Ask Amy: Gym members sweat dilemma over fans

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • April 26, 2013 - 12:06 PM

Dear Amy: Some friends and I are members of a pretty no-nonsense gym. The majority of the members are hard-core athletes who train for upcoming marathons, while the rest of us are more “well-upholstered” Midwesterners trying to get fit.

There is a problem with one gym member, and we cannot seem to agree on how to handle it. In the area where the treadmills, elliptical machines and rowers are located, there are ceiling fans that provide some respite from the stuffiness.

One woman turns all the fans off every time she enters the area. We are reluctant to say anything to her because she clearly has “issues.” She’s extremely emaciated; I assume she has an eating disorder. She comes to work out in a hooded sweatshirt, yet makes very little effort on the machinery, casually reading her magazine, checking messages, etc. Meanwhile, those of us actually exerting ourselves would love to have the additional circulation provided by the fans!

We are not sure how to handle this. We don’t want to cause angst to someone who clearly is struggling. But by the same token, “majority rules” should certainly hold up for a room full of sweating people!

How should we handle this?

Amy says: Having “issues” or an eating disorder does not make this person in charge of the very air moving through a public area. You can assume that her extreme thinness may make her feel cold all the time.

You are all obviously very nice, kind Midwesterners. I elect you to put down your barbell and be brave enough to walk over to her, make eye contact, smile and say: “Hi, it’s really too hot in here to keep the fans off, so I’d like to turn them back on. Is that OK?” And you reach over and flip the switch.

She might be as nice and kind as you are, and once the will of the majority is made clear, she might be happy to comply for the sake of the greater comfort.

No thank-yous

Dear Amy: My son and his wife (a stay-at-home mom) live several hours away and have three young children. We see them five or six times a year.

We have been very generous to them and send gifts, checks or gift cards for holidays or special events.

It bothers me that they fail to acknowledge receipt of many of these gifts. If I ask if they have gotten them, the response is usually: “Oh! Yeah. Thanks.”

I sent them $1,000 for their fifth anniversary last year ... same response!

Should I grit my teeth and continue the gifts or just forget these special occasions?

Amy says: Your daughter-in-law is obviously partly to blame, but your son is a partner to this gratitude crime.

I assure you, if I sent $1,000 to someone and he didn’t acknowledge it, I would never do that again. Tell them both that you are disappointed.

I suggest you dial your giving way back. Concentrate on the kiddies and try to mentor them toward gratitude and acknowledgment.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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