High End

A while back I had a surprise visit from another nail tech who left quite an impression on me; and I don't really mean a good impression. She was looking into renting space in the same building where I am.

OK fine, it's a big building with lots of spaces that are perfect for a solo nail tech, but out of four floors to choose from, why would you want to be only two doors away from another nail salon? Despite her bid for the space two doors down, she eventually ended up on another floor — so that worked out well.

Another good reason for her to be on another floor is that during our brief conversation when she popped in to size up my salon, she managed to insult me and my clientele by rather tactlessly asserting that she had a "very high-end clientele."

Maybe it came out all wrong, but given that the comment was absurdly out of context with the rest of our conversation, and offered in a tone that suggested that she and her "high-end" clientele deserved a spot in this building more than I do — without having any knowledge of myself or my clientele — it did not sit well. It was difficult to nod and smile instead of running a short experiment to see how bad the damages really would be if someone were to fall from my fourth floor (albeit fifth story) window. But she also managed to utter those words at the exact moment that the massage therapist next door was walking by my door.

So her "high-end" clientele has become quite the on-going joke up here on the fourth floor.

I was relating this story last week to one of my clients who apparently had been left out of the loop and her reaction was not only different than most, but interesting — if not a tad insulting.

Most of my clients do not consider themselves to be "high end." My clients are mostly blue-collar professionals, white-collar career women, and students. Not wealthy women who spend their days playing golf at the country club and volunteering their time working for charity — which is not to say I haven't had a few clients in this demographic over the years, but they don't represent the norm for my daily conversations.

Nevertheless, I've never had anyone give me the slightest hint that my decor is unattractive to this demographic. No. I am not surrounded by priceless antiques. I don't have classical art on the walls. I don't serve wine ... but it was interesting to hear one client's concept of what a "high-end" clientele would expect to find in a "high-end" salon.

I guess it's always eye opening to learn how people perceive themselves and how they perceive others.


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