Jumpin’ into a New Currency System of “Jumpin Gym”

Jumpin’ Gym is a Hong Kong-based entertainment centre, which provides opportunities for people to spend some quality time with family and friends. With the wide spectrum of activities and facilities provided, the options are vast, ranging from teenagers competing with each other over bowling to older folks enjoying the coin-op games. Jumpin’ Gym has played a vital part in many people’s childhoods since the 90s. It is also a comfort zone for elderly in Hong Kong to kill time.

Naturally, money has to be paid in order to enjoy the facilities provided by Jumpin’ gym. However, Hong Kong Dollars(HKD) is not the major currency that flows around. Instead, players in the centre need to convert their HKD to the Jumpin’ Gym tokens (JGT) in order to use their facilities. The exchange rate is generally 2HKD to 1JGT, but members can enjoy discounts and receive a more favourable exchange rate.

This exchange system attracts everyone to stay in the world of Jumpin’ Gym, provided that every game is paid with the non-refundable tokens. There are also membership cards which work similarly to bank debit cards. Tokens are stored in digital form so that members can spend their tokens by inserting their cards into the electronic card-reader of that particular facility.

Apart from the tokens that are paid to enjoy the facilities within the centre, the Jumpin’ Gym tickets are used to “purchase” items that can be brought home. Items ranging from stationeries to rice cookers are priced with Jumpin’ Gym tickets. These pink tickets can be earned by attaining certain game scores or winning from the gambling arcade machines. The items “sold” over the counter are usually cheaper if they are bought with HKD in other stores, however, the whole ticket idea just gives people a sense of achievement throughout the process of winning. As a result, more tokens have to be used in order to earn the tickets and hence more money has to be spent on buying the tokens.

Unfamiliarity with the special currency system used in Jumpin’ Gym can cause people to lose track on how much they are actually paying. Reckless spending can always occur especially when the system creates a huge time gap between spending real money to buy tokens and using tickets to exchange for goods. Many can spend up to several thousand dollars within hours so as to earn sufficient tickets to “buy” small items. Days or weeks of continuous spending will be needed if a person intends to bring home something significant like a polaroid instant camera.

The consumption patterns of Jumpin’ Gym players are not only governed by humans’ irrational emotions but also encouraged by the unique currency system. Any item won is sometimes viewed as trophies, albeit it can be detrimental to one’s wallet. Nevertheless, Jumpin’ Gym brings joy to many families in Hong Kong in its own distinctive style.

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