Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Horrible Experience with Gymboree Classes...

…let me tell you a tale about our horrible experience with Gymboree Classes in STL. My hands are still shaking from being so mad as I type this.

Back in July, my mom bought us a Groupon for $42 for a month’s worth of classes with them. After we purchased it, AR and I went to a trial class. The location was about 45 minutes from the house which I didn’t realize but AR had a great time. Our teacher, I believe her name was Cindy, was awesome, there was singing and playing and BUBBLES! AR didn’t want to leave. While we were there in July, I signed up to use our Groupon for the month of October. Cindy signed us up, gave us info and our receipt and we headed out the door.

Now fast forward to October 6, the first day of classes. My mom had to take her because I had to work. I gave her the paperwork with the name and address. They headed out the door and when they arrived at the address, there was no Gymboree…no sign, no new address, nothing. My mom called their phone number and it said they had moved locations. Luckily, she had her Garmin so they arrived right at 11am only to see that AR didn’t have a nametag like the other kids. They got her squared away, the two participated in class and they had a good time. When my mom mentioned the address change, the teacher just said, okay, and never even apologized.

October 13 AR and I head to class with the new address. We drive up and down and up and down the street trying to find it but it’s no where in site. I call their phone number and the recording says, “For directions, please leave a message.” This was Sunday at 10:50am and it’s now Wednesday and I have yet to receive a phone call about directions. I called my sister who gave me the cross street and I finally found it. It’s important to point out that their storefront is not actually on the address it’s listed at and if you come from the direction we did, you cannot see their storefront at all. To say I was on fire when we arrived right at 11am is a bit of an understatement.  When I mentioned to her teacher that they needed better directions, she offered for me to talk to her boss. Her boss that never came out to talk to me the entire hour we were there. Again, there was no nametag for AR. The teacher got her one and put down that she was using the Groupon.

At this point, I’m irritated but AR likes the class so I’m okay with it. No one has reached out to us about the initial location change or apologized about the lack of communication and irritation of driving around in an area you’re unfamiliar with looking for a hidden store. Not to mention, we drive 45 minutes there and 45 minutes home for this class. Whatever, it’s two more weeks, we’ll suck it up and finish up the classes.

This week Groupon emails me to inform me that Gymboree has changed locations. I was just going to let it go but since it was brought up, I emailed them about the entire situation. They emailed me back late last night then about an hour ago, my phone rings and it’s someone from Gymboree. I step outside to take the call because I assume they’re calling because Groupon contacted them. Boy, was I wrong. Here’s our convo:

Gymboree:  “Your teacher said you were using a Groupon but your Groupon has expired. Were you planning on enrolling?” Wow, no beating around the bush or being an inkling of polite, huh?

Me: “No. We came to a trial class in July and the instructor signed us up for the 4 Sundays in October. She gave me a receipt.”

Gymboree: “You don’t get a trial class with a Groupon so that counts as one of your classes.”

My face gets hot and I can feel my blood rushing through my body.

Me: “You know what, forget it. It’s been nothing but problems working with you all. Just give us a refund and we’ll be done with you.”

Gymboree: “You’ll have to talk to Groupon about that.”

Me: “That’s fine, I’ve already been in contact with them.”

At this point, my hands are shaking and I can’t look up the phone number to Groupon fast enough. When the guy answered the phone, I told him, “I’m apologizing now because I’m extremely irritated and my hands are shaking I’m so upset.”

He tried his best to calm me down and offered to call Gymboree to see if we could get our final two classes. I told him there was no way I was taking my daughter and myself back to that store after the way that lady spoke to me. The end result was a $20 credit since we’d attended two classes. I might add that the credit was on my Groupon account within minutes.

I don’t know if with the location change, they got new staff. I did hear the teacher last week say that one of the teachers got married and was moving to Europe so maybe she was the glue that held them all together. I was also informed that the class AR was in was more about learning to take turns, wait in line, etc…which I was wanting to work on with her but it was more just a free play the whole time. The activities were great and AR really liked it so I feel bad about that part of it. Luckily, we still are doing gymnastics and library classes so she still has plenty of classes to stay busy, have fun and interact with other kids.

Bottom line: If you are a parent with a kid in STL, don’t waste your time and money at Gymboree classes until they get their stuff together.

Update: The day after the incident happened, the owner of the STL location called me. He did offer some free classes for us to attend but I don't think he totally grasped why I didn't want to return. I told him I appreciated the offer but turned it down.

I had tweeted about the incident and Gymboree had asked me to email them which I did and never heard a reply. I'd also left a message on Facebook and about 2.5 weeks after the incident, someone from HQ replied asking me to call them. I did and Danielle was very apologetic and she finally understood why I wouldn't return to classes. Two days later, I was surprised when I got home from work and saw a package on the porch. Danielle had sent me a box of toys for AR to try to make-up for the whole situation. I appreciate their efforts to fix the situation and for reaching out to me. Now, hopefully, this will all be put behind us.


Sara said...

Boo! Sorry to hear Gymboree is such a pain the butt, but glad to hear that Groupon had good customer service. We haven't tried a Gymboree class yet. We do Kindermusik and have done the Little Gym and love both.

Liz said...

Ugh how frustrating! And what terrible customer service from Gymboree (but yay for Groupon!).

Jenni Brink said...

Make sure to leave a Google review and a Yelp review! That is ridiculous! I will spread the word too.

I'd almost try to get the rest of your money back because the classes taken we not what was described!

Jessica said...

Not sure what area you are in, but little gym of Fenton is fabulous! Sorry gymboree sucked! Just know if you go to a different little gym, they are individually owned, so they might not be as great.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that sounds miserable. I've had nothing but great experiences with Gymboree! I bought a groupon, did my 4 classes, and signed up for more since we loved it so much! I just called the other day to arrange a make-up and got the voice mail (it said nothing about leaving a message for directions). They called me back right away and all was well. I thought their customer service was great. I had a little trouble finding the new location at first, but then I saw the huge sign on the side -- that really helped! That sucks you had such a bad experience. I guess it just depends on the situation... Too bad since it sounds like AR really loved the class. :(

Laurie S said...

Sorry about your bad experience at Gymboree but I had the opposite experience. We loved it there and all the teachers we worked with really made connections with both my kids.(I went through the programs with 2 children) It seems like maybe between your mother, Gymboree, and you there was some miscommunication? It shocks me that they wouldn't apologize. 45 minutes is a pretty far drive but maybe someday you'll bring your daughter back since you said she liked it. Anyway, just had to say something because I really think Gymboree is a great place to bring your kids.

Alyssa G said...


The miscommunication wasn't between my mom and I and Gymboree. Adam, the owner, called me yesterday and said their system said I was registered in the August class but when they pulled my Groupon, I cleared stated I wanted October. He also admitted that there was no sign up at their new location. He tried to make it right by offering a few classes at no charge. I told him I appreciated the offer but with the drive and the issues we'd had, we had to pass. I agree the classes are great and the instructors have great voices and are good. Unfortunately, their frontline staff is what ruined it for us which is a shame because I've always been taught that the front desk staff is the first shot at customer service.

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

Goodness gracious! I'd be hopping made too. Not even to leave direction information on your machine? That customer service is simply awful and there's no excuse for it. I'm glad Groupon was able to fix it to make it a little bit better.

Anonymous said...

Wow! So many hot-heads here. Please take a chill pill and realize that it isn't the end of the world just because a business relocates. There are many kinks to work out when a business closes and relocates. It isn't as simple as abc, 123. People today stress and fret over such trivial things. Just be glad you've got your health and enjoy your children when they're young, because they'll grow up fast, very fast. And for gawd sakes lust try to chill! We aren't on this earth very long and before you know it we succumb to old age and then our bodies quit and we're dead. And there's scientific proof that there's absolutely NOTHING beyond death. So enjoy yourselves... It's later than you think:/ By the way, Gymboree rocks!!!