Client:  My nail girl had the audacity to charge me a cancellation fee! I have been a loyal client for six years and have never cancelled an appointment without calling. I’m miffed enough to look elsewhere. Is this standard procedure for most nail salons?

Miss Manicurist:  Well, if it isn’t, it darn well ought to be. First, let me give you the proper protocol for canceling appointments with “your nail girl.” Cancellations should be in advance except in emergency situations such as, er, ah, you know, your husband left you for your best friend’s husband or something. Otherwise, you should give at least a 24-hours notice. If you really want to stand out as the ultimate classy and savvy client, volunteer to pay a cancellation fee and insist that she take it. Cancelled appointments are often not filled, which can cost an operator a good deal of money, and I believe you wouldn’t like it if your paycheck was docked unfairly. Most hardworking nail techs have rent to pay, not to mention transportation costs, and insurance. And their kids, like all kids, want name brands and braces.

The lowdown: Pay up, chick. You never know when the ultimate classy and savvy client will walk in and usurp your standing appointment time.

Client:  I never seem to be able to please my nail technician. If I’m even 10 minutes late, I can feel tension has built while she waited. When I’m ahead of schedule and drop in a half hour early, I feel another kind of tension in the air. I try to be friendly and make small talk with her and the client before me, but I feel uncomfortable, almost like I’ve horned in or something. What can I do to please her?

Miss Manicurist:  When you make an appointment at 9:00, that doesn’t mean 9:10, 9:15, or 9:30, nor does it mean 8:30 or even 8:45. Some large salons can afford a wide range of interpretations of time with their clients, but most small ones cannot. Ten minutes late for a repair or repolish can mean the whole appointment. Ten minutes late on a hectic day can determine whether or not your nail tech can scarf down a bite of lunch in a 10-hour day. Heck, 10 satisfying minutes could save a marriage — just ask any sex therapist!

As for being early, there is a reason you feel uncomfortable, like you’ve horned in. If your salon doesn’t have a private waiting room, please remember that the hour before your hour is bought and paid for by the client before you. For all you know, she’s just divulged a sordid affair to her trusted nail tech. How can she finish the details with you looking over her shoulder? There is still time to salvage your reputation if you change your ways now.

The lowdown: Be on time. It’s the right thing to do, and it tells the other party that they possess your respect which is very pleasing to all. Five minutes early is acceptable.

Client:  Is it okay to leave my cell phone on during my nail appointment?

Miss Manicurist:  Uh . . . no. Duh? Do you have any idea of the countless hours a typical manicurist (and I’m sure I speak for abused hairdressers as well) spends in a year on cell phone blunders? First off, there are the repairs. Then there’s digging in a client’s purse for an annoying ringing problem that isn’t even hers to begin with. How about waiting on you to hang up so that she can stay on schedule? If you’re expecting a call from the President, leave him the salon number. That’s much more polite.

The lowdown: Don’t do it, toots. Your nail tech may smile for professionalism’s sake, but in her heart, she’s seething.

About The Manicurist: The Manicurist — aka Rebecca Seals — is a licensed cosmetologist, esthetician, and salon owner with 18 years experience in the beauty industry. She has traveled many roads in the U.S. preaching and teaching the gospel as she sees it.

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