The other day, I was walking down the hallway to my salon just as the massage therapist next door was coming out of her room. She informed me that one of our other neighbors — an older gentleman whose door proclaims him to be an investment broker, but who keeps pretty much to himself — had asked her (the massage therapist) if I would clip his toenails for $10.
[wrinkled brow in confusion while I consider this]
My first reaction was along the lines of, “Oh course I’ll clip his toenails for him.”
Followed very shortly by, “But I don’t do pedicures and I’m not sure I even have a pair of actual toenail clippers.”
Followed by, “I guess I can just use the drill and a file like I do on rockstar toes...but he’s a guy, he probablywants them podiatrist short. I’m not really comfortable with that.”
And tailing along at the end of the thought-train, “$10? Why would he say that? Why wouldn’t he say, ‘Do you know how much she charges for... ?’”
Ultimately, I let the massage therapist know that I’m not really set up for a traditional pedicure process, so I’m not sure I can do what he wants done, but that I’d speak with him myself.
But the more I think of it the more I’m irritated. On one hand, the guy’s my neighbor. I’m happy to do him a favor and keep in good standing with my fourth-floor homies. On the other hand, “for $10” is getting under my skin.
If he’d just come down and asked me to clip his nails, I’d have probably found a spot to fit him in and not even charged him — but that’s MY prerogative. It’s up to ME if I want to give someone a break or do them a favor. When someone comes to me, asking me to perform a service that falls within the scope of my practice, they don’t get to set their own price! This is not Priceline. I am not Captain Kirk.
No! If you intend to contract with a service professional, you ask them how much that service will be. You don’t tell them what they will charge. I don’t get offended if someone attempts to haggle with me; I get offended when they think I’m unreasonable for not haggling, or when the price they expect to haggle me down to is unreasonable.
I might trim his nails, but not for $10. I’m going to have to go buy a pair of clippers just for him!