Gym Allegedly Threatens To Call Police On Blogger For Blogging That Its Prices Were A Bit High

from the good-luck-there dept

Every time you think that there have been enough examples of the Streisand Effect that it should stop people from trying to censor perfectly legitimate content, you're just setting yourself up to be surprised by the next such attempt -- often more bizarre than the previous one. The latest one comes to us via the Consumerist, and it involves the story of a new gym in Cleveland, called BarreCleveland, that has apparently threatened to call the police on a blogger because she though the price was a bit steep. But the really odd thing? The original post was generally positive. We're used to seeing people flip out about people saying negative things about them, but a mostly positive review? Now that's something special.

Alana Munro's original blog post did discuss the fact that she thought the price was too high, and that she normally likes a workout that generates more of a sweat, but on the whole it doesn't seem that negative at all. She noted that if it was a little closer to where she lived (and the prices were lower) she'd likely go back. However, somewhere along the way that got interpreted as being a dig by someone who ran the place, and they first got into a bit of a Facebook and Twitter argument with Alana and some others.

And then.... someone with the same last name as the owner posted a comment on the original blog post, accusing Alana of "stealing" the class she attended:
Just stop the posting about Barre Cleveland and take down all the existing posts. We know that you stole the class and we can pursue legal action against you for that and that is why it is ridiculous that you complain about a price when you never paid for the class. You were never given a discount code by Barre Cleveland and somehow you used that to enter the studio. I am sending you this message to politely ask that you remove all the content about Barre Cleveland from your blog and twitter and we will not get the Beachwood Police involved on this theft of services.
Alana says she did use a discount code -- it was one that was being passed around widely to help promote the gym in the first place. Now the gym may argue that it only meant the code to be used by people it gave it too, but then it should have implemented one-time codes. Instead, the code worked, and Alana has a nice receipt posted to her blog "thanking" her for signing up. Her complaint wasn't that she paid too much for that one class, but that the general price might be too much for her to keep going back.

Either way, the whole thing has blown up and received lots of attention. BarreCleveland has scrubbed the back-and-forth tweets from its Twitter feed. But it certainly looks like it already went way too far. Engaging with people who criticize you online is one thing -- and can be quite useful. Threatening to call the police on them and demanding they erase what they've written about you is going way too far, and the internet (hello Streisand Effect) doesn't take kindly to such things.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:22pm

    I dunno, seems like a normal for a Clevelander when given a slightly positive review. They don't know how to take compliments. They're in Cleveland after all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Dave (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    Keep Calm
    And
    Carreon!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:36pm

    bit silly when the aim is to promote the business. there could be a higher price paid now than the gym anticipated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Re:

    Keep Calm
    And
    Carreon!


    How does that work exactly?

    Carreon: v. to flail about wildly making increasingly insane statements.

    You might have well as said "make lots of noise and be silent", or "be alive and dead."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Is this a joke or do we really need to explain the reference?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    drew (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Business Opportunity

    You know, I think I might set myself up as a Internet Reputation Management (IRM*) consultant. Contents of my first seminar:
    1 Streisand Effect
    2 Streisand Effect
    and
    3 Streisand Effect

    I know that's the same thing three times but I've got to pitch it to people dumb enough to hire an IRM consultant.

    * copyright, obviously...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Re:

    Carreon my wayward son, there'll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest, and dont you cry no more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Uh yeah, it was a joke.
    Try reading it again. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: KS

    Oh great, now I have Kansas stuck in my head!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    The ironic thing is not many people would have cared if they didn't try to make a big deal out of a blog post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Keroberos (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 3:10pm

    Re:

    They wouldn't care, and most likely never heard anything about this gym--or the blog post. Which makes you wonder if it isn't intentional on the gym's part (no such thing as bad publicity and all that).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re:

    How does that work exactly?

    Probably the same way that "Keep Calm and Party On" does. I'd be interested in buying the shirt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Keroberos (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Which just gave me a new idea for a marketing plan--negative guerrilla marketing. You can pay me to make horrible comments about your business, then throw a fit and ride the wave of all the free internet publicity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Andrew (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 3:32pm

    I am sending you this message to politely ask that you remove all the content about Barre Cleveland from your blog and twitter and we will not get the Beachwood Police involved on this theft of services.

    Plus there's the whole blackmail thing. Can't speak for the US, but in the UK this would probably qualify.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Applesauce, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Carreon

    Keep Calm
    And
    Carreon!

    C'mon, Dave. This cries out for a giant wall poster!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    McCrea (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Business Opportunity

    Could use more insight tho.

    Streisand Effect is drawing unwanted attention.

    Could not a business profit from negative attention is better than no attention at all?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Dolz, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Oh, I missed that reference. I thought they meant like the British series of "Carry On ..." farce films.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Re:

    carreon: v. making use of insanely large spotlights, neon signs, midway hawkers and tapdancing grizzly bears riding unicycles while juggling midgits to attempt to downplay what would otherwise be a minor issue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: KS

    and there's a problem with this how?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Beefcake (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 6:39pm

    Blackmail?

    Isn't threatening someone if they don't do something outright blackmail? It's weird to bring that up here on a non-Copyright post, but it sure seems like "take down the stuff mentioning us or we'll have you arrested for stealing" is pretty blatant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 6:43pm

    And this is what happens when everyone wins a ribbon.
    They expect everything they do will be met with the same over the top exuberance because it is so special.

    When they don't get the positive response they instead lash out looking to make the other person look like less than them, thereby pushing themselves up the ladder.

    If I were in that area, even if I had read that review I might have considered that gym up until they went completely apeshit making things up because someone disliked their pricing.
    Who wants to pay for a service where if you express any dissatisfaction your met with the threat of the police rather than a discussion.
    More creepy is them stalking the days receipts so they could trot out claims of having "stolen" the class. This mentality makes me wonder if they are the kind of people who would run the card again to get back what they are "owed".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Carry on My wayward son was a huge hit by the American art-rock band Kansas in the mid 1970s.:)

    I'd rather have the carry on gang's films of poorly confined booies in my head for the weekend than Kansas :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Business Opportunity

    This gym is working hard at helping establish the Carreon Effect. They just keep digging.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    drew (profile), Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 12:28am

    Re: Re: Business Opportunity

    I was thinking about this last night (there's another post further down talking about the whole "any publicity is good publicity") and I'm wondering if that's still really true?*
    What I mean is that in a pre-user-generated-content world the number of people who could actually/effectively make information public was fairly low. Reporters, critics etc all needed a platform (print / radio / tv) to publish on.
    For big corporations these things were relatively easy to influence over a comfortable dinner in an appropriate gentlemen's club.
    For small companies (much like independent artists today) your biggest challenge was getting your name out there and we got to this point of "any publicity is good publicity".
    But this has changed now. One letter to a newspaper (that may not be published) is now a blog or facebook post that's available everywhere.
    Given how quick people are to criticise and how slow they are to praise, we've almost swung the pendulum the other way to "most publicity is bad publicity".


    * Disclaimer - I'm no marketeer, I have no idea if it was ever true.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 3:55am

    Re: Re: Business Opportunity

    "Could not a business profit from negative attention is better than no attention at all?"

    The Paul Christoforo School of Marketing agrees with you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    JustMe (profile), Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 5:20am

    Barre Cleveland Review

    This is my review of the Barre Cleveland gym. I give them very low marks for the following reasons:

    Barre Cleveland is not conveniently located for me. It is very far away from my house and my office, making it difficult for me to visit Barre Cleveland regularly (were I a member).

    I read that the Barre Cleveland prices are high. I do not want to visit Barre Cleveland if their prices are high. If that is true, it does not seem like Barre Cleveland provides good value.

    The Barre Cleveland facility appears to be quite tiny, when looking in the direction of Barre Cleveland from where I am sitting. This might mean that Barre Cleveland does not have a lot of gym equipment or that Barre Cleveland does not have many workout spaces. Also, I wonder if the Barre Cleveland facility is large enough for human-sized people. I cannot tell if Barre Cleveland even has clean washrooms or any parking space.

    I have read that Barre Cleveland believes it is possible to "steal" an excercise class. I do not believe this is possible, unless one were to abduct the students. Does Barre Cleveland think that members might be abducted or kidnapped from the Barre Cleveland environs? This makes me concerned about kidnappings at Barre Cleveland. Perhaps Barre Cleveland has skimped on security.

    Finally, I am concerned that Barre Cleveland, and it's employee Mario F Salwan, might have comitted a crime by violating Ohio Revised Code 2921.21. If there are criminals working at Barre Cleveland I do not want to visit there.


    JustMe

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 5:47am

    Re:

    ^ this a million times this...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Brent (profile), Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 6:53am

    its funny b/c if the had contacted her to ask what price she would be willing to pay and then actually offered that price to her she would've blogged about that and probably made the gym a bunch of money thru new customer sign-ups. sigh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Re: Barre Cleveland Review

    I'm trying to remember. Is Barre Cleveland near a sewage treatment plant?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 8:21am

    For the attitude this place has, 1c would be too high to pay to workout in a loser studio like this!
    Barre Cleveland get a clue!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous (I don't want hate mail from Barre Cleve, Jun 23rd, 2012 @ 12:44am

    $25 is a lot to pay for a workout class like that. I don't care if it looks pretty and is on the good side of town, it's really way too expensive. It has nothing to do with social class, it's really just a greedy, spiteful business owner. And that's NOT classy. Heck, Joffrey in downtown Chicago charges less than these guys and it's JOFFREY, not some here-today-gone-tomorrow circus outfit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Fitness Center, Oct 21st, 2012 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Coward

    Yes, indeed you are right. Just don't mind the blog and just focus on your Gym prices instead or create a new blog that can explain why your prices are a bit high compare to others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This