Nail Shop Etiquette
Before we start, let’s talk about what a nail shop is.
By hood standards a nail shop is a cheap nail salon. The products used are low quality, the service is mediocre and some of them need to brush up on their customer care skills. It’s not hard to be nice, especially when someone is paying you for a service that you may not agree with. The work is usually good enough, they’re often owned and operated by immigrants that don’t speak much English, and for years we’ve had this love/ hate relationship with nail shops. Too many times I’ve asked myself, “why the hell do I even bother with these places”. Because I like having my nails and feet done just as much as the next woman and it’s convenient. In all honestly I’ve tried going to actual nail salons but it seems like the only thing better is the décor. I’ve even tried going to Black-owned nail salons. That’s a different story for a different day. I always find myself back at the nail shop feeling like it’s a chore that’s left me more exhausted than proud of the job done.
As soon as you’re seated get the total price for your service… all of your services if you’re getting multiple services. Not only get the total price by get a breakdown. The total should be the same amount as the breakdown but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t add up. When I ask as soon as I’m seated I’m often ignored. I’m not sure why it happens but it does. I won’t start the service until I have the amounts and I do this because. They’re hustlers and I’m not the one to hustle. A few ways they do this is by increasing the price by a few dollars when it’s time to pay, or sometimes they’ll quote a price and pretend not to know details (like length and shape), or sometimes they go the extra mile during a service and want to be compensated for it. I’ll give you an example. I went in for a fill with medium-length ballerina-shaped nails and was told it would be $17. Right before he started to clean up the shape he told me “are you keeping this shape because it costs more”. A few things; he knew what shape I had, he could not reshape them any other way, and if he could re-shape them it would be more work for him and still the original price he gave.
As soon as you see your service going wrong ask for it to be corrected then just go directly to the manager. Don’t sit there and argue and badger a someone that’s providing you with a service because other people don’t want to hear it.
Control your kids or leave them at home. Here’s the thing, traditionally speaking nail shops are not quiet and relaxing so it really takes a lot to be annoyed with a child while you’re there. But it seems like the ones that do manage to annoy you be the kids that need the most attention.
Take your own polish and topcoat. Not only are the pickings slim, but some are old, and some businesses charge for more expensive brands like OPI, Essie, and Louboutin but you might not be getting OPI, Essie, and Louboutin.
Don’t interrupt the nail tech while someone is being serviced. I’m selfish and that’s my time! If you failed to let your nails dry before slipping on your Old Navy flip flops just wait until there’s a break in my service to have it fixed.
Leave cash tips. I won’t get into the politics about shaddy nail shops and establishments [read this article and this one as well to find out more about that]. But if you’re being serviced at one be sure to directly tip the nail tech in cash.
You get what you pay for so there’s room for error.