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Treating others with respect

February 5, 2011
Estherville News

My name is John Lorenzen, and I am a second-year student attending Iowa Lakes Community College. I paid to attend the Regional Wellness Center here in Estherville my freshman year. This year, there is a program through the college, which I pay for, to attend the RWC. On January 31, my roommate and I walked to the RWC in the afternoon to work out; I work out in this facility every day. It was snowing and when we entered, we were greeted in a very rude and impolite way by the manager of the RWC; A very tall, slender, man, with a grumpy disposition. He said, "What are you guys doing today?" I replayed by saying, "going to lift some weights." He told us, "Not in those shoes you aren't!" His tone was in now way called for. I replied by saying that I had planned, and will wait on the rug with my roommate until my shoes are clean and dry. He asked, "Do you not like this facility? I said, "I love this facility.. I just don't have another pair of shoes. "He replied by saying, "well maybe we should check in the lost and found, or send you to goodwill." I just shrugged my shoulders and kept wiping my feet. He threw me a towel and told me to wipe them off until they are dry. Besides his tone, I was not upset one bit in having to dry my feet. That is until as soon as I got them dry. I witnessed two older women walk right by without him saying a word. They were not carrying any extra shoes, and the ones they had one were just as wet as snowy as mine were. They proceeded to go up to the track area, where I was planning ongoing. This is what frustrated me, not because I was forced to wipe my feet, "'I was planning to wipe them in the first place', but the fact that just because of my age, this manager was being very disrespectful to me, while letting older people pass who committed the same infraction. I may be 20 years old, but I am no less of a person than someone twice my age.

While I was lifting, I witnessed the same manager kick out a group of Estherville high school students because they were taking a breather. He pointed to a camera, while raising his voice, saying that he just witnessed them sitting for the past 10 minutes and to get out, for they were not doing anything. I myself was present the entire time, and highly doubt they were sitting for more than five minutes. In fact, they were taking a short break between reps talking about their upcoming wrestling meet the next day. I proceeded to do a lift that requires the heels of my shoes to be on a bench. He told me, "Get your feet off that bench, that's not what a bench is for. The bench is meant for weightlifting which is what I was doing. I finished my workout and went downstairs to leave and voice my complaint. I asked if I could call him by his first name, for I didn't know his last, and he said I could. I then asked if I could voice a complaint and he said, "Of course." I said, "I respect the rules of this place, but I felt it was very rude and impolite the way you treated me. I have no problem at all waiting until my shoes are dry, but it is not nice to be so impolite." I continue by saying, "I witnessed two older ladies enter right after I was made to dry my shoes. They went right by you without you saying a word, and their shoes were just as wet as mine." While sneering at me, he asked if I was living on campus. I replied, "yes." He told me that because I lived on campus, I was getting into the RWC for a cheaper rate; therefore, I have fewer rights and have to follow stricter rules. I said to him that he was still being extremely disrespectful to a person who pays to be here, who has done nothing wrong and he responded by saying I was the person being disrespectful, "wearing wet shoes into the RWC." Followed by, "End of conversation, that's it, it's over," turning his back to me and walking away. I do not understand his thought process, I guess it's disrespectful for me to get some water on the floor, but it's perfectly fine, and considered not disrespectful for a person of an older age to get water on the same floor. I left knowing I was in the right.

Rules are rules, just because someone pays more than me does not give that person permission to break the rules, and it definitely does not give the manager the right to belittle me and my fellow students. I have not been disrespectful in any means. I always wipe my equipment down and put my weights back on the rack. This is not the only circumstance in which I watched this man insult and impose his "authority" over people who pay to be there. He may be more mature than me when it comes to his age, but his maturity is far less than mine when it comes to being respectful and nice to others. I honestly do not know how he holds this position treating paying customers the way he does. I am currently going to consider taking my business to Anytime Fitness in Estherville.

John Lorenzen



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