Thursday, June 12, 2014

So, I purchased one of those online spa deals...

While I was researching for my article on how to deal with busainess competition who sell ridiculously cheap beauty services, I attempted to put myself into the shoes of the businesses owners who actually do this.

Common sense tells me that offering a dramatically discounted service will affect the business negatively somewhere along the line. It just makes no sence how a business that is practically giving away treatments survives in the long-term. I thought, surely they must be cutting corners somewhere. So when I booked for a 90 minute spa package for $35, I wasn't expecting the quality to be fantastic, I was prepared for the average treatment, hoping even to be pleasantly surprised, but I certainly wasn't expecting this!

The advertising displayed fake photoshop images of a beautiful model relaxing, while being massaged in a beautiful spa environment, candles, flowers, we've all seen these ads. Unfortunately the reality was a huge disappointment.

Looking for the address, I walked by it several times before I found it. It ended up being at the back of a dingy, sad looking old arcade and I was a little nervous going in. When I found it, the small salon looked very tired and cheaply set up. It was nothing like the photos on the advertisement. Ordinarily, I would have turned around and cancelled my appointment and demanded a refund. But, I wanted to see for myself how these businesses work, as I've never bought a cheap deal before.

The therapist was polite enough, but certainly not warm and welcoming. My package consisted of a 1/2 hour massage, 1 hour facial and an eye treatment. As she took me to the cubicle, and I saw the state of it, I decided I did not want the massage and told her that as I didn't have the time, I'll just have the facial and eye treatment.

The rooms were separated by curtains hung on rods. They were fraying and dirty and looked very old. On the bed, there was a towel at the head that used to be white once upon a time. Now it was a dirty, greying colour with many stains. It looked like it was never washed. It was really disgusting. On the wall were hung 3 dirty, stained gowns, and my therapist asked me to put one on.

The facial was just awful. This person was clearly not qualified, or if she was, she was very poorly trained. There was no consultation whatsoever. She just went straight into it. The products she used were clearly cheap cosmetics you typically see at the bargain shops. Everything smelled of synthetic rose fragrance, like the cheap hand wash. Everything she put on my face stung and burned.

When she cleansed my face, she was rough and messy, I had stuff get in my eyes, mouth and ears. It really was not pleasant at all. After cleansing she put on a cream and informed me that 'it will clear out the pores, and needs to stay on for 10 minutes'. I assume it was some kind of enzyme exfoliant as I don't tolerate enzyme peels well. It was burning uncomfortably and when I had enough I asked her to remove it. She told me to just bear with it for a few more minutes, that it will be 'good for your skin'.

She then put the steam on for 10 minutes, and before I knew what was happening she started extracting on my nose with one of those metal tools. There was no communication, nothing. The steam was turned off, then I felt this incredible pain on my nose. I practically jumped off the bed and told her to stop. She said 'are you sure? You really have a lot of blackheads and I can clean them out' I said no, it's too painful, I had tears running down my face and asked for a tissue.

The massage, if you call it that, was awful. She wasn't finished torturing me. There was no technique, no grace, no relaxing movements. Some cleansing movements repeated several times on the face, then she started knuckling right over my clavicle bones. It was excruciating! My legs started to tap on the bed from the pain, but she was totally oblivious to it.

She then started knuckling on the back of my shoulders, and I don't know how, but she managed to find my shoulder bones and knuckled right over them, and really put her elbows in this time. By this time I was squirming on the bed, trying to lift my shoulders to ease her pressure, and as I grunted from the pain she said 'hmm you are very hard on the back, you must be very stressed.' Of course it was hard you imbecile, you are knuckling on my bones! I thought. I was about to tell her to stop, but thankfully she perhaps thought that was enough. It was barely a 5 minute massage, but I felt the pain on my bones the next day. For those that know me, I have quite a bit of padding on, but she managed to find my bones anyway.

I was thinking with relief that it's almost over, just the mask to go. So she applied the mask, and an eye mask (which consisted of the entire eye treatment) and some eye pads. She then went out to do a service on another client.

As I'm lying there, my phone buzzed, so I took my eye pads off to have a look who called. As I am about to put the pads back on, I took one look at them and though I would vomit. This is what I had on my eyes. See photo below. The cotton pads were paper thin, stained an ugly brown and looked like they had something furry growing on the edge. This clearly are cotton pads that she has been re-using for only she knows how long. I have never seen anything like it, and not for the first time questioned my wisdom in going ahead with this treatment when I first saw the dirty towels. 

I did not put the pads back on, a waited for her to return to take the mask off  with a towel that was so thin, I felt the holes. I imagined how many people had this towel on their face over the years and if it was ever washed. I really could not wait to get home and jump in the shower and scrub myself clean.

She finished with a cream / sunscreen that burned my face, and this advice: ' for the next 48 hours do not put any chemicals on your face, water only. You can of course use a moisturiser and sunscreens but no chemicals, let your skin breathe.' That was it. My professional skin care advice.

What can I say? It was a shocking experience, and I hope that this was not the norm, that I was just unlucky enough to get the worst of the worst. But then again, people lie there with their eyes closed, so they don't get to see things, and the average consumer perhaps do not know what to expect.

You really do get what you pay for. 

If you have had a similar experience, please let me know by leaving a comment below.

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Enjoy a successful and prosperous day!
Jana x

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