How to screw yourself out of a tip

My good friend Lori and I have been on the hunt for somewhere to get a decent pedicure at a decent price. Somewhere where they speak english and don't get carried away with shaving the callouses off my feet so that the skin on my heels is comparable to parchment paper making it painful to actually walk, and causing them to crack and bleed so that I limp for the next two months until they repair themselves....

We found somewhere that looked like it had potential and I tried it out yesterday.

When I walked through the doors the receptionist eagerly asked, "Are you Tarable?!"

They were expecting me, good.

But then for the next 5 minutes no less than 5 different people came out from "the back" to look at me and ask the receptionist something in Punjabi and then look at me again and say, "someone will be right with you."

I sat in the waiting area for 5 or 10 minutes while I watched some fat kid eating an ice cream cone wander the hallways of the spa. No idea why he was there but I was fairly certain it wasn't for a pedicure. (Maybe it was for the body slimming wrap?)

Eventually my girl came out and claimed me and brought me back to the room where I would get my pedicure. (I had to dodge the ice cream cone kid on my way down the narrow hallway.)

No sooner had I sat in the vibrating "massage" chair did the chatter start. At first it was about my feet: "When was your last pedicure? Do you get them done very often? Do you ever put cream on them? Do you want the pink base coat - it's really pretty?!"

Then she launched into a lecture about what terrible shape my feet are in, how I don't take very good care of them and how feet are a very important part of your body and I must take better care of them.

I was suddenly having a flashback of my last visit at the dentist when I foolishly admitted to not flossing as often as I should...

She somehow cleverly talked me into getting a more expensive pedicure than the one I had booked - because if I did not get the more intense, more costly pedicure, apparently my feet would rot and fall off... or something like that.

I am a sucker.

Once she started actually working on my pedicure I figured the chatter would stop and I could relax. Not so. She started rapid firing questions at me: Are you married? Do you have kids? How old is the baby? Is it your first? What's the baby's name? That's a strange name for a white person, Ruby is usually an East Indian name. Where is the baby now? Are you breastfeeding? How will the baby get fed while you are here getting a pedicure?

And finally, the big tip reducer: Did you gain the weight after the baby or during your pregnancy?

Uh... Pardon moi?

I'm not sure if that was exactly what she was trying to say - I think she meant "Did you get fat while you were pregnant or were you already fat before??" Either way, I would think that any questions about weight should probably be avoided when you are in the profession of trying to make people feel good.

And because I was at a loss for words, I told her that yes I had gained some weight during my pregnancy.

She advised that I continue breastfeeding then, because that would help my weight come off. Oh, and that she knows this because both her parents are doctors in India and she used to hang around their offices quite a bit so she knows a lot of stuff.


Thanks for the advice, honey - and for saving me from feeling guilty about leaving you a shitty tip.

An hour and a half later when I was finally freed from my pedicure chamber, I walked to the front desk to pay. The fat kid and his ice cream cone were long gone but there were 3 or 4 staff members lounging around the reception area. They looked at my toes and started congratulating my girl on what a "good job" she did on them! "Wow. That's really good." Somehow it felt like they were telling a 4 year old that she did a really good job coloring inside the lines! (Even though she didn't).

The final cost of the pedicure was exuberant. For that price I expect to be served a glass of *wine with my pedicure, and I would expect that nobody takes shots at my weight. At half that price you can tell me I need to lose weight all you like but once we're into this price range, the pedicurist should only speak when spoken to.

And the kicker? 6 hours later when I sat cross legged, my french pedicure smudged... because the shit wasn't dry yet!! SIX HOURS LATER! I was so disappointed I wanted to puke.

And so the search continues. Lori, we must keep looking for that magical place where service is good and the price is decent, and where they don't tell you you're fat.

*Where the hell ARE those spas that serve wine anyways? Do I have to know a secret password when they offer me tea, coffee or cranberry juice? Should I wink and say I'd like some "grape juice" when they offer me a beverage? How does that work anyways?