No Shirt, No Shoes (Bad Attitude), No Service
I was telling my client and friend something I witnessed Sunday that was so inspiring and she told me I should share it through a blog post, so here we are.
My friend Britney and I went to get a mani pedi Sunday for a girl date at a salon that I've visited a couple times in Beverly Hills. We were sitting in our chairs chatting and in walked a stereotypical Beverly Hills woman. For the sake of this story let's call her Mrs. B. SIDE BAR: I know this is a sweeping generalization. I know lots of people from Beverly Hills that I absolutely love and who don't live up to any of these stereotypes. I live in the neighborhood. However, there are stereotypes for a reason, and by saying this it helps to paint the picture of the woman who entered the salon. SIDE BAR OVER. Mid 60’s, printed slacks with slits up to her mid thigh, a flowy white blouse, Gucci bag, red lips and blonde hair swept on top of her head. She came in with her daughter and mentioned that their appointments were at 3pm. At this point it was about 2:45pm. It was obvious that’s she was a regular and she and her daughter sat next to each other opposite Britney and me. She was extremely cold and short tempered with her daughter and I could see how impatient she was going to be, even though it still wasn’t her appointment time.
Meanwhile, I could see her nail tech (we'll call her Ava) was rushing to get a quick snack in (she probably hadn’t eaten all morning because they were busy) and was taking a quick sip of water (it was obvious that she was rushing to get over to her client) as Mrs. B snaps across the salon “Are you going to do my nails or what?!?”. I couldn’t believe it, except that I could because I’ve lived in LA long enough to have witnessed wealthy people behave rudely to people who are so graciously serving them. Ava rushed over and started her manicure.
Throughout the service, Mrs. B was rude, constantly on her phone and using a short, snippy tone with Ava. After the service ended, Mrs. B told Ana she needed an appointment the following weekend as usual, and asked her what time she had available. Ava slowly sat down next to Mrs. B and said in a calm tone “You know, every time you call for an appointment or come in here I feel really stressed and anxious because of the way you act towards me.” Mrs. B responded, “Oh, come on Ava” (in the same demeaning, dismissive tone) “I’ve had a really tough day.” Ava said, “Ok, but I don’t like the feeling you give me.” So Mrs. B asked if she was saying she doesn’t want her business anymore. Ava responded “That’s right.”
Mrs. B looked like someone had slapped her in the face. She paid and again tried to argue her point as Ava kindly thanked her for her business but told her she no longer had availability for her. As Britney and I paid and were getting ready to leave, Ava approached us and apologized for the uncomfortable moment. Britney and I both told her how proud we were of the way she handled it with grace but also held her ground. I've been in a position with a client where I constantly felt like I was walking on egg shells. I would get anxious every time she was about to walk in the gym. I had an upset stomach every session we had together. So let me tell you - it's not worth it. And I wish I would've had the cojones to stand up for myself in the respectful manner in which Ava did.
Here's the thing - we all have bad days. We all have times when we're a little rude with the customer service guy over the phone or get frustrated with someone who is totally unrelated to what we're actually upset about. But hopefully we also catch ourselves and apologize because that's not how we actually feel.
It is completely unacceptable to be dismissive or degrading to someone because you drive a fancier car, carry a more expensive bag and live in a bigger house in a more prestigious zip code than they do. When did having more THINGS start to mean someone is more important, has more power or can be demeaning towards another person? Like I said before, I know we all have our moments (of course I do too) but I am constantly surprised at how disrespectful people can be when someone is providing them with a service.
I've always admired my Mom when it comes to this - she treats everyone the same no matter what their financial status, job, ethnicity or sexual preference. She genuinely has patience, love and kindness for everyone she comes in contact with. I'm lucky that I've had her as a role model. Let's all take a rule from her playbook and do the same.