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Walking back into the Enemy Camp

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You may remember my blogs before Christmas (Fat Prejudice... and the follow-ups) about my bad experience at the salon I have been patronizing for over a decade. Today was my first day back. As you may recall (read), the manager did follow up with an apology weeks after the event and we had a chance to talk about how she "values" her customers and how devalued I felt that day in December.

I was actually DREADING going back today. I love my stylist. That's never been the problem. It was everything else. I felt like I was back in high school and my mother was making me go back the next day after being bullied the day before. It felt like I was walking into the enemy camp.

Wouldn't you know it... that same receptionist was on duty. She at least smiled this time. I told her my name and she said I will tell them you are here. Nothing negative, nothing particularly positive. I went to hang up my coat and when I came back my stylist was waiting with a bouquet of pink flowers (my favorite color).

She took me by the hand and said "Thanks for giving us a second chance." then said the flowers were for a "new beginning". She did the whole appointment. Always before an associate would help out and I always had to retrain them to be gentle (I have degenerative disk disease in my neck). My stylist assured me only she would do my hair from now on.

The color and cut were great as always and while I was processing she took me to the manicurist for a "free manicure". The girl was very sweet and did a good job. When I was finished the stylist sat and chatted with me until the 45 mintues of processing were done. I didn't have to sit and wait while she squeezed in a customer nor endure being shampooed and styled by someone unfamiliar with my wants.

As I left the salon owner came out to personally thank me for giving them another chance and gave me a hug.

The moral of this story is this: Every person has value (no matter their gender, size, race, belief, age, economic station in life). If you are in business be sure you treat each customer as well as the last. Also remember that you as an employee are the face of your company to that one customer. Had I said nothing I would be at a new salon today and they would not have learned a thing. But because I took the time to write a thoughtful letter to the owner things have changed.

I do not expect flowers and manicures the next time I go back. That was a peace offering. I DO expect courtesy, full value for my money spent and to be appreciated for my decades of loyal service.

This story is one with a happy ending for both business and customer. I hope that if you encounter prejudice in ANY form that you too will gently inform those in authority so they can learn as well. It is only from ignorance that we judge in this fashion. If a blind man was drowning in a sea - would he ask the hand reaching out to him if he was fat or thin? rich or poor? Well you get my point!

At this time of year when hearts abound let us LOVE one another!

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