The doctors in our midst will flinch to know that they are so much more closely associated with the beauticians and hairstylists down the block. It used to be clearly defined that hospitals and doctors are for the bodily sick whereas beauty salons and beauticians are for the healthily vain. Now, the well go to doctors for aesthetic treatments to improve their looks and most people walk out of a beauty shop feeling less “good” about themselves a feeling commonly known as ‘A Wrecked Ego’. Since when did we pay good money for lofty expectations of looking and feeling better; and yet allow our imperfect bodies be put up to close scrutiny for ego bashing flaws with even more costly repairs? It’s not fair. Period.
When your hair and nails grow out the next time and all you want is a wash and cut, observe what happens in the friendly regular salon (be it a hairstyling salon, waxing salon, nail salon or spa). Almost every beauty service staff sings along to the tune of how your scalp, hair follicles, pores, nail beds and skin pigments have failed you. Therefore this means that you are in need of some urgent immediate treatments, which if left undone will lead to dire consequences such as you being old, fat, wrinkled, ugly and possibly bald. Of course, they gently comfort you with the hope that all will be well by prescribing a treatment of an “express” 3-5 minutes application of the magic potion, followed by another 15-20 minutes of simmering in a heated device. Conveniently, the cost of treatment is largely ignored unless asked and it’s not much, maybe 2-3 times of your original planned spending budget then when you walked in the salon. Faced with a choice of suffering a bruised ego or emptied wallet, reality is these supposedly beneficial services are not about the customers, but the salon’s profit margin and staff’s sales commission.
So how do we cut through the bluff and recognize the real professionals at work?
Here’s our checklist:
1) Work Ethics – professionals understand and view the lowly menial tasks seriously (e.g: shampooing of hair, feet wash & soak) as part of a larger job process that will influence their desired job outcome. Just observe how keenly involved are they throughout the process.
2) Word of Mouth – this is why we love our girlfriends even more so than ever. It’s easy to assess the positive results just by looking at how pleased they are or how gorgeous they look after their visit from a salon! Discreetly ask for the name, be very specific to ask for name of therapist, not just the salon.
3) Talk Less Do More – through observation, serious work = high levels of concentration = paying close attention to the work at hand, and not engaging in idle talk about gossip, your hobbies, your marital status etc. That being said, most people do develop a semblance of friendship with their therapists over time, not in one or two appointments. The most dodgy service staff tries to be your new best friend in the first 5 minutes and spends the next 5 as a pushy salesperson selling products or treatments.
This is not quite relevant but could be interesting fodder. Sometimes, I indulge in befriending the therapist to suss out the salon gossip, industry politics and staff movement (job hoppers). On one occasion, I had trouble locating my regular therapists and found out from the newbie (midway through the session) that one of them had been re-assigned, the other committed suicide and died subsequently. Shuddered, it reminds me of the intricacies of such customer service relationships; that we are never quite alone when we are lonely. Someday somewhere, one of the past or present or future clients could be thinking of or referring to the therapist’s good work.
And here’s two rules to stick by to be prepared for the onslaught in your next salon visit and a gracious exit strategy.
Rule Number 1: Know Thy Stuff Head to Toe
Rule Number 2: Never be rude while they are working on your body. Obviously, don’t give them a chance to exact their unhappiness on you, risking grievous hurt. Graciously acknowledge their advice and mention that you will think about and possibly plan to receive the suggested treatments at your preferred timing and beauty shops.
- Rowene Law