Blueprint of a First Year

A $19 Pedicure, AKA Shopping the Competition

by NAILS Magazine | November 13, 2012
I know our salon is unique, considering all of the salons out there that cut corners in order to keep prices artificially low and how those salons have ruined the consumers' opinions of nail salons. Veronica, a new acrylic client of mine, made it very clear last week that she did not want the e-file used on her. No problem. She obviously has had a bad experience and did not know who she was sitting across the table from. (I've worked with Kupa Inc. and been an e-file educator for many years.) At the end of the service she said, "I can’t believe it was not painful!" It kills me when I hear that. At which point I owned up to all my e-file experience. She laughed.

It has been a while since I have done a discount salon visit, and Veronica fueled me to do one. So I chose a salon close by, which my sister Nat and I have peeked in the window of when it was closed. This place is too cute.

Pink and gray walls, hanging chandelier-style lamps, custom manicure tables, beautiful white leather client chairs, and a full row of pedi spa chairs lined the wall. It is well decorated. I would guess a professional decorator designed the salon. With the hope I would get a high-end pedi I walked in.

I asked for a salon menu. They were out so I could not see what the salon offered and at what prices. I have to admit the polish rack was full of trendy OPI colors, which was definitely different than the lousy color choices I expected to find. I saw a gal fill up the spa tub and no one directed me to it. So I waited, then asked...and finally was escorted to the spa chair. I got a decent pedicure and polish job. Of course she tried to upsell me on callus treatment, but I declined. Isn’t callus treatment part of the pedicure?

The gal used new files, and the implements were probably cleaned and placed in a white sterilization envelope that was open, so I know that's a decoy. The towels were very old and unraveling from being cut in half, and while she polished me she cleaned the spa by removing the jet and rinsing it, then surface cleaned the tub with the towel she used on me. These salons just don’t get it.

So I go to pay...$19. Unbelievable! I was so disappointed that this cute well-decorated salon that could be high-end and charge more was so cheap with its prices and the products. It's the same old plastic bottles of cheap cuticle oils and lotions.

I left there feeling good about our services and sanitation, and I highly recommend everyone shops the competition, if for nothing else to confirm we are doing it all right.

--Vicki, Polish Salon, Brea, Calif.

Editor's Note: We removed the name of the salon Vicki visited because at NAILS Magazine, we don't feel it is our place to publicly shame one specific salon. That said, we appreciate Vicki sharing this experience and we'd like to remind everyone that your state board accepts consumer complaints about unsanitary salons. To report a California salon, visit
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