Say What You Need to Say

I am by no means the most expensive nail tech in my area. I am also by no means the cheapest nail tech in my area. My prices reflect a compromise between what my years of experience and dedication to my craft should command versus what the local market will reasonably bear — or more specifically what the upper end of the local market is willing to bear.

So my clientele is pretty eclectic, drawing from a wide spectrum of middle to upper-middle, mostly working-class women ages 25 to 70. Or thereabouts. If’n you happen to care.

When people call to ask about prices, some of those people think my prices are ridiculously high. Most of them think they’re pretty fair. This is a post about the former.

First of all, I hate that most people think that all pointy nails are stilettos. This is our fault, nail peeps! Stop tagging your almond and extreme almond nail shapes as stilettos. Stop telling your clients they can do “short” stilettos. This is not how the true stiletto structure works.

Stiletto nails have straight side walls — all the way from the cuticle. Like long, sleek, triangles.

Anything else is an almond shape.

I don’t get calls for stilettos often, but I charge $75 and up for a new set of the things. Which is what I politely told the young lady who just called me.

I could tell immediately that she wasn’t prepared for that answer. First there was silence. I thought she might have hung up. Then I could hear the start of a confused murmur, as though she wanted to say something but wasn’t quite sure what it was. Then a little louder, a sort of cough, then “ummmm,” before she finally got around to asking if that was the starting price.

Yes.

“So... that’s with everything?”

I silently think about telling her cheese and bacon cost extra. “Yes. That’s for a full set. Either pink-and-white or plain with polish.”

I suspect she may have dropped her phone, either when she fainted or because she simply walked away. All I know is she went quite silent.

I’m not sure what she wanted to say. Maybe she wanted to say, “Holy !*@&! Are you serious?!” Or maybe she wanted to say, “Ohhhhh... uh, that’s more than I was thinking.” Or maybe she wanted to say, “You are out of your ever-loving mind, woman!”

I’ll never know. I wish she’d said something. She could have said any of those things. Or she could have politely said, “Thank you, good bye” and hung up.

Instead, silence hung between us until I finally offered a tentative, “Thank you? Is that all?” before ending the call.

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