary journalism.

  38. mom22bless says:

    Hey Marvin Zindler was on “Best Little WHorehouse in Texas”.

    Marvin rocks!!

    get better soon!!!!!!!!!!

  39. dabu says:

    My mom’s been complaining to me that her local 24-hr fitness does not do a good job cleaning the gym. Seems like it’s a common problem. You guys know if this is something that can be escalated, or is it a “you get what you pay for” deal?

  40. lestat730 says:

    I doubt should would have gotten in any trouble if she smashed a window or something in order to get out. Thats what I would have done. I mean, it’s not her fault she got locked in. If the 24 hour gym was closing early for some reason, they should make sure everyone who came in that day was informed of it.

    When I used to work in a retail store we would always walk around the entire store and check the bathrooms to make sure all the customers where gone before we left for the night. This is inexcusable.

  41. sharki3232 says:

    Marvin is legend is my home town of Houston. He’ll be working at KTRK ten years after he dies. They’ll just prop up his corpse.

  42. i wouldnt be surprised if they bill her for the extra year