Money Matters

Just My Opinion: Discount Is Not a Dirty Word

There’s an old Chinese idiom that says, “Every tree grows poor leaves.”

Having worked in this industry as a manager of “discount salons” for several years, I have heard a lot criticism. I agree that there are many discount salons giving the nail business a bad name. I agree that many of these salons decrease their prices to ridiculously low levels, ruining other salons’ business while doing no good to themselves financially. I agree that these salons only want to grab customers and their money without treating them correctly.

But we have to agree that not all discount salons are bad or dangerous, and I’m here to clear up some misconceptions. There are honest merchants running discount salons (if “discount” is indeed an appropriate term to describe lower-end salons) that provide comfortable and complete services for clients. These merchants choose to run their businesses in a different way — relatively lower prices and faster service. Different services aim at different clients. The people who don’t believe a lower-end salon can provide the services they are looking for will visit the higher-end salons.

Unprofessional salons should be eliminated in this industry especially those that provide poor services and scare clients away and those that don’t adhere to proper sanitation procedures to ensure the health of their clients, But before you scream, “Get rid of all the discount salons!” am you sure that all of them should be eliminated just because some of them are performing poorly? Is there nothing a discount salon does, such as bringing a wider range of services and choice for clients, that is worth tolerating or even welcoming its presence? Somewhere out there are honest and respectable companies, salons, and merchants who are wiling to provide excellent service, treat clients nicely and follow state board regulations. Most important, they are more than willing to work with other professionals to maintain and improve the industry’s image.

Gordon Pun is vice president of Victoria Corporation, which operates California Nails salons in Jackson, Miss.

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