I know I’ve mentioned in the past that I have never had so many “walk-ins” since I moved to a private office on the fourth floor of a semi-secure office building. I blame the Internet — all that Googling.
But all that Googling should also bring people to information about me and my salon — namely that I work by appointment only, and that I don’t allow children in the salon. And when you go on a hunt to find me and are confronted by the downstairs lobby, most people would probably start wondering if this is really the sort of building where you should show up unannounced with your mother, your grandmother, and three children under the age of 10.
But it happens.
It happened last week, on a Friday afternoon, when I had set aside some time to help my niece tear apart the salon and properly dust everything in it. I had my entire desk discombobulated and my 15-year-old niece was sprawled out on the floor with a dust cloth and a thousand bottles of polish that needed dusting and shaking.
The door wasn’t completely closed. Ajar — open just about two inches. When I thought I heard the faintest tapping on the glass. But not definite enough to convince me to check the door. Until the niece said, “Is someone at the door?”
So I looked up and saw that there was, indeed, a face in the doorway. I got up and opened the door to exactly the abovementioned scenario: what looked to be three generations of women and three young boys standing at the door. I asked if I could help them, and the youngest woman quietly said, “I’m here to get my nails done.”
Now, I know I spend a lot of time denying being a horrible, hateful, mean-spirited person in real life. But I admit to having policies and the chutzpah to stick to them. And — in this case — I was just plain caught so off guard I wasn’t prepared with a tactful, professional response.
I think I probably looked at them like they were made out of Jell-O. I certainly felt like I should be expecting Alan Funt to make an appearance. I do know that I did not laugh out loud. Which is a little how I felt. I know I tried to be polite as I explained that I work by appointment, and that I don’t allow children in the salon, so I’d be happy to schedule an appointment for her, but wouldn’t be able to do it that day.
They left. They seemed confused. I felt confused. I closed the door and looked at my niece. My niece issued one of those “OMG, seriously?!” comments 15-year-old girls are so good at.
I spent a lot of the rest of the afternoon asking my niece if I was too mean to them. She says no. She says I was good. She says that was a weird situation and no one should show up to a nail salon with six other people.
She’s right. It was weird.