You Get What You Pay For

I know you get what you pay for and in the case of these ubiquitous strip-mall nail salons run by Asians; I hope it is not a digit-threatening infection that I am purchasing with my austerity measures.

Today I went to my favorite salon for a cheap mani/pedi.  A pedicure, for me, is thirty minutes of pure bliss.  I take my eye mask, recline my chair like I am at the dentist’s office and maximize the massage controls; then despite the fact that I am in a loud, crowded, brightly lit room, I calgon myself away to another world.

I am extremely cognizant of the fact that these men and women work 70 hours a week.  I asked a woman once if she had children and how many hours she worked, to which she laughed as if counting the number of hours in one’s week was a ridiculous thought, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know.”  How many Americans don’t know how many hours they worked that week, down to the minute?

Knowing that sometimes men and women are held virtual prisoner by their demented nail technician Overlords, forced to work for free and sleep in the basement, I am always on the look-out for some signal; perhaps a wink, suspicious eye roll, or crumpled note surreptitiously passed that says, “Get Me Outta Here”, to which I will spring into action to bring the authorities required to save them.  After they finish sloughing the dead skin off my heels of course.

I find it interesting that in every podunk village and hamlet, in every corner of this great nation, you will find an Asian nail place at every stoplight; they’ve become like Walgreens and CVS.  Sometimes you will even find them book-ending the same outdoor shopping center.  Who are all these people?  How did they learn to do nails?  How did they get to Bowling Green, KY or Montgomery, AL?  I mean, that is a hell of a long way from Laos.

I often wonder what would happen, if I, a Caucasian white-devil, with freckles and auburn hair were to waltz in and fill out a job application.  Where is the class-action law suit that says they discriminate against people whose native tongue is not a series of lyrical musical notes?

I also like the fact that often they don’t speak much English as this means they won’t try to talk to me.  I don’t like talking while getting my spa on.  The fastest way for a massage therapist to never see me again, is to chat about her impending divorce while she works on my lower back.

The one time that backfired, is when I let an English-as-a-second-language employee do an eye brow wax and my brows turned out to be clearly two different shapes, with one side a half-inch longer than the other, meaning she had taken half my eyebrow off, and while I was holding the hand mirror trying to explain that I looked like I had just set myself on fire trying to light a cigarette on a gas stove, she says, “No, no.  It good.  Seven Dollar.”  The more I frantically tried to explain that I could not go out in public looking like this, the more silent she became as she stared off into the middle distance and pretended like I wasn’t there.  I gave up and swore that was the last time someone put hot wax on me that wasn’t fluent in English.  It took 6 months of strategic trimming to straighten that mess up.  It was like grooming topiaries into the shape of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse for half a year.

At this particular salon, my former favorite, the music piped over the intercom was always a bit loud, but I was able to Zen myself into a place where I could ignore Taylor Swift singing about another boy who done her wrong.

Now, since my last visit, they’d installed a giant flat screen television on the wall.  And not only is the largest unadorned wall in the salon now a giant screen that would embarrass an actual movie theater, it was blasting FOX NEWS at an ear-splitting level.

So, not only did I have to endure the incessant babbling of Fox News anchors, who I detest, at a decibel level that should have required those safety headphones the ground crew wear at airports, but it was the day after the bombing in Boston, so the news was gruesome, frightening and sad.

But still, I give it the old college try.  I put on my eye mask.  Crank up and crank back my chair and try to pretend like I am on a beach in Hawaii.  It would have worked too, if not for all the information I was receiving on how to make a bomb out of a pressure cooker – so now I know what pressure cookers are used for – complete mystery prior to now, how many people were killed and maimed, and speculation as to who was responsible.

After the pedicure, I sat at the manicure station which faced me squarely into the maw of the beast, so short of poking my eyes out, now I got to watch as well as listen.  As I was thinking about this dangerous world we live in, and how everything can change without warning, I was reminded of several recent high-profile shootings in salons, mostly by disgruntled husbands who came to kill their wives and everyone she worked with or got her hair “did” with.  And my back was to the door.  And I started to have a panic attack.  I am not fucking kidding.  I had managed to convince myself that I was about to get shot in the back any minute, leaving my baby girl alone in the world without me.  Let me just say, this is the opposite of relaxed.

Needless to say, this is my last time going there.  I know these places are known for quick, cheap, walk-in service and if I want ambiance, I can pay three times more and go to an Aveda salon, but if one of them ever figures out how to dim the lights, play some light jazz and light an aromatherapy candle, they’ll put everyone else out of business.

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About reneadijab

Renea Dijab

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2 Comments on “You Get What You Pay For”

  1. healthiestbeauty Says:

    Reblogged this on The healthiest beauty.


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