Strange and Funny Things That Have Happened In Our Business Over The Past 21Years
As a retailer we deal with thousands of members of the public and as they say there is nothing funnier than folk. Here are a few anecdotes that will hopefully make you wonder and even raise a smile, and no doubt more will be added.
1) In the early days of the business we had a gentleman come in to the store to buy a multi gym. He was quite untidily dressed. After trying out the gym he said he wanted to buy it but he had no cash or credit card on him, so wanted it on finance. We didn’t hold out much hope of him getting the finance and this was bourn out when we asked him for identification. He said he had no driving licence, no passport and was of no fixed abode but he could prove who is was and he did this by rolling up his sleeve and showing us his name tattooed on his arm. He didn’t get the finance.
2) We once sold a bench mail order through our web site. The information on our web site said ‘this bench is ideal for use with free weights’. The lady who bought the bench rang the shop very angry that the bench had arrived but there was no sign of the weights that she expected would come free with the bench.
3) We arrived at the store one morning to find that someone had wire cut through our security grids in front of the shop window, then taken a glass cutter and carefully cut hole in the glass just large enough for them to steal a £19.99 tub of sports supplements that made up part of the window display. First we couldn’t believe the trouble and risk someone would take to steal such a low value item but we also knew that he was going to be very disappointed as the tub was a display tub and was completely empty.
4) We had a phone call from a foreign gentleman who wanted to buy a very expensive treadmill. He told us that he wanted to fly it over to South Africa and all we had to do was deliver it to Heathrow airport and no shipping paper work was necessary. He offered to pay on an American Express credit card. Alarm bells rang and we thought we had to check this out thoroughly. We rang Amex who said that they would check it out and get back to us. How wrong can first impressions be! He was the PA of the foreign secretary to South Africa and was buying it on his behalf. He owned four properties in London and the reason no paper work was required was because the treadmill was going back to SA on the president’s private Jumbo Jet.
5) We once took a very nice treadmill to a London flat opposite Regents Park that was owned by a Russian millionaire. He had just had the flat completely refurbished and was on his way to London to stay in it for the first time. The concierge took us into the flat and after we had installed the treadmill we got talking to him. He said that the kitchen had just been installed at a huge cost but for some reason the dishwasher door wouldn’t open fully. We had a look and found that they had fitted a wooden base plate that was too large so the door was hitting it when pulled down. We got our tools out and fixed it so the door opened perfectly. The concierge told us that he was going to phone the kitchen fitters to tell them that a couple of fitness equipment engineers can fit kitchens better than they can.
6) We took a treadmill to a lovely country cottage with beams and sloping floors. The only problem with that is that a treadmill has to be on a level surface so that the belt stays centre of the running deck. The customer was out at work but the housekeeper pointed us to a bedroom were the customer wanted it installed, this floor was slopping considerably left to right. We started the treadmill and the belt immediately veered to one side. We ran on the treadmill and made one adjustment after another. It took over an hour of trial and error but we eventually got it right and we were very pleased with ourselves and relieved. Two day later we got a phone call from the customer to say that the belt was running off the side. Oh no we thought how are we going to make this work. When we got back to the house we found that he didn’t like working out in that bedroom and had decided to move it to another bedroom were the floor slopped right to left. One hour later…………
7) There have been very few installations that we have had to turn around and say we can’t do that. But one day we arrived at this house with a treadmill weighing 150kg to be told that the only way in was up a scaffolding ladder along the scaffolding, onto the roof and through a skylight. We decided to go back another day.
8) We delivered to a knight of the realm a cross-country ski machine. He was a very nice chap who helped us carry the machine into the house. On the wall of this beautiful house was horse photographs and as my partner is a keen horse rider they started to talk shop. He said he had had a very good day as he had just won at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. How much have you won we dared to ask, “Oh no I have not won on a bet” he said, “My horse has just won the Cheltenham Gold Cup”. How the other half live.
9) We arrived at the shop one day to find that one of the shop windows had been smashed but nothing had been stolen. We called a glass fitting company to replace the window and also the police, as we had to get a crime number for the insurance. The police could not understand why nothing had been stolen but we found out later in the day when a young man who was a regular customer came in to explain what had happened in the early hours. He had been out shooting rabbits that night and was walking home past our shop at about 3.00am when he saw four very drunk young lads play fighting outside our store. One guy pushed the other so hard that he fell against the window that smashed leaving him lying inside the shop. Incredibly he was unharmed but after a few minutes they suddenly realised that the shop was now ripe for picking. He shouted at them not to even think about stealing from the shop but they just gave him a mouthful of abuse. He thought I am not having that and removed his shot gun from its casing, pointed it at them and said, “Do you really want to do that”. The lads took one look at the double barrel shot gun and made a hastily retreat. He was glad the lads ran off as if they had come after him he would have been in trouble, as the gun wasn’t loaded, but it certainly had the desired effect.
10) One day I was picking up a rowing machine and as I took the weight my by back went. The pain was excruciating and I fell to the floor and just lay there. At that moment the door opened and a young guy came in to buy some sports supplements. He saw me on the floor and asked what had happened. I told him and he just shrugged his shoulder and carried on shopping, stepping over me every now as then as I got in his way. He then looked down at me and asked if we had a particular product in stock and I said through the pain that it was coming in next week. He just nodded and left. I was there for another half hour before my partner came back and helped.
11) In the early nineties bodybuilding clothing was very popular, the big tee shirts and baggy trousers and we had a whole range on display. A young lad came into the shop and asked if we had any posing pouches that are worn during competition. He certainly didn’t look like a competitive bodybuilder. We showed him what we had and he took a pair into the changing room. In the meantime the shop had filled up with a number of customers and it was then he decided to come out into the store in full view of all the people present and ask everyone what they thought. These briefs were so small it left very little to the imagination and there was a lot of red faces, but if that was not enough he then decided to pull the briefs to one side to show everyone he recent appendix scar. We certainly didn’t let him try on another pair.