Friday, November 28, 2008

A Neat Idea

I went to the Winter Park Athletic Club tonight, thinking I'd get a run in and purchase a pass for a day or two. When I got there, however, I had a surprise. The door is locked, with a bar code key system for access. No one was at the desk (4:00 on a Friday), so I couldn't knock on the door and get access. However they had a sign on the door, so I called the number.

A lady answered and said she'd be happy to set me up with a day pass. Actually I wanted 2, and they're $10 a day, but she said she'd do $15 for 2, so I said great and I was at the club.

So she walked me through their process. There's a lock box on the wall, which has bar code keys (keychain sized) inside. I grabbed one, which had a number written on it, and held it up to the reader in the glass. It let me inside and there were envelopes on the desk, each with numbers corresponding to the bar code keys. I grabbed mine, and inside mine was a waiver and info sheet that I filled out, including my credit card number, and marking 2 days along with the charge. I dropped it in the slot, my credit card in my wallet along with the bar code reader, and then worked out.

Tomorrow my bar code reader will work, and they'll have updated their system to mark it for 2 days. When I'm done I drop it in the slot and they reuse it. They have cameras set up for remove monitoring and recording, so they can tell who came in and double check their charges. I'm sure they do it randomly, but it's a neat way to run a business, track users, and save on employee costs.

I bet other businesses that are service related like this, or rental related, could work like this, at least on a small scale.

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