‘Twas briny, and the epsom groves fluttered with salt-bats, a lurking fog floating atop the murky bog. From the dark maw of silence came a guttural groan, an eerie utterance akin to those of monsters. From the depths of darkness, that groan turned into what mortals would call a voice, and that voice said….
“Oh f*ck! Tank two’s filtration system just exploded! Cancel the next floats, grab the mop. I’ll hit the shut off valve. Crapsticks on a string, this suuuucks.”
Everyone who actually runs a center knows this beautiful irony — for running a business promoting calm and rest, a float center can be absolutely insane. If you’re jumping in with both feet, you’re going to encounter your fair share of days where a boring 9 – 5 job sounds pretty darn appealing.
We gathered tales from around the float industry in order to present to you…
Now if you’ll just follow us into this dungeon. Now hop in the tank. Yes, yes. Now, listen. Can you hear it, the thunderous silence of a thousand salt crystals eating away at your investment?
Be warned, the stories you’re about to read aren’t for the faint of heart. Each one is a torturous torment that has befallen a poor soul within the float community. Let these words of warning be a message to never let your guard down and to seek council at every opportunity, lest you share the sad fate of those less fortunate victims float center owners out there.
The Wall of Ill Repute
Our first story comes from a center very dear to us, in the land of coffee and vegan bookstores. Back in the before-times, when opening a four tank float center made you one of the largest dedicated places to float in the world, a small group of guys, fueled by optimism, set out to start a Nothing business.
They had their trials. Every part of getting started, for example. But they prevailed against every obstacle that had crossed their paths, and everything was good. For a time. After a certain point, they became complacent, confident in their superior float center knowledge. A confidence that would be their downfall…
Over five years from when they first opened, our heroes were in the middle of a remodel. A remodel that was intended to be fairly routine: upgrading one of their rooms and moving a water heater (a story for another time about the perils of water heaters in float rooms). But what lay behind the walls was something they couldn’t have possibly expected.
One wall, shared with a neighboring business, was part of the original construction, and was one of the few inches of the shop that remained untouched in all the years of running the business. Given that they were upgrading the room anyway, they figured they could add a layer of soundproofing to the room, and so proceeded to tear out the existing wall down to the studs.
What they found was so shocking, so appalling, that it chilled them to the bone. When they tore down the wall to replace it, it became clear that their wall was not a wall at all. At least not in the traditional sense of the word. There was no dry wall. Instead, there was cardboard that had been mudded over and painted. Instead of insulation, the walls had copies of The Asia Times stuffed inside. In fact, on closer inspection, it looked like there had been a small fire as a few of the newspapers were burnt around the edges. Disaster had been narrowly averted for years, and they had never been aware of danger lying just beyond their “walls”.
Forever after, they’d be haunted by the mysteries behind every other portion of their shop which remained unrenovated. Which was… nothing, actually. That was the only remaining piece of original construction… so they got off easy this time. But it did serve as a lesson to not trust previous contractors, tenants, and landlords to build things intelligently or safely.
The moral of this story is to never place your faith in the work ethic of strangers, lest you fall prey to the demons in their own lives. Much worse than malice or greed are the monsters of laziness and ineptitude. And so pervasive are they, that they seem to lurk around every corner, under every bed, and in the heart of every person you meet who offers to build you a double studded wall.
Somewhere, in a snowy town adjacent to natural wonders exists a float center with a tragic past that belies its quaint surroundings. Should you pass this center you’d never know the horrors that once lay buried deep within its walls.
Ages past, when this center was still in its infancy, the owner was trying to secure funding and coming up short. As a consequence, he had to compromise on his dreams. Cut corners where he could. He always considered himself a man of ingenuity, but oh how wrong he was. In the face of the troubles about to fall upon him, he was little more than a mouse trying to outrun his exercise wheel.
When reaching out to contractors, the man asked for quotes and attempted to negotiate prices with those that he contacted. None were within his budget. Until one day, he came across an offer that he thought was too good to be true. A dear friend of his investor, a contractor by trade himself, offered to build out his center exactly to his specifications far below the asking price of the other contractors he was speaking with. And of course since they were friends, he could trust him to do the job as he needed without second guessing him. His prayers were answered!
…Or so he thought.
At first, everything went well. Incredibly well. The contractor friend went to work on the building, and the man went on planning the rest of his opening, knowing that his construction was in good hands.
He’d intermittently ask his new contractor if there were any problems with the build out or if he needed anything else, but he said that it was all going perfectly. The man was so relieved.
Eventually the time came when they were set to open. The man paid his contractor who graciously accepted before leaving the float center.
The man came in later to bask in the satisfaction of accomplishing his dream. The center was starting to look beautiful. He was expecting there to be more clutter, but was pleasantly surprised. During one of the inspections, the inspector tried to turn on the light, but it didn’t work. Thinking it was just a bad bulb, he replaced it. Still nothing. He tried calling his contractor, maybe there was a breaker that was turned off? There was no answer on the line.
The inspector, upon doing his job, discovered that there was no wiring to the lightswitch. Or to the light. Or, in fact, to anything.
Together, they discovered there was no waterproofing, no electrical work, no soundproofing. It was just painted drywall and nice floors. A beautiful facade with nothing underneath.
Panicked, he tried to call the contractor again to demand an explanation. No answer. He called his bank to put a stop payment on the check, but it was too late. It had already been cashed.
The contractor had left town. He lost his money. There was no way he was going to open on time. Eventually, he was able to save enough money to hire another contractor and was able to build his center out. But he’ll never escape the horror or the cost that consumed his center or nearly destroyed his business venture.
The Float Tank Zone
Imagine, if you will, a float center in the heart of a major metropolis. Take yourself back to the time when they were first opening. A time when they were acquiring their tanks.
Naturally, the owners were abuzz with excitement. They were on the second story of their building with no elevator, which meant carrying the tanks up the stairs. Or so they thought…
They measured the tanks and the stairwells, compared that with measurements from the manufacturer, who was certain it would fit. And fit it did…for a time. The laborious trudge of bringing the tank up the stairs was no easy feat. It required all the manpower they could muster to get it up those stairs as the isolation monolith rigidly battered through narrow passage.
The tragedy came when they tried to move the tank through the stairwell. What they failed to account for was a slight overhang in that particular entryway. It proved to be enough of an obstruction to keep the tank from moving further up the stairs. No amount of angling, pushing, or coaxing had any impact. The walls were concrete. There was no way to get it through.
To get the remaining tanks into their second story business, they had to rent a crane and take out a wall as the bar patrons below tried to figure out what kind of table those float tanks were. They rented the smallest crane they could find, so as to skirt the requirement for getting a permit (a process that would’ve set them back days with their float tanks in the streets). Once it was rented, they lifted each one up in the dead of night, through their new hole in the wall specifically for this purpose.
The expense set them back considerably.
While they were able to open and have had much success, there are still many sleepless nights that the owners have, waking from fitful nightmares of float tanks in the streets with bar patrons trying to use them as furniture.
Those are all the terrifying tales of poor unfortunate magnesium soul-fates that we have for you this time. May they serve as a warning of missed opportunities and lessons learned. Allow these portents to serve, not as harbingers of your own fate, but instead, as cautionary tales of woe, guiding you away from your own saliferous doom.