BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – I was asked at a recent staff meeting, while we were discussing changes in the design of this very page, what I would do if I went into a salon and I did NOT have a good experience. The editors were worried, but I thought that even if one of us had a negative “On the Road” experience it would be instructional for other salons. I said, “It might be awkward to write something negative about a salon, but I think we all learn from others’ mistakes as well as our own.” Well, it happened. I went to a salon in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., before attending the Great Lakes Beauty Show and had a very disappointing experience.

This salon was located in one of Michigan’s ritzier areas and my deluxe pedicure set me back $75 – as high as I’ve paid. I read an online review of the salon before leaving for my trip and called and booked two appointments, during which I had confirmed the price (over the phone they said it would be $60 each). I had arranged to have a side-by-side pedicure with my friend, salon owner Renee Skrocki, who’d recently lost both her parents, and with the burden of running her business alone, was exhausted in need of the kind of pampering that she gives her own clients. I wanted it to be a total escape for Renee.

We arrived and were offered coffee, which came in cone-shaped, disposable cups (again, for the price, I expected a little more ambiance). A technician, who did not introduce herself, led us to the brightly lit pedicure room, where there was nowhere to put our belongings but in a pile on the floor (where they got splashed by whirling water). Although pedicure “thrones” are usually luxurious, their position against the wall made these quite uncomfortable (and the fact that both Renee and I are tall made it worse for us).

Our nail technicians were friendly once we engaged them in conversation, but both were preoccupied with a boyfriend problem that, although intriguing and scandalous, didn’t put Renee or I in the get-away-from-it-all-mood I had hoped to achieve.

The hour-long service consisted of a soak, nail filing, and paraffin dip (during which the nail tech carried the paraffin bath to us and actually held it in her hands while we dipped), an ever-so-brief foot massage, and a bad polish job. Of course it wasn’t the worst pedicure I’ve ever had. I wasn’t injured or anything, but admittedly my expectations were high because of the premium price.

The salon manager was very kind and gave us a tour of the spa after our pedicures, and Renee and I looked wistfully at the spa and treatment rooms, which were serene and lovely. I couldn’t help but think that some of the attention devoted to them should have been dedicated to our pedicure experience. After all, the cost of a massage was also $75.

I had envisioned a forget-your-worries spa experience when I arranged for a side-by-side pedicure with my friend, Michigan salon owner Renee Skrocki. Alas, we were disappointed in the service and shocked at the price tag.


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