Customer Disservice

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I made the call to go to group class at the Famous Franchise before my lesson.  I’ve been a little on the fence about group classes because they are down instructors and you sometimes end up with a serious male/female imbalance.  Last night actually worked out with three women and two men so NewestGirl joined as a leader.  Nothing particularly special about the pattern or the group but there was a new couple there who were on a lesson when I got there but then got taken to the little room to talk business with Z.  I guess they signed up because she came out with them and they went to the front desk to close the transaction.  The guy started watching our group class and, right away, I knew he was hooked.  He even stayed through to watch our demo and applauded at the end.

The lesson was supposed to be on the closed routines but we only got through Bolero and Tango which is OK because Bolero is my weakest dance.  There was a lot of correcting that was required which was fine but I started to get the awful self-conscious feeling while doing the Bolero.  I’ve said before that it just seems tough for me to get the feel for the Bolero.   In part, that is because it requires lowering that I’m just not capable of.  But we have a lot of walking steps in our routine and just moving across the floor “bolero style” is a challenge.  I’m just not sure how to project what I’m supposed to project.

But we did Bolero because that is the last open routine we need so she wanted to see what I liked from the closed routine.  Had to tell her that there wasn’t much.  And I did tell her that I was just struggling to get the feel for the Bolero.  She asked me what I wanted and I said I just wanted it to look like a Bolero.  I do know this it will be more than the steps that are required.  There’s a certain mindset required.  I found this description which seems to cover it “Bolero is a slow dance characterized by smooth, gliding movements, dramatic arm styling and a romantic feel”.  Yeah, pretty much 0 for 3 on that one.  I can do smooth gliding movement but the way Bolero does the rise and fall just feels awkward to me.  And we won’t even talk about arm styling or romantic feel.  So I get in my head an ideal of what Bolero should be and then I start doing it and it starts to feel off and I conjure up a vision of how stupid I must look and the whole self-conscious thing kicks in.

She mentioned that she was going to talk with OwnerGuy about the open Bolero and about when we’d start and how it might be difficult because he was going out of town this weekend.  I think I rolled my eyes because I am a master at the eye roll.  There is nothing like a good eye roll combined with the subtle head shake to just say “stop blowing smoke up my nether regions”.  Granted it is a bit passive agressive but it seems less confrontational which would be the truth which is I’ve heard that story many times and acitons speak louder than words.  So, until he actually comes through, I’m going to express doubts.  She got that though and I made it clear that I didn’t hold her responsible for anything.

By nature, I like to see the best in everyone and I do try to give the benefit of the doubt when it is warranted.  But, if you don’t follow through, you end up on my sh*t list and I’m far less likely to believe anything you say.  And the more you promise and don’t deliver, the deeper on the list you go.

Right before my lesson, I was in my usual Famous Green Coffee Place and trying one of their new drinks.  I’ve told you before that they seem to love me in there.  As a sign of that, the barista just gave me the drink for free.  That happened to me at another location right before Christmas.  It always makes me feel a little awkward although I don’t ever turn down the free drink.

What that heck did that have to do with Ballroom Dancing, I’m sure you are saying to yourself right now.  Was that just a random “squirrel” moment where I just got distracted and started talking about coffee.  No, it was an example of good customer service.  I would always go back because I need coffee before my lesson and there are no other good options but it still leaves me with a positive feeling about the place and makes me more likely to recommend it to others.

Part of me wants to give OwnerGuy the benefit of the doubt.  He has his own students and he has studio business and he has other things so there is only a limited amount of time.  Then, there is the other part of me that says I’m spending an obscene amount of money at that place and isn’t it his job to make sure that ALL students are happy.  Should there really be such an obvious divide between HIS students and the rest of the studio?  And every time he makes a decision to do something instead of helping me, it sends a message that I’m less important than whatever else he needed to do.

Kid T brought up the Big Dance Event at the end of April.  I know I’m not highly competitive.  I get that.  I’ve told OwnerGuy I don’t expect to win and I’m not going in with goals about placement.  Still, it is not cheap to go to these events.  I don’t want to go just to be filler.  Yes, it is mostly about the experience, but I want to feel that in some way, if all the breaks went my way, that I could do well.  When he shows little to no interest in helping me with the finer points of competition or in helping to design an open routine, then it starts picking at other insecurities.  Maybe I’m just not good enough and he’d rather focus on people who actually have a chance??

Again, this is similiar to the kinds of things I went through early last year which made the first Showcase in May kind of an ugly event.  At least now, I’m recoginizing some of the same feelings so I can attempt to work through them.

So, why don’t you just go talk to OwnerGuy??  Because talking is useless.  He’s got built in excuses.  He lost two instructors and it scrambled his plans.  He’s got all these things he’s working on.   Blah, blah, blah.  The only real leverage I have is to walk away and I’m afraid he’d be willing to call my bluff.  Just not ready to do that just yet. And so it goes.




  1. Hi Wall, I’m sorry to hear that things still aren’t going as well as you would like at the FF. You love to dance, and you invest a lot of time, money and energy into it and I think you deserve to have a great dance experience. Keep standing up for yourself and remember that you have the option of Studio B. Good luck!

  2. Wall – Perhaps FF studios, and other types as well, tend to spend more time sucking up to relative newbies in hopes of hooking them firmly and turning them into “whales” – to borrow Las Vegas parlance. If that is the case, there being only so much time available, “lifer” students are going to get shorter shrift. Another factor may be that studios know from experience what a given established student will and will not spend $$ on. So, no sense wasting time and effort trying to influence a predictable result. Probably nothing personal about that phenomenon; it’s just business. Found an article that might interest you:

    1. Not personal, just business. Seems like a scene from the Godfather. But you are likely correct. They know what I will do and won’t do so as long as the status quo remains unchanged, they have no incentive to do more.

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