One bright Sunday morning, last month, I entered the beautiful spa I was working for. I headed back into, the salon, as was my routine. I turned on the computer and checked my schedule for the day. I was almost fully booked.
I pulled out my pen and a piece of paper to make a copy of the schedule for my pocket.
Then, I saw it.
In the middle of my day were two, 60 minute, long hair up-do appointments. Only, they were wedged in my schedule at 30 minutes a piece.
Half of the time I needed.
I checked the notes.
Both girls wanted full heads of curls. This was not good. Curls take even more time.
I walked up to the front desk. Sitting there at the two computers were Captain Hooker, the receptionist and Snickers, the 24 years old, spa assistant supervisor.
“Hey, Hooker,” I said. “I noticed there were two up-do appointments scheduled in the middle of my day for 30 minutes a piece. They need to be 60 minute blocks each. Can you please call and reschedule them?”
“No.” Hooker said without evening looking up from the computer.
“Huh?” I asked, dumbfounded.
“It’ll be fine! You are fast.” She assured me.
“They need sixty minutes each. Also, they are requests for curls which can take even longer. It’s in the middle of the schedule. It will put me behind for the entire day if it doesn’t get fixed.”
Hooker ignored me.
“No.” Snickers said. “We aren’t going to move them. Let’s just wait until they get here and see how much hair they have.”
“Uhhh. OK. Maybe you can get Elaine to take one of them.” I suggested.
“No. She has an appointment already, a bride”
“Also, I noticed the price was set at $45 dollars each. They need to be charged at $85 each plus a $20 long hair add on.” I added. “$105 total.”
“No.” Snickers said. “They are only 12 and 13 years old. They are kids.”
“Look, Snickers. Kids are ages 10 and under. Plus, they are charged by time, anyway. If I need an hour+ to do this they need to be charged approiately. At least call them now to give them a ‘heads up’ so they are not ‘sticker shocked’ when they arrive.”
“Well.” Hooker chimed in, “I already told them it would be $45.”
“You can not quote the guest. Only the stylist can, and not until after I see the actual hair in person. We never quote over the phone.” I had already had this exact conversation with these girls before.
For six months.
I logged it in a journal.
“Well, we just tell the guest the menu price.” Snickers jumps in.
“Look you guys. The menu has ‘starting at’ prices only. Please call them now and let them know about timing and prices so it won’t be an issue when they get here.” I begged.
“No.” Snickers said. “We aren’t charging them more than $45. I just feel if we do they wont come back.”
“Grrrrrrr! IT’S A SPA! They are here for a wedding! They wont be back anyway!”
I was pissed.
I went back into the salon and set up for my first appointment.
Elaine, the other cosmetologist came in and sat up for her day as well. I told her what happened. Elaine, being even more experienced in the salon than I, agreed with me. She tried to help me by talking to Snickers and Captain Hooker. Snickers just yelled at her and told her to take it up on Tuesday with the new male, spa director, Bimbo.
Halfway through the day, it was time. My two teenage guests arrived.
They had the most hair I had ever seen.
Hooker walked them into the salon.
I greeted the girls along with their mother. I just opened my mouth to explain the error in pricing to them when it happened.
Captain Hooker dropped her lobster trap.
“Hi ladies,” She began. “Just to let you know, there was an error in pricing. There will be a $10 long hair charge. So, your cost will be $55 instead of $45, OK?”
I looked at Elaine in shock. Her mouth was agape. I thought she might start crying.
Elaine hates conflict.
There was nothing I could do.
“Do you want me to start one of the girls for you, *****? My bride is not here yet. I will have to stop when she gets here though,” Elaine asked me.
I love Elaine. She is a team player. Also, an amazing hair stylist.
“Yes, Elaine! Thank you!”
As luck would have it, Elaine’s bride, never showed up.
After an hour of curling and pinning we had completed our master pieces. A miracle had ensued. Both girls were enthralled with their styles. I know because we made sure to ask each of them before we let them leave.
They left to the wedding happy. Elaine and I were not as happy, we just worked for pennies, giving thirty minutes of work away for free.
We felt like slaves.
Whipped into service on a pirate ship, by the Captain, Hooker.
Captain Hooker is a good Christain girl. I know this because sometimes, when I would walk by the front desk, she would stop me. Then, she would grab my hands into her own and hold them.
As she prayed for me.
I am not Christian.
However, I enjoyed this. I encouraged this. I loved this.
It was very entertaining. Also, probably, if Jesus does exist and WAS listening, maybe I’ll get some help.
Elaine and I set up the pedicure tubs. We greeted our guests (they were sisters) and had them soak their feet in the tubs in preperation for their “mini pedis” (one of the new half price/half the time services we added to the menu because of the shitty economy).
Just as we sat down to start the services Hooker walked into the salon. She was not alone. With her was Elaines bride.
She was an hour late.
Hooker is very unprofessional. She was supposed to direct the guest to wait in the spa, not bring her into the salon.
“Your appointment is here, Elaine. She will be seated at your hair station.” Hooker left the guest sitting there and walked away.
Elaine and I were shocked.
The bride had already missed her appointment time. She should have been taken into the spa area to wait the thirty minutes while we took care of our pedicure appointments already in progress. Or perhaps told to come back in a half hour.
Elaine didn’t know what to do. She was trying to avoid conflict. She left her pedicure appointment alone in the tub and began working on her bride.
“Elaine, I can do both pedicures at once. Do you think you will be a while?” I asked.
I am also a team player.
“That would be great! Thank you!” She said.
I apologized to the sisters in the pedicure tub and explained that their appointmentments would run 15 minutes over the scheduled time because of this. They didn’t mind, they had planned on being there longer. Actually one of the women said to me,
“We had wanted a full pedicure. However, I made the appointment over the phone. I didn’t get a chance to look at your menu. When I explained this to your receptionist, she suggested these, “mini services”. Someone should really talk to her because we wanted full services. We didn’t care about price and were expecting the full time. I bet you guys lose out on a lot of money this way.”
“I agree with you. If you could put that on a comment card before you leave today, I would greatly appreciate it.” I told her.
Just then, in walks the captain.
With her, the 13 year old girl who’s up-do I had just completed.
“Hey *****!” Hooker says to me, “13 doesn’t like her hair. I told her you would re-do the whole thng for free. I’m going to leave her here at your hair station.”
Very unprofessional, that Hooker!
“I will gladly fix whatever she needs but I’m busy right now. Its going to be about 45 minutes,” I warn.
“No, she needs it sooner.” Hooker said, before walking away, leaving the girl in the salon.
“I’m almost done with my bride.” Elaine chimed in.
“Would you want me to take care of her?” Elaine asks me.
“YES! That would be GREAT. Thank you!” I responded.
Elaine and I make a great team, even under stress.
Close to an hour later, I finished up the pedicures, Elaine finished up the hair. Turns out 13 loved the style I had given her, just with her having so much hair and our spa being located next to the Pacific Ocean the curls started to fall.
She needed a touch up.
Elaine recurled her hair for her. Then, Hooker made sure Elaine was paid the money for the up-do instead of me. I was paid nothing for the hour I spent doing her hair.
I found out later that day that Hooker had decided to charge 13, $85 instead of the $55 she quoted her the second time. It made me wonder if 13’s mom brought her back out of anger because she felt ripped off.
It was a rough day. As usual, I made sure to document what had transpired in my notebook when I got home that night. These types of problems had become the “norm” since the new Spa Director, Bimbo, was hired. Bimbo was usually off on Sundays and Mondays when these problems occured.
Monday morning I arrived to work on time. I hadn’t slept much the night before because I was so upset about the previous day. I just didn’t want anymore issues and I needed to make money.
On my way into the salon I approached Hooker. We were the only people in the spa that morning.
“Listen Hooker,” I began. “I just want you to know, I thought about it and if there are any problems today I’m going straight to Adam.”
Adam is Bimbos boss.
I walked into the salon and turned on the computer.
Hooker followed me.
“I don’t know what you mean. What problems?” Hooker asked me.
“You know exactly what I mean. Yesterday was a mess. I’m just being straight with you right now. If anything happens today like it did yesterday I’m going to leave my guest and go directly to Adams office. Let’s just have a good day.” I said.
Hooker started crying.
“Why don’t you like me?” She asked.
What the fuck was going on?
“I’m here to make money. I have two kids to support. You go back to the front and do your job. I’ll stay back here and do mine.” I responded.
Then, I walked away.
That day was a breeze. Hooker did what she was supposed to. It was almost too easy. I started to get suspicious.
I am smart.
Tuesday afternoon, I called Bimbos offce.
“When is a good time to speak with you? I had some issues with the front desk last weekend.” I said.
“I am busy with the remodel!” Bimbo, was yelling. “I don’t know why you guys won’t get along. I don’t have time for these problems, OK? Everytime I have a day off you start this again. I already talked to the front now I’m talking to you! Enough already.”
Bimbo hung up on me.
Halfway through my shift that day, Bimbo walked into the spa.
“Can you come with me to my office?” He asked.
Finally, I was getting a chance to explain the situation.
“Sure!” I said. Excitedly, I grabbed my notebook.
Once seated in Bimbo’s office I began, “I brought my notebook. I have been documenting everything since October.”
“I don’t care about that. I want to talk about what happened on Monday,” Bimbo said.
“You mean Sunday,” I corrected.
“No,” Bimbo repeated. “I mean Monday.”
I was confused.
“Nothing happened on Monday, Bimbo. Sunday was when we had the issues. Monday was a breeze.”
“That’s not what I was told. I want to hear about what you did to Hooker on Monday.”
With that Bimbo pulled out a piece of paper. He had written me up! I had never been written up before. As a matter of fact, my last spa director told me my review was the best she had ever given anyone.
“You called Hooker by obscentities. You used the “F” word and you threatened her. Thats considered harassment. Are you aware you can be termnated for harassment?”
I was in complete shock. I was white as a ghost. My palms were sweating. I am not good at explaining myself under stress.
“All I did was tell Hooker if there were any issues I would go to Adam! That’s it! I was tryng to avoid any conflict!” I explained.
“That’s not what I was told,” Bimbo said. “Why would you go to Adam before me, anyway?”
“Because you were gone for the day. You can’t write me up for hear say. There were no wittnesses.” I said.
“That’s what you think.” Bimbo stated.
“Aren’t you even going to listen to what happened Sunday?” I frantically asked
Bimbo sighed, “Fine, go ahead.” He annoyingly obliged.
“First I want to ask, who’s job is it to quote the guest on hair prices? Us or the front desk?”
“Yours and I already talked to the front about it,” Bimbo said.
“Great. Because, that’s my main issue. I have never, in my 15 years in this business, had a receptionist overwrite my prices before,” I stated.
“Don’t call Hooker a receptionist,” Bimbo ordered.
“Excuse me?” I was confused.
“Hooker is more than that. She’s more than a receptionist. She, she does a lot for me.” Bimbo explained.
“Ok……….” I was still confused. “I’ve never had a non-hair stylist…”
Bimbo cut me off, “The term ‘non-hair stylist’ is derogatory as well!”
“Umm, listen, I don’t have anythng personal against Hooker. This is about making money. I have two kids to support and…”
Bimbo cut me off again, “Oh, but I think it is personal.” He stated.
Defeated, I decided to move forward.
“I had two guests complain on Sunday about the bookings, for their services, being wrong. I asked them to fill out comment cards. They were given mini services when they had really wanted full services.” I explained.
“That didn’t happen. People lie all the time to get services for free,” Bimbo said confidently. “I know because I stand at the front of the spa and I talk to the guests before and after services. You are not being a ‘team player’.” Bimbo told me.
“These same booking issues are happening all the time, though!” I was really frustrated.
I was getting nowhere.
What was going on!?!?! Was I in a dream? I mean, I’m used to men ignoring me but this was too much.
That’s when it happened.
“Have you ever heard of ‘Histrionic Personality Disorder’?” Bimbo asked me.
“No,” I said.
“Its when a person compulsively exaggerates. Let me give you an example: you, by saying, ‘people complain all the time’ when, in fact, meaning ‘people complain once a month’. Typical symptom of Histrionic.”
My boss just diagnosed me with a personality disorder.
He obviously, doesn’t get my humor. At all.
“Im not signing that write up. You can make me a copy and I’ll sleep on it. I really don’t want to make any decisions right now, I’m too emotional.” I said.
I didn’t read it.
With that I walked out of his office and into the private salon break area.
In there, I cried.
For two hours.
Halfway through my tear fest Bimbo walked in. He handed me my copy of the write up and walked away without a word.
I documented the entire thing.
The next day, with my journal in hand, I went to human resources. I explained the what had happened. They listened though they didn’t really care. I was told I would be scheduled a meeting the with Adam and could talk to him about it.
I asked for the meeting right away. They said they would try but it would probably take a few weeks.
As the days went by, the problems with the front didn’t get any better. I just stopped complaining. Also, I started thinking. If I could get written up once for something that didn’t happen, Hooker could say whatever she wanted and get me written up again. Three write ups equal automatic termination.
In fear for my job I started weighing my options.
Why was I working there to begin with?
I need medical benefits for my kids. I lost those over a year ago when they cut my hours. Why not just work for a salon if I don’t have benefits anyway.
My home life is majorly stressed because of my work hours. My kids get out of daycare an hour before I get off work. My grandparents have to pick them up and they can’t handle watching them.
The distance is a pain in the ass. I’m an hour away with traffic, I fill my gas tank up twice a week. The salon, however, is just down the street from my house.
I hate the baby-shit green, ployseter uniform. I could wear whatever I wanted in the salon.
My regular clients hate going to the spa. They ask me on an on-going basis when I’ll be back working in a salon.
So, I did what any person would do after a long, rational train of thought.
I called up my old salon boss and asked for my job back.
“Hey Chip! This is *****, I heard you had a station available. I was wondering if I could apply for the position.”
“Hey, sweetie! You don’t need to fill out an application. I already know what you can do. Come down and talk to me on Tuesday,” Chip said.
“Thanks! I’ll see you then,” I replied.
That Tuesday, I met with Chip. I explained to him the situation. We decided I should start after the holidays,for the new year. A fresh start, plus it would give the spa a month to replace me. Double the usual two week notice.
I gave my notice to Bimbo that next day. I decided to take the high road. I told him I was given an oppertunity I couldn’t pass up.
A week later I was finally scheduled that interview with Adam. Bimbo informed me that he would be joining us. In fear of being bullied by both of them, plus, already having decided not to continue my employment with the spa, I cancelled it.
The next day Bimbo had a meeting of his own, with the entire spa, on harassment.
My last few weeks were unconfortable to say the least. Bimbo ignored me and Hooker was “fake nice”. They were both glad to see me go.
I called my salon boss one last time to confirm my start date. I was starting to get excited.
After my last day of work passed, I took my uniforms in and dropped them off. I returned my parking pass and I had my exit interview. I left without burning bridges. I kept my head high. Lastly, I walked into the spa to collect my belongings.
Bimbo ignored me.
It was New Years Eve. I was to begin my job back at my old salon a few days later.
I couldnt wait.
My phone rang.
It was Chip.
“Listen *****, I have been thinking it over and it’s just too slow to hire someone on right now.”
What the fuck?!?!?!?!?!
“But I quit my job!” It was all I could muster out.
“Weren’t you gonna quit anyway?” Chip asked me.
“Not until I found another job! I have kids and..”
“Well, sorry. It’s slow. I just don’t think you would be happy here.” Chip finished.
That was it.
I am now unemployed.
I still haven’t read that write up.
I know what you are thinking,. I should start calling all the salons and spas in town, right?
I am laughing at the irony.
I already did that.
All year long.
I have been on over 30 interviews already. There is nothing out there in my line of work right now.
Though, that’s another story.
This must be a sign.
I would never leave a job without something else lined up first. It’s meant to be. I keep telling you I’m destined for Super Stardom! When will you start believing me?
It’s go time. There are no bounds in what I’m willing to do with my creativity. For my art.
Watch, a year from now I will be all over magazines, TV and the internet.
Just watch me.
UPDATE: I found out in February of 2013 that the salon in spa I resigned from was shutting it’s doors.