diamond geezer

 Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dear Londoner,

Your membership has expired. It's time to leave.

You came to join us with such high hopes. Wide-eyed and willing, you arrived at our gates keen to do well and get on. It was a big move from where you were before, but you were eager to take on new responsibilities and make your name. We welcomed you and your potential, recognising that special spark we see in those who join us here. But at the end of the day our terms and conditions proved too much, and you can no longer be permitted to remain.

For a while we thought you had it in you to stay. You settled in well, after a shaky start, and soon found your way around our premises. You learned our rules and came to love our traditions, slipping into new ways like a natural. You came to all our meetings, fulfilled all your commitments and paid up all your subs. But more recently you've started to default, and now we can't take the risk of letting you carry on.

You knew it would be tough here, but perhaps not quite how tough that would be. Initially things were fine, indeed you wouldn't have been able to join us otherwise. But then external pressures came to bear, diverting your attention, until there was no longer enough left in your pocket to hand over at the end of the month. And deep down you know it can only get worse.

Our annual subscription fee has been rising for some time, due to circumstances outside our control. Refreshment costs are always bubbling up, our car park charges never drop, and ground rent on the clubhouse has gone through the roof. Our membership now expects much more for its money, especially our more elite partners with their cosmopolitan lifestyles. To accommodate their needs we've had no choice but to hike prices and increase our charges, and it's not our fault if your income is unable to keep up.

The latest uplift is related to accommodation, with monthly payments easily outstripping inflation. We now have far more members attempting to hire a room than we can cope with, which isn't helped by demand considerably exceeding supply. We had hoped to build an extension, but intransigent planning laws were imposed upon us, and it turns out we couldn't have made a dent in the market even if we'd built the lot.

We thought joint membership was going to see you through. Solo membership is always a challenge, there being nobody else to share the financial burden, so twinning up with another attendee can really help. You don't need to be married or anything, we're not prudes, and a relationship of convenience is fine by us. With two salaries coming in your chances of crossing the rental threshold are doubled, but that's no longer necessarily enough, as increasing numbers of our members have started to discover.

Specifically, we've noticed that you've stopped contributing so much to our community. You used to be able to afford a night out and a drink at the bar, and the odd trinket from our weekend craft market, without a second thought. But our escalating membership fees leave you with less to spend on other purchases, so you're no longer sufficiently solvent at the end of the month, and appear to be spending more of your time staying at home instead. And that's no good, we can't continue to support freeloaders, so you'll have to go.

You will have to stay until the break clause in your membership contract kicks in, even if that ends up crippling your finances still further. But if you're honest with yourself, you always knew your time with us was coming to an end. We're not the easy option we used to be, we're more exclusive now, and you're simply no longer the class of clientèle we require.

We think you'll find membership elsewhere more to your liking. You might need to travel a little further away than you'd like, but there's an entirely different world out there, one you could even afford. These other places haven't inflated their fees like we have, indeed you should be able to afford to hire more rooms for less money, and without the need for joint occupation.

Admittedly these other communities aren't as lively and vibrant as we are. We offer cultural opportunities in abundance, and a fully-stocked bar, and a variety of markets to die for. We provide the chance to socialise with the crème de la crème, and we don't shut down at five in the evening. But you can still make your own entertainment out there, millions of people do, it's simply that we have a vastly overrated view of our own importance.

It's been great having you with us, while you could afford it. We've enjoyed having you as a member. Now lower your aspirations a little and go away. Your membership has expired. It's time to leave.

Yours faithfully,

The Membership Secretary

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