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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Is Twice the Price Always Twice As Nice?

My husband subscribes to the 'getting what you pay for' philosophy. I used to wonder sometimes if he was just a sucker for good advertising.  However, I must say, he has me sold in the equipment category. The right tools can really make life easier... from home improvement projects to skiing. And I will admit that cutting potatoes has been an absolute joy, ever since I spent my kids' college savings on one Cutco knife. Even though I see the merit of quality products, I am not fully convinced that quality is always tied to cost. And here's but one example of why...

My friends gave me a gift certificate, valued at a whopping $80, for a pedicure at a shi shi spa last May (and yes, how pathetic am I that I didn't use it until last week!). I rarely splurge on girly beauty treatments (since I already own every color of nail polish known to mankind), and when I do, I simply run down to the fast, cheap place around the corner. I was finally convinced it was time to use the certificate, so I carved out a little "me" time and forced myself to go.

I entered the building and immediately felt out of place. I was clearly underdressed in my jeans, which set me on edge. Who on Earth gets dressed up to go to the salon? Next, I was escorted to my "deluxe" pedi-chair. What? No massage buttons? At my regular place, the chairs not only vibrate, they recline! Oh well, I was sure the luxury was yet to come. 

I dipped my toes into the foot bath and immediately let out an audible shriek. The water was scalding! The technician apologized and turned on the cold water to adjust the temperature. Within seconds, the water was so tepid, it wasn't even enjoyable. I was bordering on annoyed. 

I sat there, bored, because of course there were no trashy magazines to flip through, and grimacing while the lady stabbed at my toes unpleasantly. Next, she filed down my callouses with what felt like steel wool. At that point, I could have cried, but I was just thanking the Lord I wasn't having to spend my own money. I guess I was still mildly curious to see the final result, and hopeful that despite the pain (or perhaps because of it), my feet would exude beauty and softness. 

I closed my eyes and tried to think about ice cream until the final piggy was heavily top-coated. I glanced down to see my toes unevenly painted. I quickly looked away. I started to panic because I could feel my disappointment setting in, and since I have whatever the opposite of a poker face is, I knew the lady would be able to figure out I was unhappy. Well, in typical "me" fashion, I felt the need to overcompensate for my disappointment, and maniacally declared my urgent need to buy a bottle of $40 foot cream. What was that about? Had I suddenly lost my mind? I just wanted to be finished... Out the door. Away.

I quickly paid for the stupid foot cream, left way too big of a tip, and headed out the door. In my haste, I tripped on the stoop and smudged not one, but two toes. 

34 comments:

  1. Oh Deb, this sounds exactly like my very first pedicure. It was an $80 gift certificate, the woman was supposedly a "master," and she never called me by the right name. I left with my feet literally bleeding.

    I feel for you. I've found the cheaper places to be much better in this regard!

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  2. That made me cringe. And mad!

    Harness the power of Blogworld, and write a review naming names :-)

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  3. I was hoping you would say the chair didn't massage because a human appeared to massage your neck and shoulders. Boy, was I disappointed.

    I agree. I have been to the high end salons and the more reasonably priced and you often can't tell a difference OR you get better service for a lesser price.

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  4. This is why I am so happy with my Vietnamese lady at the salon up the street. The expensive places always seem so uppity and they aren't that good.

    Great story! You reminded me of a gift certificate I need to use soon. Maybe I can regift it.

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  5. Ohhhhhhhh, no. I felt sick to my stomach for you! That is the absolute worst when you go somewhere like that and get shoddy service. I've done it enough times that I've since had to take my life into my own hands (that's how I thought of it because I am soooooo bad at confrontations!) and tell someone to fix their work or get the more experience pedi lady to come and do it over, etc. I feel like a prize arse when I do, even if I get what I want, and it ruins the whole experience!

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  6. Ack!

    Just give me the PedEgg thingy anyday!

    One easy payment of $19.99.

    And I think Billy Mays endorses it. And we all know...what Billy Mays endorses is the REAL DEAL.

    I mean like are we gonna trust Shamwow Vince?

    Ha!

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  7. you know,I would have walked right back in and had themfix my OOPS! At least 8 of your toes look better these days!

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  8. I have had some very expensive pedicures, and I always go back to the hole in the wall, Asian lady salons. They are a third of the price, and they always do a better job!

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  9. I'm not much into these things— being a man and all, but I have had a manicure before my wedding. Had to stop biting my nails for two weeks beforehand to make sure they had something to work with.

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  10. Seriously, Debbie. Stop posting what's in my head.

    It never fails that I first complain the water's too hot and am then rewarded with a cold foot bath. Now I just suffer through the napalm to get to where I want to be.

    I am also without a decent poker face (and I'm a lousy liar). And I also buy stupid stuff I don't want to overcompensate for someone else's lameness. What's WRONG with us???

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  11. I hear ya! I love the cheapy places with their trashy mags and manicurists clucking away in their colorful languages!

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  12. Should I tell you my last pedi ever story? Heck yeah, I will...Long story short. I came in, I was the only one there. I put my feet in the water, sat in the big chair...got it done.
    Then, I was sitting in a regular chair waiting to dry a bit before I left...Another woman walks in, sits in the same chair I did...and put her feet in the SAME WATER I DID! They never changed the water...I was too grossed out for words:P
    I have not had a pedi since...yuck!

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  13. Deb, that sounds like an utter nightmare! I wish I could say that I would have voiced my disappointment to the salon, but I probably would have done the exact same thing as you ... walked out buying a stupid product and then kicked myself later (smudged toe and all).

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  14. Okay everyone - be prepared to be afraid. I am kinda with Nap Warden on pedicures now that for the last two years I have been dealing with a WART on the tip of one of my toes!!! My dermatologist says FOR SURE it came from one of those cheap pedi places which I frequented. She says that she sees disgusting wart viruses WAY worse than mine all the time because of unclean/non-sterile pedi environments.

    I used to LOVE my cheap pedicures - it was my respite. Sitting there with my celeb trash mag and enjoying a good foot massage. Now, I can never go back. Cheap or expensive. Actually I do have hope that I can find an expensive clean place so I can treat myself ONCE in a while.

    But I get ya Deb. I have used gift certs before for expensive places and they have most always been a total letdown. I mean was the foot cream good at least???

    I totally sicked myself out even typing the word wart. Eeeewwwwwww......

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  15. Yikes! I'm sorry that happened.

    I couldn't agree more though. Especially with pedicures. The fru-fru salons are rarely any better than the cheap ones.

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  16. Damn. I hate that when that happens. Not fair. NOw you need to go to another spa, a better spa, and get it done right. :o)

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  17. Oh geeze!!! I hate when I find bad salons. I've been going to the same lady since I was 14. LOL! I've also stopped going for the most part, since getting anything done is just ridiculously priced for my budget. However, I was gifted a gift certificate when I got married (oh... uhm... four years ago) and am going to use it soon for a pedicure. I hope my day goes better then yours did! I am the same, no poker face! Did you rush home and re-paint your nails?

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  18. I ended up at Nordstrom Spa returning a prodict abot 2 weeks ago. Since I was in DESPERATE need of a manicure and short on time, I stayed there and got it done. I spent $40 on the manicure and they didn't even soak my hands!!!

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  19. I started typing a comment, and realized you'd inspired a whole blog entry *blush*. Glad that it wasn't your own money spent!

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  21. "I have the opposite of WHATEVER a poker face is"

    MUST PROOFREAD!

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  22. OKAY this looks like I'm a crazy person and leaving 3 comments in a row, (which is all true), but I feel I must explain.

    When I referred to your poker face sentence I totally messed up and didn't notice until after I pushed post comment...then I tried to fix it...which only proved to make things worse. What I didn't realize is that deleting my comment would leave "this post has been removed by the author"; which makes the second comment truly bizarre.

    Sorry about wasting anyone's time reading this.

    But, I loved the post.

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  23. I have to say, I have always felt that having someone do a pedicure or a manicure is gross. I don't really dig strangers touching me, especially with tools that have touched other strangers. It's like going to the gyno, but not for health reasons. Why would anyone do that for fun? It also always turns out nicer when I do it myself. Manicures, not the gyno.

    I'm fine with massages, for some reason. Maybe the absence of tools.

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  24. Aw Deb, what a horrible experience. I have never had a pedicure, unless you count the times I have smoothed my rough heels with my hubby's power sander. Anyhoo....loved the post...and come back from vacation soon, I miss you.

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  25. What a nightmare, I have never had a pedi, but I would stick with your usual place that is cheaper but sounds more pampering and professional!!

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  26. Geez, Deb, that sounded completely horrific. I'm gonna stick with my Asian gal as well (but after reading Lee's comment, I'm bringing my own Formula 409 to disinfect that basin first).

    Actually, I'm looking at my unpainted/unmanicured toenails right now and they don't look half bad!! ;-)

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  27. I"m not a pedicure/manicure kinda gal and if anyone touches my feet, it's gonna be my husband for my nightly foot massage. At least I don't have to worry about getting in infection from all the "sterilized" instruments. Yeah. Vietnamese are known for their sterilization procedures.

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  28. Over here from Not a Stepford Wife's Blog (Domestic Goddess).

    Thanks for sharing your story. There is a salon that recently opened up in my community. I took Baby Gurl to get her hair cut - they were *wonderful*. I've been contemplating a pedi. Now, thanks to the HORRIFIC stories both in the comments and in the original post, I know what to look for, which questions to ask, and what NOT to buy!

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  29. Okay, my hubby used to sell Cutco knives (before we met) and we have a whole set of them....love them! If I didn't already own them I would want to buy them. Anyways, I always feel like I can't say anything when I am not happy about hair cuts or spa treatments or whatever. There is something in me that makes me feel guilty. It is a shame though.

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  30. 80 bucks for a pedicure? I just shrieked in my head.

    I would have done the same thing.

    Guaranteed.

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  31. Awww Deb! I want to come and give you a hug...after I take back that $40 foot cream! Oh how that is TOTALLY something I would do. LOL At least you got some time to yourself right? That in itself is worth $80 some days. :-)

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  32. I think it would take at least $80 to persuade anyone to go NEAR my feet.

    And a Brazilian is gonna run me about 4 grand.

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  33. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Joannah

    http://myscones.com/

    ReplyDelete
  34. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Joannah

    http://myscones.com/

    ReplyDelete

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