‘It’s just an arbitrary rule you pull out of air’: Man kicked out of Planet Fitness over water bottle in viral video (updated)

Viewers were divided on who was in the wrong.


Alexandra Samuels

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 30, 2021   Updated on Nov 1, 2021, 10:00 am CDT

A man recently recorded a heated argument he had with a Planet Fitness employee, who kicked him out of the gym because his water bottle was too big. 

The video, first posted on YouTube in 2019, regained traction on Reddit’s r/PublicFreakout Saturday and has nearly 20,000 points.

In the roughly 3-minute video, a man goes back-and-forth with an employee. He claims that he’s previously worked out at that same Planet Fitness location with his same half-gallon bottle without issue. The employee, however, says that having bottles that cannot fit in the gym’s cupholders are against her general manager’s rules. 

The issue, though, is that this “rule” is apparently not posted in writing anywhere within the gym.

“It’s just an arbitrary rule that you pull out of [the] air, that you can’t show me in writing, [and] that you don’t have posted anywhere in your gym,” the man said. 

“That is correct,” the employee responds. (It’s implied that the employee told the man off-camera that employees have the discretion to change any rule.)

When it becomes clear the employee isn’t budging, the man continues: “I go to multiple Planet Fitness’s and never have an issue. And she cannot provide me with any written documentation showing me that that is part of her policy. Nor is it posted anywhere in the gym.”

As the video continues, the man continues to question the gym’s policy—which the employee largely ignores. Eventually, the employee asks him to leave. 

“I’ll go ahead and leave since you asked me to leave. But this video will be out and it’ll be showing you and your face,” the man said before he finishes recording. 

In old tweets, Planet Fitness has stated that it prohibits gallon water bottles because they block walkways.

Viewers were divided on whether they backed the employee or the customer. 

“What nonsense,” wrote another commenter. “If she was being forced to enforce a policy she found unreasonable, she would have acted differently.”

Others, meanwhile, jumped to the employee’s defense. 

“She’s trying to get through a shift, not come up with policies on the spot to antagonize members,” said a third person. 

“That’s the rule, it’s her job to do it. She might think it’s stupid, she might not, but at the end of the day, she’s doing what her job is,” said another person. 

Update 8:28 am CT Oct. 21: In a statement to the Daily Dot, Becky Zirlen, director of public relations at Planet Fitness, said, “For the safety of all employees, members and guests, water bottles should fit in cup holders and are not allowed on the club floor and should be kept out of aisles and walk ways.”

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*First Published: Oct 30, 2021, 10:43 am CDT