I ALWAYS write about the positive side of my subjects. There is already a lot of negativism in the world; I didn't want to add to it by badmouthing a person, a place, or an establishment in this column. But that doesn't

mean I don't have my own share of undesirable experiences. I do, and some of them happen in salons.

Their salon, their home

I went to this popular salon chain inside a big mall in Bajada for a manicure and pedicure during the holidays. The place was almost full, but that didn't stop the staff from alternately arguing and laughing loudly about

their upcoming Christmas party.

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It was bad enough I had to part with my hard earned money for something non-essential and expensive as a manicure, but to listen to the salon staff go on and on without regard to their clients was just too much. I felt

like I had walked into a noisy and busy home kitchen where everyone was talking loudly at the same time, or a war room where everyone was, well, talking loudly at the same time.

Like the other customers, I had expected to lounge on my seat to relax and enjoy some "me" time while having my hands and feet pampered. Alas, in that salon, it wasn't meant to happen.

Salon sales pitch

Have you ever felt like you just wanted the hairstylist to focus working on your crowning glory, instead of trying to convince you to buy their hair products they say are guaranteed to solve your hair problems? I do!

I already turned down the cellophane, the rebond, and hot oil treatment the hairstylist wanted me to have. But no, he's not done yet.

He continued to extol the benefits of their hair products, and when I politely asked how much (come on, he had the scissors and my hair in his hands! I didn't want to cross him!), his answer gave me a vision of my

wallet so empty; it would fit in my jeans back pocket without the slightest bulge.

When can I have a trim without having to dodge the sales pitch of the hairstylists? They are everywhere, so I won't even bother mentioning which salon has them.

The price is not right

This is the same salon chain first mentioned above, but another branch located in a different mall in the south. It was the shortest salon visit I ever had -- less than three minutes.

How much is your rebond, I asked the lady at the counter. She could already see my hair was midway my back, and she said it depends on hair length. Well, how much for my hair length, I asked. She sized me up

and said P3,500.

Unless I had money to throw away, I wasn't inclined to spend that much for a hair job. But the budget was a Christmas gift from my husband, and so I stood there for a few seconds contemplating whether to have the

job done there or check out other salons.

The woman I was talking to called one of their hairstylists, and he sauntered over to us, casting a critical eye on my disheveled mane. I asked him how much their rebond was, and without batting an eye, he said

P4,500. Uhm, but the woman said it was just P3,500. They exchanged looks, and she hastened to say that the P4,500 was for the special rebond procedure.

I had the crazy feeling they thought of me as dense, so I said thank you and walked out their door.

For regulars only

It wasn't the first time I had the urge to walk out of this same salon. When I walk in and see several pairs of eyes sizing me up, it makes me feel I'm not good enough for them.

When a matronly woman came in, looking expensive in her sparkling jewelry and foreign-branded leather bag, the very same salon staff was quick to chime their greetings and gave her preferential attention.

She was obviously a regular, and I guess that's why she gets the red carpet treatment. I guess someone like me who rarely visits a salon is not that important, even though I would pay the same price as their regular

clients.

Makes me think, maybe in this salon, new customers are not welcome. Oh well, we can always move on to another salon.

Sanitation woes

There's a parlor on Ilustre st. that takes the cherry among my salon woes. As the woman was preparing her equipment for my foot spa, I casually asked if they clean their equipment regularly, and I meant after each

use. She said yes matter-of-factly. We clean them every morning before we open, she said.

I was still for a moment, dreading to ask the obvious. But what about after every use, I asked slowly. She looked up at me while prepping my feet for the foot spa, and smiled but did not reply. On second thought, I'll

just have a pedicure, I told her.

My toes curled at the thought of using equipment not sterilized for my use. I sat there quietly squirming in my seat, and in my mind, I let go of a long and silent eeeewwwww...