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JFZI joined Planet Fitness a few weeks ago in order to–if I may channel Woody Allen–gain immortality “by not dying” rather than through my “art,” which is writing books about God and the Bible that will only be appreciated long after I’m gone. So far so good (on both fronts), and the time also gives me a great excuse to listen to some podcasts.

Anyhoo, I noticed right away that their big sign out front and plastered all over the inside walls is misspelled–twice:

Planet Fitness prides itself on being a “judgement free zone.”

Personally, I can forgive the missing hyphen after the noun modifier. But that extra “e” is more than I can handle. And after Googling the matter, I learned that a lot of people have had issues with this for quite some time, even to the point of calling the corporate office. The complaints have clearly fallen on deaf ears.

SCENE: Two weeks after I joined, as I was leaving, I contemplated whether I should just let it go and keep saying nothing or be a jerk and point it out to the poor guy behind the desk.

Because it’s what I do, and because I knew from the beginning it would only be a matter of time, I opted for the latter.

Desk Guy: Have a good day, sir!
Me: Thanks……Say….did you know your sign is misspelled?
DG: Really?
Me: Yeah. There’s an extra “e.”
DG:  <?>
Me: In “judgement.”
DD: <?>
Me: The first “e.” It’s spelled without that one.
DD: Oh…yeah…I remember someone saying something about that. There’s a reason for it, I think, but I don’t remember.
Me: <Yeah…I know the reason. The musclehead who came up with the slogan couldn’t spell and neither could anyone else as it ran the gauntlet at the corporate office. And even now, when they surely know, they still won’t correct it.> Well…is Planet Fitness based in England, because the extra “e” is the British spelling.
DG: <?>
Me: OK, well, see ya. And don’t worry about it. I won’t hold you responsible–haha.
DG: <?>

I actually felt for the Desk Guy. I wish he could have handled this little exchange better, even just to say, “Yeah, what an embarrassment. Good thing Planet Fitness isn’t in the tutoring business.”

If I were in charge, seeing that the signs likely aren’t going to be changed, I would require all new employees to attend an intense weekend retreat in the wilderness to learn how to handle this awkward situation–since it’s going to keep coming up.

Yes. We meant to do that. To test you. To see if you’d notice. Good job!

You DO realize, sir, that by making such a big deal of this, you are judging us, which undermines the whole point of the sign.”

In England it’s spelled like that. Excuse us if we try to broaden your cultural horizons. Cheers!

Shut up, fatwad. If you spent as much time on the stairmaster as you do reading our signs, you’d be a chiseled god by now.

And it doesn’t help that no one else in that entire gym seems to be bothered by this. They’re just going about their business, as if this means nothing and life should just carry on as is.

It’s all very stressful. Maybe I need to workout more.

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.