Thursday, March 4, 2010

Badly done!

Fred and Jr take Karate (it's actually Taekwondo but really that word is too long) they have ever since last year in May. Their commitment will be up this May and we will be FREE. Uhm I mean we will be sadly moving on to other endeavors.

For karate you need gear to actually touch the other students when you have sparring matches. If you don't you just pretend to and punch and kick at the other person - no contact. There are face, hand, chest, and foot guards.

There are fake boards to break but you have to buy the board and foot guard to break it. (However I'm not sure why you need foot guards, you "break" the board with the bottom of your foot which is unprotected, makes no sense to me.)

There are various weapons with names I cannot pronounce and a bag big enough to put George and Jr in, that round off the list of stuff you "need".

Fred and Jr. have been going for 9 months sans gear. It's really expensive and not required for the lower level class they have been attending. When they moved up to camo belts 2 months ago they should have moved up to the gear required class but due to a change in class time it didn't happen. They became green belts last Friday and ElCid decided they ought to move up to the gear required class.

For the last 9 months ElCid has been trying to get the school guys to give him a price list so we can decide which kid to sell to afford all the "needed" gear. The answer was well it's 20% / 30% / 2 for 1 / $25 off every $100 you spend for this sale or that occasion. He could NEVER get a straight answer out of them! Friday night he turned to ebay with it's set prices and handy buy it now button and bought the girls their full set of body protectors, big bag, and fake boards. We chose blue gear for Jr. and black for Fred.

They didn't know so when he presented them with their stuff Tuesday morning they were over the moon excited. Their Daddy had bought them everything they needed to actually spar and they would fit in with the other kids. They were also excited about the prospect of getting the stuff out of their big bag, and breaking boards, once they arrived.

Tuesday ElCid came home super mega early (4pm) to take them to their first upper level class and in retrospect - WOW are we glad he did!
The school they go to is Victory Martial Arts, the Centennial Hills location. That location and another at Cheyenne & 215 are being purchased by Mr. O'H. His new "empire" will be called Champion Martial Arts. We just didn't know he will be lording over an evil empire.

It came time in class for the kids to put their gear on and the girls happily ran to get their stuff on. This was it - they were going to spar! As they pulled their stuff on it came to the attention of one of the instructors that their chest protectors were white. The rest of the class was wearing black. The color that you get when you buy the gear through the school.

--- All this is what ElCid told me ---

The instructor approached ElCid and the girls and told them that they couldn't wear that gear. At first they tried to say it was for insurance reasons they couldn't guarantee it was safe since it wasn't through their supplier. ElCid offered to sign a waver and then the truth came out. They couldn't wear that gear because it wasn't from their supplier and if other kids started buying their gear (for less) elsewhere it would hurt their bottom line.

--- This is where I would have
#1 -started shouting
#2 -removed my kids from the class
and #3 NEVER gone back ---

ElCid had them take their stuff off and poor Fred was so upset she sat out the rest of the class.

When they got home I couldn't get a straight answer out of Fred about class, she was visibly upset, ElCid said we'd discuss it later (I didn't take that well at all) and I finally asked Jr. what had gone on and with tears in her eyes and her mouth pulling down she said "They wouldn't let us wear our stuff because it isn't theirs"

--- and I LOST it ---

I went steaming into ElCid in our bedroom and got the above story from him. He was searching the stuff from his office looking for the manual that we got back when we signed up that included the fact that we had to buy gear from them as that was the point of reference. Guess what? We NEVER got one! I told him I would like to see where he initialed that we received the manual and guess what? When he went back to chat with them later they admitted he probably never got one!!!! How they expect to enforce policies they don't disclose is seriously beyond me!

ElCid had dinner, calmed down (he's way nicer than me, but you all know that) and he went back to work things out with Mr. O'H. They discussed possibly exchanging the boards that we ordered for a set of theirs, (they arrived today and hopefully we can just return them) giving us credit for what we spent towards a set of their gear, letting us buy gear at cost and a few other things.

One of the things that sends me screaming over the edge is that they claim had we just gotten all the gear in black (so no blue for Jr. and chest guards not white) they would have let us "slide" for the last 3 months but since we didn't it's now all or nothing.

So in true Valinda fashion I am on the WARPATH. You DO NOT treat my kids like that!! They teach obedience, respect, honesty and discipline but apparently that only applies to their students and not to the owner / operators.

If they think letting my kids wear other brand gear will hurt their bottom line HAH! They ain't seen NOTHIN' yet! I have already spoken with the front office and given them the name of the school and asked that they will never be allowed again to hand out flyers at our school, which is how we heard about them in the first place. The office loves me, I'm pretty sure it won't be allowed ever again. I have no problem relating our problems with the karate school on any website that asks for a review of them. I have also mentioned their full name in this blog post on purpose, anybody who googles the name and clicks on blogs can read this and be warned.

We spent $165 on gear including shipping. Had we purchased it from them it would have cost us $320. We spent $70 on the bag including shipping it would have been $60 from them. We spent $106.33 on boards. From them it would have been $120. Our total cost $ 395.33 Had we gone with them it would have been $500. I REALLY hope that that money was super important to them because if I have anything to do with it they will lose a whole lot more!

Honestly karate hasn't been my thing and I have had grouchy moments about it but they now had the gear and if one of them had really really wanted to do it for another year I most likely would have let them. That would have been $1000, which if you can add is twice as much as the cost of gear.

To quote Mr. Knightly "Badly done! - Badly done!"

(The end result of all the drama can be found here.


An Wanna said...

I will be waiting suspensefully!

Grammy said...

I will be happy to help avenge my squirrels. That is so NOT how our dojo runs or how sensei would do things... he even told JE that I could make his hand protectors for him so he could have orange. Plus he knew we couldn't afford real ones.
Next time you visit the squirrels need to come to class with little Uncle Jon and meet Ben Sensei... in real life he is a 4th grade teacher at Owyhee Elementary, all 6'3" of him.
Lessons are 70/mo but JE has always had a scholarship which has allowed us to pay half the amount and afford the class. There is a discount for more than one family member taking lessons, but I am too chicken.
Anyway just let us know how we can help warn people away from the evil empire!
wv:actrami - charge full tilt into the bad guys
2nd wv:ecemerfa - nasty rash bad guys get after being actrami'd

Kathy said...

Remind me to never make you mad. If I get sick of you I will just phase you out. Hee hee!

Seriously, I would be furious!

Little Uncle Jon said...

The word irony comes to mind. It is grossly overused, irony is NOT rain on your wedding day, traffic when you're already late, or any of the other things you probably thought of. Irony is a good friend of mine (whom I met in Karate) getting three years through her Bachelor's of Music Education, only to find out she has Degenerative Hearing Nerve Loss, which means she'll be deaf in about ten years.
Another little irony is where my nieces practiced "Karate". Karate translates to "Open Hand". This inspires images of students in white uniforms and colorful belts mastering techniques that seem mind boggling and impossible to the inexperienced onlooker. However, it also conjures thoughts of generosity, of giving, of compassion. A gift has never been given by a clenched fist. It seems odd, then, that the establishment claims to be Karate. They are more concerned about Bottom Lines and Profits than actually teaching Karate.
As a side note, Karate is not the art's proper name, Karate-Do is. It translates to "The Way of the Open Hand". Not only were the instructors at Victory not teaching the essence of Karate, but they were acting in direct opposition to Karate-Do. To quote Gichin Funakoshi, one of the creators of modern Karate-Do, "The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of character of its participants". Rick English once said "A black belt is nothing more than a belt that goes around your waist. Being a black belt is a state of mind and attitude". I don't think I need to say anything else.

Zanne said...

He is so lucky it wasn't YOU taking the girls to class that day - I've seen you mad...and rightly so. I agree that their business practices seem to go against everything they claim to be teaching children. Refusing to let the students participate when they were SO excited about their new gear is inexcusable. They are teaching your children that their self worth and abilities are tied to a brand and a dollar amount. I can understand requiring gear at higher level classes, giving the parent a choice of class and investment, but not letting them purchase gear anywhere else without VISIBLY POSTING it is wrong. I am glad that you are going to keep the place from recruiting at the school again. The worst part is that the kids suffer - something they enjoyed was turned into something awful. That's what makes me feel sick. People who teach kids put kids first. People who don't, don't teach my kid.

Do you think your kids would want to take that gear and learn somewhere else in town? Or is the experience totally ruined?

Linda said...

Oh ouch! I'm glad that you're sticking up for your girls. What jerks. These kinds of peope and things always sent me into Mama bear mode. You would think those people would be doing everything in their power to keep you happy. (I would also go talk to schools anywhere in the immediate vicinity of their karate school and let them know how dishonest they are--or maybe you could get the information to the principals to pass on.)

Me said...

Are yelp or citysearch or other review sites popular in Las Vegas? If so, that will give you a nice soapbox :) Just be sure to stick to the facts, less commentary, because people on them (at least here) take it more seriously that way.

Hillary said...

Um yeah. I wouldn't put up with it either. And why isn't there a "renting" option. You only have 3 months left. I can't believe they make you fork over another $500 for 3 months. That's RIDICULOUS.

And with business practices like that, they won't be keeping many kids in their program. I mean really, who makes people buy "their" equipment. The little money they make on it will hurt them in the long run. What punks!