I inherited this client seven years ago from another tech. I should have heeded her subtle warning as she bid me “good luck” with an eye roll. The client is consistent and tips well, but during the whole appointment she gives off negative energy. She complains about working long hours (she’s unemployed), going to school more than full time (her choice), and how nobody respects her time (i.e.: “How dare my friend call me for lunch; I’m busy!”). She does homework and pays bills during her appointment, leaving the envelopes and trash on my desk. Plus, she constantly changes her appointment. Recently, she called to move her appointment by 15 minutes. I accommodated her by bumping my next client 15 minutes. When I called to confirm the change, she said 15 minutes may not be enough time, and she wanted to be sure she would have the full hour and a half in my chair. Then came the bloodpressure-raising sentence: “You know, I tip you really well, and I expect you to accommodate me once in a while.”
DANA GONZALEZ-KURTZ, Artistry of the Nail at Salon Shibumi, Portland, Ore.
Too Close for Comfort
I work from home by appointment only. One morning a client called for an appointment, but it was the holidays, and I told her I was totally booked. Just then, she walked in my door, which I had opened to let the dog out. I was in my pajamas with a cup of tea in my hand, catching my breath from cleaning the house. I hadn’t even brushed my hair yet! My client stuck her hand in my face and demanded I file her nails. Without realizing what I was doing, I did. Then I booked her fill for the following week, explaining that I was in my pajamas, and I hadn’t quite started my work day yet. She had no money with her, and the following week she refused to pay extra for the time I had taken to file her nails. To make things worse, she called me the most obnoxious person she had ever met. This happened seven years ago, and I still cross over to the other side of the street when I see her.
AVIVA BELFER, Aviva’s, Jerusalem
A walk-in client came to the salon for a full set. She wanted white tips with very thin acrylic applied over them. They were so thin that when I buffed her nails, the acrylic was gone and the tip was exposed below. I advised her that was not the proper amount of acrylic. After an hour of listening to her pick at every detail, I finally finished. She left saying she loved them and they look so much better than anyone else’s. Two days later she called, complaining that her nails were cracking and breaking at the stress area. She said, “I would like to give you the opportunity to fix your mistakes for FREE because that’s the kind of lady I am.”
TAHNEE REYES, Pinky’s Salon, Porterville, Calif.
I had a client who would spend her whole appointment talking about her endless problems but wouldn’t think to tell me she “forgot” her money until I was finished with her nails. She would cry and complain about her life constantly. One day she called to say her car wouldn’t start, and she asked me to send my husband over to help her get it started. I said no. Recently, she called to say she had dropped her electricity bill in my mailbox, and she asked if I could pay it so that her electricity wouldn’t be shut off!
MELISSA CARTWRIGHT, Salon 36 at Aldinga Beach, South Australia
Rhymes with Witch
A client called to book a full set and to ask if it would be OK to bring a baby, as she was babysitting for a friend. She insisted the little darling would be taking her afternoon nap during the appointment. When I asked her to wash her hands, she told me she washed them before she left the house. I insisted. So, grumbling, she picked up the baby, the diaper bag, her purse and her drink, and she went to the bathroom. She returned 20 minutes later. Betty decided it was a good time to feed the baby after all her tips had been applied. After she dug inside the diaper bag and retrieved a can of powdered formula and a gallon of water, I noticed a couple of her tips were gone. Sixtyfive minutes were wasted on her shenanigans. Then she told me the reason the salon is called B*tches (her personalization of our real name, “Beaches”) is because in order to work there you have to be a b*tch, and then she left. A few minutes later, I received a call from the gym next door, asking why the police were outside our building. Apparently she had called the police to tell them I was a b*tch.
LUCIA ETCHAMENDY, Lucia’s Hair and Nail Salon, Hesperia, Calif.
A client came in from a different salon with nails that were brownish-yellow. She couldn’t remember what had caused it, but said every time she went to the “other” salon, it would happen. Three days after I filled her nails, she asked why her nails were again turning brown. I asked if she was tanning. Yes, she said, but she wore gloves. Finally, she remembered she had applied self-tanner. A week later, she called again to say I hadn’t applied enough gel. When she came in, I looked at her nails and asked her what type of project she had been doing. She said she had washed out a brush filled with wood stain. Now I was frustrated. She asked for a new set, and I agreed to give her one. Right after her appointment, she went home and filed her own nails and then called to tell me her nails were not even on one side and she wanted me to fix them for free!
LORENA RODRIGUEZ, San Antonio, Texas
This client makes me grind away my sealants. She refuses to let me use clippers because her hyponychium grows past her finger tips. Instead, she makes me file her nails down right to the tip of her hyponichium while randomly shouting, “Watch out!” (This is nerve-wracking and dangerous.) Also, no matter how many times I tell her to let me know what she wants “fixed” before her nails have cured under the light, she never remembers to point things out until after her nails have cured. Plus, for some reason, she can’t simply keep her hand flat under the light, so whenever I remove the sticky residue, half of the color wipes off, doubling my work. Two hours later, I finish her nails feeling drained and mentally violated. Needless to say, I am now always “booked” whenever she calls.
JENNY ARNAIZ, Be Gel’ous by Jenny, San Francisco