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Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by mm76012
4/1/2014  11:54:00 AM
Had to finish in the reply

Here is the real life example I recently ran into. I setup a Facebook group. This group had one intention only share opportunities to dance in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. It was intended not to talk about things happening at AM or any other studio. It was to simply say hey, we are going out dancing at XYZ anyone want to come along? It was not intended to advertise for other studios or even our own AM.

Now a few things slipped through. A Groupon for dance lessons got posted. That was more for people to give to a friend on a budget interested in dancing, not so much to lure people away. (We knew of a lot of people who would have loved to come to AM but cannot afford the equivalent of a luxury car payment to get dance lessons each weekend).

A few open events got posted that were sponsored by studios. A few of those events likely would have exposed people to the offerings at other studios. A few of the events were at the same time of the weekly practice party.
In my opinion this Facebook group is not like the cork board on the studio wall. I was not posting flyers on the studio wall or handing out information at their place of business. I was doing this completely independent of the studio. I am a grown man. I am free to do this. This is a free market society.

But nope, the owner of my beloved Arthur Murray could not abide. He took my wife and I into his office and had a long talk with us. To boil the argument down he basically said I dont know anything about Facebook and Twitter and that stuff, but here is what my staff tell me, and I simply cannot allow this!
I told him what our intention was. He stated our intentions did not matter. He had to protect his studio and his payroll to his employees. He had a business to run.

Well, yes sir, you do. And it is a free market. So regardless of my intentions I am a free man and if I want to post about places to dance I am free to do that. I am also free to stop being a consumer of your services. My wife and I, newly empty nesters in our forties, professionals with disposable income (you would think he would want to keep us) can make a choice that we will take our business elsewhere.

And we can choose to share the facts about what our experience has been. I actually do know things about social media and how to share things online.
Dont misunderstand, I do not want to bash them and say they suck because they do not suck. In fact they are excellent dance instructors. You get high quality instruction for the money.

However, when you couple the high price with an open hostility toward basic rights to talk about dancing (on our own time and away from their studio) then you have really crossed a line.

This AM owner disrespected me and my wife in a way that cannot be repaired and has lost a customer. I who was once a person who could not stop inviting people to AM will now simply spread one message be an informed consumer know what is out there as far as options factor the cost to what you personally can afford knowing what the other options are.

And if you go to AM studios and do not want to get belittled never talk or post anything about other studios or ballroom events! If you can live with that then you will enjoy your experience. If you cannot, then think about alternatives.
Be an informed dance consumer!

Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by Star_dancer_poet
4/2/2014  7:21:00 AM
I was wondering was your AM studio pressure you into some package deals? I went to a private studio which had an instructor who worked there before coming to the independent studio. He was told to push some sales onto some of his students if he did not than they would have an instructor who would. He has since moved on that studio I went to, so I cannot say where is now. Anyway, I get the impression from independent studios dance parties are usually goes half for the school and the other half go to the instructors sponsoring the party. At least the Friday's and Saturday's group lesson is a little bit better since the party is included with the lesson. Some do make a pot luck instead of the group lesson. At least the earlier studio that I hinted at, they do have one free lesson on Saturday mornings and had(or have) a door prize which was a free pass to an upcoming party.
My first independent school which also the only one that I took lessons from, they had their weekly beginners group lessons were free for paid students. The studio has now at least switched hands over the years and now part of different studio management. They did not offer a free pass to another lesson, but they did do a 50/50 raffle which at that time the parents owner when he won the pot. He would split his share with another person, so they picked a second winner.
Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by mm76012
4/3/2014  9:50:00 AM
There was indeed initial pressure for package deals to events and shows. And there was pressure to set our goals and plans and sign up for more lessons. But I am a strong person and steered out of the pressure without too much issue, but was a little put off by the sales pitch. Especially when they brought in an outside person to review our dance and then she went into more of the sales pitch. All in all though it was not more than I myself could handle. I used to be a salesman and am OK with it. But I could see how a person who is not as adept or experienced as I am could be swayed. You are hailed as a hero, the next "it couple" when you sign up for these events. You want that approval. But man is it expensive... thousands of dollars for out of state events. But in the end, this is not why I am choosing to take my business elsewhere.... as I realize everyone tries to upsell. They are in it to make money. So that aspect really does not bother me that much. I just hope other people make informed consumer choices when they are pitched the upsell!
Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by ladydance
4/2/2014  12:40:00 PM
Your experience of not being allowed to attend or talk about other dance events is not new. I have a friend (we are in Canada) who started at AM, at least 20 years ago. She was so excited about dancing and went to a dance at another location. When she told her instructor about it, she was lectured that she was not allowed to go to another dance without his permission. She thought he would be pleased that she got up the courage to go out when she was just a beginner. She was so shocked by his reaction that she walked out and never went back.
Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by mm76012
4/3/2014  9:45:00 AM
Yeah... I was lectured on how they create a safe environment with no booze or people hitting on my wife. I am 45 years old - I think I can go to a sleazy dance club if I chose too. But the kicker is the place I went to was a dance event where we, in our mid 40s, where the youngest people! Talk about safe... it was. Regardless, a company that I pay for goods or services has no right to tell me I can not go out and use the skills I learned in another setting! So your experience was 20 years ago - mine was 5 days ago. Sounds like it is a mindset drilled into AM owners to protect their turf! Wow
Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by Dancewithdia
4/28/2014  12:39:00 PM
I am so sorry you had that experience. I used to be a student at the Same AM you are referring to. I finally broke free after two years and pursued instruction at another studio with Independent Teachers. I studied hard and am now an Independent Teacher myself.

I can assure you that in the Independent world that doesn't happen very much. In fact, we support one another. I go to other studio events and others come to mine. I even take my students to other studio's practice parties. I have found the overall support between Instructors to be wonderful. I have even performed as a guest with my students at other studio showcases.

If they believe so much in their system then they should not be afraid of other studios. Bottom line is, they don't believe in it, their price is too high. One of my coaches is a National Champion he still only charges $85/hr.

Don't give up, google is your friend. There are a lot more options out there! And several in Fort Worth. Good Luck!

Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by mm76012
5/2/2014  3:07:00 PM
Thanks Dancewithdia!

I agree one hundred percent. So far I have seen a very supportive community of students and instructors in our foray outside of AM. I am amazed at how large the Dance community is. There are so many opportunities to Dance without even stepping into a traditional dance night club (not that there is anything wrong with that).

One thing is certain - We will NOT give up! In fact, our passion for dance is higher now than it has ever been despite coming out of a bad experience with one chain studio.

See you around!
Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by dancewithdia
5/12/2014  9:12:00 AM
If you haven't already, Try www.Dancemakers.com. They are in Fort Worth.

That is where I take my students to their practice parties. The teachers there are so sweet and friendly. That studio is open to the public so Independents teach there as well. Hope you have found a new instructor.
Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by mm76012
5/29/2014  5:49:00 PM
Dancewithdia - We are indeed in fact going there! And we have found a wonderful new instructor. We are more excited about dance and putting more into our learning both inside and outside the studio than we ever have before!

Re: Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer
Posted by Ballroomchick
6/2/2014  10:48:00 AM

If you don't mind the drive to Dallas, the Marilyn Myers Dance Connections puts on a dance once a month. This is with a live band and is always well attended. You don't have to be a member to attend one of their dances, the price is only slightly more. There are dance hosts of single ladies. Here's the link if you would like to check out dates and places they go. http://danceconnectionsclub.org/

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