Have you ever fallen in front of a client or done something in the salon that made you turn bright red with embarrassment? Well, rest assured — you aren’t alone. These nail techs have had their share of challenging moments that made them feel just plain dumb or want to hide under their nail tables with shame. Read their experiences — we’re sure you’ll be able to relate.
Fanning the Flames
“I learned a lesson in mixing chemicals. Throughout the course of a day, several different products had been poured down a sink in the salon. I’m guessing some of those chemicals could have included drain cleaner and acetone. I unknowingly topped the potion off with a can of soda — resulting in fire shooting to the ceiling. Fortunately, no harm was done.”
Becky Bence, Salon 505 The Day Spa, Austin, Texas
When Water Falls
“On my first day on the job, I filled a pedicure foot bath in the dispensary and started walking out to bring it to the client. Halfway down the hallway, the foot bath’s cord caught on a door. The foot bath went one way, and I went the other. Water spilled everywhere.”
Millie Haynam, Natural Beauty Salon, Twinsburg, Ohio
Can’t Sit Still
“A few years ago, before I purchased a pedicure chair with wheels, I used a stationary one that the salon provided. Twice, while wearing a dress no less, I tried to scoot myself back and tipped the stool over. So, there I lay, on my back, with my legs up in the air, giving the startled client quite the show. Thank goodness I always wear underwear!”
Pam Klimek, Illusions Salon, Peoria, Ariz.
A Sticky Situation
“A client scheduled a pedicure; during the service she mentioned that several toes overlap her other toenails, and as a result, her polish wears off. I decided that an overlay of gel, used as a top coat, would do the trick. I told her that the gel needed to be filed off and would not wear off as polish would. She was thrilled with the idea.
Later that evening, my pedicure client called. She said she had a problem with her toenail polish. In my mind, I quickly recalled her pedicure service as she explained that her polish was sticky. She had carpet fuzzies and dog hairs sticking to her toenails. I was puzzled and explained that I couldn’t understand why that would have happened. Then it struck me — I had forgotten to wipe off the sticky residue that is left behind when a light-cured gel is used! I told her how to get the sticky residue off, and I apologized profusely. I even offered for her to meet me back at the salon or stop in the next day, so I could check them out.”
Barbara Eve, The Regency Salon and Spa, Middleton, Ohio
Now You See It, Now You Don’t
“When I first started to airbrush, I convinced a client to switch from wearing polish to professional nail color. She agreed to a three-color blend and a couple of art images on the ring fingers. When I was finished, she was excited but concerned about the paint on her fingers. I explained to her that all she had to do was wash her hands, and the paint would come right off. Needless to say, as we sat there getting sidetracked and talking, I had forgotten to place sealer on the nails. She got up to wash her hands and everything came right off, including the paint off her nails. The look on her face was priceless.
I redid the nails without charging her. She became a loyal client for many years and always wore professional nail color from then on.”
Julie Kellos, Independent artistic nail instructor, Layton, Utah
What a Spill
“A couple of years ago, I was working in a salon with hairdryer chairs. When I did pedicures, I had to use a portable foot spa. One day as I finished up a client, I picked up the foot bath to take back to the sink to empty as usual. Before I knew it, the cord had caught on one of the dryer chairs that someone was in, and I was jerked back. Somehow, I managed a 360-degree tip-toe spin, caught the water that had splashed out, and managed to recover my balance while ripping my pants! My client was laughing so hard she was crying. Actually, everyone in the salon was laughing.
At this point, trying to recover some of my dignity, I gave everyone a bow. Wouldn’t you know it; I spilled every bit of that water on the floor. That is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me on the job!”
Stephanie Fuller, Bella Donna Nails, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Running with [Electric] Files
“I dropped my electric file’s handpiece while running once. It bounced like a bungee cord. It hit the carpet and bounced right back up. Of course, being the professional I am and knowing everything about an electric file, I didn’t turn it off. Instead, I hit the wrong switch and put it in reverse. The handpiece was fine, but the drill bit was bent. Now I know what it means to make sure your bit runs true.”
Diana Bonn, Colours, Muncie, Ind.
Stuck On You
“I was a disaster with the nail glue in school. I’d glue all types of things together unintentionally. About three years into my career, I was trying to open a squeeze-type tube of glue. It was clogged, so naturally, I squeezed harder. Glue went everywhere. I did manage to avoid getting any on my client and was quick to avoid getting my fingers stuck together, but I had glue dripping down my hand like honey.
I was able to use an activator to set it immediately so that I would avoid sticking to anything else and was able to finish the service. It took a lot of patience and a lot of acetone to remove the dried resin from my hand.
A few years ago, I even glued my client to my desk! I had applied glue to her nail and she knew it wasn’t dry, so why would she then set that nail down against my desk? When I looked up, she was stuck! I managed to use an acetone-soaked cotton pad to get her unstuck. ”
Maggie Franklin, Laughing Lady Salon, Visalia, Calif.