I’m sort of sad about this, but today I just had to let go of kickboxing at Python Fitness. I had ever intention of finishing out the 10-pass groupon I’d bought a month ago and I sincerely enjoyed April’s class, but it just wasn’t working for me.
The final nail in the coffin came today, after I found myself lost in Brentwood trying to come across town for class a different way. I normally come to class on Mondays, but because the cancellation, I had to come today, from a different direction. I texted Chris to say I was lost and wouldn’t be able to make it.
He must have checked out the blog (this one) before responding to me, because he sent three angry texts about not having done anything wrong by canceling class and resenting that I’d even think about getting a refund on my groupon.
I almost hate to publish this lest I look like a total internet nutcase, but here’s the email I responded with:
I know that the comments on my blog may have made you feel insecure about your business, so I’ll attribute your texts this morning to those feelings. I can be a bit of a hothead myself, but I did want to have a conversation with you about my experience with your gym.
When you offer a service in exchange for money, I expect that service to be provided. I bought ten kickboxing classes with the assumption that classes would be offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. When I began coming, I called and made a reservation, then was told there was no need. Sometimes you texted me to see if I was coming, sometimes you didn’t. Sometimes the door was locked, sometimes it wasn’t. I realize that the website says that you need to make reservations (which is something I’ve never encountered before in my history of taking group fitness classes) but this was never enforced, and I was even told by you explicitly that this was not necessary.
I realize it’s difficult to pay April even when no one comes, but this is one of the bitter pills a business owner must swallow when complying with good customer service. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in sticky situations like this.
Since it’s clear that we’re parting ways now, here are some pieces of advice from a former customer:
1.) It’s not smart to be inconsistent with schedules, protocols, and procedures.
2.) It’s not smart to only call customers by demeaning feminine pet names such as “baby,” “doll,” etc. every time you communicate with them.
3.) It’s not smart to send thee angry text messages in response to a customer’s fitness blog with a decent following and a less-than-glowing review of your business.
4.) It’s not smart to take advantage of a customer’s sympathy towards small business owners by insisting that they were the ones who did something wrong, not you, time and time again.
5.) It’s not smart to ask someone to write a review on yelp, thank them for their glowing review, then screw them by wasting their gas, messing with their schedules, then finally sending angry texts after she writes about her experience on her own blog.
To be clear, I still value April’s experience, attitude, and teaching style and I’m very glad she also teaches at the Y, where I know I can go to her classes without having to deal with this nonsense.
I’ll be publishing this email on my blog.
I don’t feel good about this, but I don’t like being talked down to, either.
I also called groupon to ask if I could get half the classes refunded and received this email:
No problem, and I’m sorry for any trouble. I just issued you $15 in Groupon credit and removed the Groupon from your account.
Please enjoy and let me know if I can help you further.
Groupon Customer Support
They’re awesome. I really wasn’t going to ask for even a partial refund (also stated here) but I’ve always responded pretty actively to “you wouldn’t dare” type language.
I hate having to put even a shred of negativity on this blog. Most of what you read from the fitness industry is all about positivity, giving people a chance, putting a smile on your face and just marching towards a better you. But if fitness is a lifestyle, then perpetual positivity is a myth. No one is positive all the time – there are moments of doubt, betrayal, fear, and anger. That’s just how life is. (I also wrote about giving shortcomings their due a few months ago, here).
So I just ran three miles today.
And that’s that. All you other bloggers out there – has anyone else run into this problem with people misinterpreting your blog, then using their interpretation to attack you? How do you deal with it?