I’ve long been fascinated by the claims that slimming centres have made, and the incredible weight loss stories we are bombarded with everywhere in the media. Hence, I’m setting out to discover for myself what goes on behind those doors – are the treatments really effective? Do the consultants conduct themselves professionally? Are the salespeople employing hard-selling techniques to get consumers to sign up – and is there any way to escape?
I’ll be blogging about the experiences in their entirety so read on and comment here or send me your questions, if any.
Here’s Part One, with my first two slimming treatments at Jean Yip & London Weight Management.
1st stop: Jean Yip, Sengkang Compasspoint, 19th October 2012 (Fri)
How did I secure this treatment? I actually signed up on Facebook for one of their hairstyling promotions. As it turned out, the hairstyling department sent my details over to the slimming department [They think I look fat in my Facebook profile pic is it?! The audacity!] . So they called and I went for a free slimming session. Here’s what happened…
Completed a very basic questionnaire about my eating habits (what I usually eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, supper). No machine-assisted body fat analysis – the sales consultant used her bare hands to probe my love handles and thighs, that’s all. 😛
Was told to strip and put on a rather transparent pair of undies and bandage my
breasts chest like I suspect some lesbian women do. Hmm… couldn’t they have told me to wear a tube top instead?
Got my height and weight measured. (And oh wow, I’ve recently lost weight actually!)
First up was the Detox bit and I was hooked up to a machine for 30 minutes. It was supposedly for lymphatic drainage. It caused little vibrations on the chest, tummy and thigh areas. I was told I could sleep during these 30 minutes but I was too nervous to fall asleep, I guess.
Also, the other lady who was in charge of carrying out these treatments left me alone in the room most of the time. I was bored to tears. There was no TV, no clock even. I had to ask her to get me my handphone when she next came into the room.
Oh, and they served me water in a chipped (!!!) cup. I was shocked that they did that! Unsuspecting customers might get cut!
After Detox was the Body Cleansing. I was first led to a steam room to “open up my pores”. I kinda suffocated in there despite the wet towel she gave me to cover my nose. Back in the room, the lady covered my body with something like a body scrub (containing sea salt), then wrapped me up in a white plastic sheet (I commented that it looks like a body bag) then piled on some towels and a huge wrap-thingy. I ended up looking like a Subway sandwich or popiah roll, if you will.
I spent 30 minutes staring at nothingness. Come to think of it, there wasn’t even ambient music playing. I stared at the places on the walls and ceiling where the paint was peeling, the hole in the wall that was stuffed with tissue paper and the door (willing the lady to come back in soon to relieve me of this suffering). Our brains really need to be constantly stimulated, huh? When there’s absolutely NOTHING to do at all, it’s terrible.
Even if they had an LCD TV in front of me showing nothing but 30 minutes of Jean Yip commercials, I WOULD WATCH IT!!!
She came into the room twice to check on me. And when the wrap was finally off, I found myself drenched in perspiration. What with the heated bed and the many layers piled on me, it was hard not to perspire, actually.
I was so thirsty, I drank a sip of water when she wasn’t looking. Apparently, I’m not supposed to drink till my weight’s been measured again. Oops! 😛
Then a quick shower and it was time for the measurement and “consultation” aka sign-on-the-dotted-line.
How much weight did I lose? A grand total of 400g! The figure might be greater had I not drunk some water initially. XD Still I suppose it was mainly water weight lost, not fat.
How much does the package cost?
10x Detox = $1,500
10x Body Cleansing = $1,800
10x SlimUp = $2,100
Total = $5,400 (with additional bonus of body wraps, etc)
When I stated that I’m not prepared to pay $5,400, the consultant then revealed that she can use her “points” to get me a discount of 20%. Hence, I’ll only have to pay $4,320. So there are still people in this industry using this fake “points” system huh. 😉 Well, I have only this to say – perhaps their companies should give them MORE points to give away, and we can all have more affordable treatments. 😛
I hesitated so she tried various permutations (Detox + Body Cleansing only, Body Cleansing & SlimUp, etc). She finally said that if I needed more time to consider before making a decision, I can leave a $300 deposit in order to secure these discounts. I asked if I’ll be able to get my $300 back if I change my mind later and she said no, I can only redeem treatments worth $300. I mentioned the Lemon Law and she said that it does not apply to her company. What???
I think the fact that I stated I’m a blogger prevented her from giving me her namecard. I asked for one and she brushed me off. I’ll state something else as my occupation next time. 😉
Overall satisfaction with the experience: 2/5 – It wasn’t that traumatic though it was BORING!
Overall satisfaction with the weight loss: 3/5 – The fiance said 400g is close enough to half a kg, so yes, it’s quite a bit eh! But I drank 2 cups of water after, and I guess I piled it all back on. (>_<)
2nd stop: London Weight Management, City Square Mall, 22nd October 2012 (Mon)
How did I secure this treatment? It was via an Omy.sg invite. Apparently bloggers who sign up can get 6 free treatments worth a total of $668 and a set of slimming products. I thought it sounded pretty good.
Here’s the catch: When I received a call from London WM after online registration, it turns out I will only have to visit their centres twice (instead of 6 times, like I’d thought) There’d be 3 treatments per session. Hmm…
I made an appointment but couldn’t turn up ‘cos I was suddenly struck by either gastric flu or food poisoning, I know not which. But I SMSed the consultant to say I couldn’t make it and this was her reply…
I felt her reply was so callous, it didn’t deserve a response from me.
Anyhow, when I was feeling much better, I went to their outlet at City Square Mall and was pretty impressed by the posters stating that there is a “guaranteed 8-16cm loss or more in ONE slimming session”. So… logically speaking, after 2 sessions, I’d lose at least 16cm in total???
It’s pretty similar to what happened at Jean Yip – the consultant uses her hands to feel my belly fat without the aid of a machine. Then she walks me through a checklist regarding my ‘Medical & Physical History’.
I’ve been to New York Skin Solutions before so the sales techniques used at London Weight Management came as no surprise – I believe they are under the same parent company.
What I have yet to get used to is how the consultant will attempt to sell you a package BEFORE you’ve even tried their treatments. They tend to give you the most obnoxiously-priced package at the start so whatever they offer you AFTER your treatment sounds reasonable in comparison.
So… I was basically offered the package with 10 times of this and that, for a total of $3800. Obviously I said this was unacceptable as I’ve not even tried their treatments ONCE, how can I commit to coming back many more times and paying close to 4 grand?
Then the shocking statement uttered by the consultant… “Let’s not talk about cm or inches lost. Let’s talk about grams. If you lose 100grams or more after the treatment, you sign up for this package immediately, without thinking or hesitating”.
Having been a salesperson myself, I was both shocked she said that, and kinda impressed she dared to. I felt like I was being bullied into signing up. And the consultant DID seem like a Singaporean ah lian. She’s Singaporean, as a matter of fact – I asked.
What treatment did I undergo? An aroma steam bath ($80), lavender sea salt therapy ($300) and the Thermo Hot Blanket ($60). [I add up the prices and multiply it by 2 and it doesn’t add up to the $668 package us bloggers were supposed to get. Someone in the company is bad at addition?]
Before the treatment began, though, I was shocked when the consultant asked me to lift up my shirt and pull my shorts down so she could take photos of my belly, butt and thighs. Seriously?! In the consultation room? Shouldn’t we have proceeded to a private room in the back or something? It was a very uncomfortable experience.
After taking the photos, she went to print them out and with the printout, circled the areas that needed shaping up. [Over the phone, when making the appointment, I’d been assured that no photo-taking was necessary. Guess they lied to me. But as my ‘face’ wasn’t in the pictures, I decided to let this little deception slide]
I was then asked to drink a full glass of water before taking my height and weight measurements. Well, of course, if you give me a full glass of water and make me drink it, my weight is definitely gonna go up, right?
And then, once again, it was the see-through paper undies and a robe. The $80 aroma steam bath was basically a steam room (or rather, cubicle) with a pathetic slice of lemon sitting in a bowl.
The lavender sea salt ($300) seemed pretty watery and the hot blanket ($60) was similar to the one at Jean Yip. I was wrapped up once again for 30 minutes, in a room with no TV but with music playing. The people at Jean Yip say I should not sleep while wrapped in the blanket as sleeping causes one’s metabolic rate to decrease, while the people at London say I should sleep.
The consultant did come back in to check on me every 10 minutes or so, and at the 30-minute mark, she was concerned that I wasn’t perspiring enough. So… she added another 10 minutes to the treatment time. I was rather concerned. I suppose she’d want to dry me out totally till I resemble a dried prune and proudly announce I’ve lost lots of weight. 😛
I took a quick shower before getting my weight measured again. Guess what? The consultant wanted me to fry my hair to a crisp with the hairdryer so I’d not bring an extra gram onto the weighing scale. She even took the hairdryer and blow-dried my hair for me. Can you believe it?! I don’t have thick, long hair so I really felt she was overdoing things.
Moment of truth: I lost 900g that day. I couldn’t believe my own eyes actually. Considering how no detox was done for me (unlike at Jean Yip), the results were pretty good.
Then came the time for sales pitch #2. The initial 10 sessions of everything could be cut down to just 5 sessions each and the price would be halved. And I can get an additional 10% discount too.
I hemmed and hawed and said I’d have to discuss this with a “friend” and see if “she” would like to sign up together with me. If “she” didn’t want to, then I’d not sign up as well.
The consultant then brought in her supervisor as well. And I was presented with an offer I almost couldn’t resist.
I’d get all of this for a very low price of just $321, inclusive of taxes:
The supervisor said this package would originally cost $800 but she could utilize the “points” (not again!) that she and my consultant had. So I only had to pay the all-in price of $321.
At other centres, perhaps I’d sign up immediately but I didn’t want to be bullied into paying for more packages each time I came for my treatments under the $321 package. This package seems to be the ‘bait’ to get me on board and more will follow. 😉
Overall satisfaction with the experience: 2/5 – I felt so exhausted mentally and emotionally after wriggling my way out of signing that document. I think others would have just given in to the salespeople and signed anyway. I wish they didn’t seem so overly eager to close the deal.
Overall satisfaction with the weight loss: 4/5 – 900g is nothing to snort at! I was really impressed! I’m just concerned about whether there was any health risk in staying under the hot blanket for that additional 10 minutes.
Ultimately, I hope this sharing will assist you in making an informed decision about whether to enrol in a slimming programme or not. My personal experience is that working out in the gym and attending classes like Body Pump and Body Combat gives me a lot more satisfaction (perhaps from the endorphins released) and aching arms and legs too. While there is no body ache associated with going for slimming treatments, you may feel the ‘pinch’ as these treatments don’t come cheap. I’ll be going for 2 more treatments at other companies and will share my experiences in another blogpost so stay tuned! 🙂