Shirley, Gold’s Gym, and the problem of group disappointment

I went to the gym to my regular workout, which includes an hour doing an aerobic workout with the beloved instructor Shirley. Shirley is this little tiny woman who has obviously worked out her whole life. She’s buff and compact, cheerful and friendly. She is conscientious, and thoughful, and responsible, and fun. And every Monday evening as I leave, I look forward to her saying, “I love you Sharon-Drew!”

But tonight, Shirley wasn’t there, nor will she ever be again, apparently. Where did she go? She was fired. Why? No one knows. After years and years of training 15 classes a week, she was gone, leaving behind hundreds of angry, confused people who love her and depend on her.

Gold’s Gym had no comment. It seems that the day before people picketed; hundreds of emails brought a form letter that says nothing; people in her classes wrote petitions. Nothing. I know of at least 2 people who quit their memberships because Shirley wasn’t there.

Here is the question: how should a large behemouth like Gold’s Gym do crisis management when they have to let go a beloved icon? How can they handle it in a way that doesn’t leave behind angry people? How can they maintain their corporate brand when so many people are saying bad things, starting rumors, denigrating their management here in Austin.

Let’s discuss this. Send me some comments. There must be a way through this so there is a win-win. Or is it possible that sometimes, no matter what the intentions, there is just no win?


14 thoughts on “Shirley, Gold’s Gym, and the problem of group disappointment”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Shirley, Gold’s Gym, and the problem of group disappointment | Sharon-Drew Morgen --

  2. Good to know you missed her classes too. I expressed my disappointment to the GOLD's cooperate and their FaceBook. I'll terminate my Gold's membership when Shirley starts to working for other Austin's Gym.

  3. It's a darned disgrace. I hope Shirley gets a better job – sounds like her attitude is fantastic and her managers are customer focused. My trainer is exactly the same – but self employed. I have to say it, penalise Gold's Gym dump your membership – even if you rejoin later and continue your campaign.

  4. Hey Sharon! Pearl passed this site on to me on facebook. I really do wish Gold's Gym wouldn't have made this poor decision. It has made me really sad and angry because I have had to change my workout schedule. I can't do Body Jam anymore because none of the instructors teach it like a workout, so I'm really bummed about that because I loved it so much. I wish there was something I could do to have her back and as soon as I find out that she is teaching lots of classes at another gym, then I will probably cancel my membership and go there. I would never recommend Gold's to anyone again, and I used to brag about that place like it was heaven. The management is horrible!!

  5. i personally think Shirley needs to find an attorney…in my opinion Gold's gym has a lawsuit on their hands…I think Golds knew Shirley didn't have the means to hire an attorney, so was not worried about anything…I would think now they are and should be worried….

  6. Shirley is starting a new cardio/stretch class at NiaSpace this Saturday at 9:30 AM. NiaSpace is at 3212 S. Congress, Austin, TX 78704. (across from St. Edward's Univ). All are welcome. $10 (or $8 per class if you buy a 6 class card).

  7. I was at the class in question and she was wearing black fishnet dance tights, not pink. She has not been offered any other job. She will start teaching one class on Saturdays, but that is far from enough to pay her monthly bills. She needs help finding a position here in Austin. She has applied to 24 hour and Lifetime but has not recieved a phone call back. It is very stressful to her and such a sad loss for so many that she inspired every week.

  8. hi brandi: i may have missed the class with the black fishnets; when i have been there, she regularly wore pink fishnets (i've seen them on her maybe half dozen times) and she apparently was told not to and received about 2 or 3 warnings about it. but that is all nonsense: she's a great teacher. the hell with the fishnets. who cares!
    hmmm… i wonder why she told one of the other instructors that she was approached for a full time management job!
    sooo gold's gave her ONE DAY after all of our protests??? bummer…

  9. seems the 'les mills' classes make the instructors sign contracts that include a uniform color scheme which gives mills a 'brand'. unfortunately, the gym chose to follow the australian's guidelines rather than their own clientele's needs. i bet gold's could have ignored the pink fishnets (they weren't even visible unless you got really close and she only wore them on cold cold days) and i bet les wouldn't have sued.

    apparently, shirley has one class on saturday mornings now in NIA space, doing stretch, and they are charging $10 p/p. gee – maybe she can fill the class and get enough for rent… 🙁

  10. Thank you for posting this. I have been asking around and no one at the downtown location was talking. This is really upsetting. Shirley is an amazing woman and a great group class instructor.

  11. Thank you for posting this. I have been asking around and no one at the downtown location was talking. This is really upsetting. Shirley is an amazing woman and a great group class instructor.

  12. Hi,
    We are having a problem here at Gold's Pasadena. A popular instructor, also Les Mill certified, was fired in June 2010. But….get this……it was because a couple of Les Mill instructors said he did not put equipment away? What is going on here with Gold's? There are a lot of angry members and there was no warning. Just a new manager and an out of control GGX director and one power hungry Les Mill instructor who wants to dominate the schedule. Sharon, I would like to love to share my story and contact Shirely.

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