The glamorous life

I came across this article this morning and just had to share:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/27/fashion/27SKIN.html?pagewanted=1&sq=spa&st=cse&scp=1#

Sure, it makes my day to read about cabbies getting 15-minute qi gong treatments between fares (really!?), and I love the name "Ebenezer Eyelash."  But what's really interesting to me about this article is how familiar it feels.  Those of you who have CA clinics will get a chuckle out of it, I think (especially lines like "at Ms. Ranftle’s small fluorescent-lit space in a beauty supply warehouse, treatments are accompanied by a sound-track of wind chimes emanating from a portable CD player that hardly masks the ringing of office phones and thumping music from the clothing store downstairs"). And those of you who might be considering CA clinics but have concerns might see some of them echoed here.  Setting aside for a moment questions of race and nationality and gender that might be fruitfully discussed (e.g. whose bodies are "appropriate" for what kind of labor?), let me just try to tackle some of the class issues here by revisiting myths about what happens when you attempt to provide a service less expensively than other people in your field.  

Let's start with our number one myth about money and value:

If it costs less, people will not value it as highly.  Wrong!  Or at least, not necessarily true, especially in these tough economic times.   One customer in the article says, 'I’m repeatedly disappointed by the fancy spas,' she said. 'Often, I feel like I just spent $300 and I didn’t even like it.'"

People who are used to individualized treatments in single rooms won't want to be treated in rooms with other people.   Wrong again!  The article continues: "...at Sai Kay 21 on Bayard Street in Chinatown, where an hour and a half facial costs $55 — albeit in a room with a couple of other customers — the esthetician, Mandy Wong, said she recently noticed more non-Asian women at the salon.'They come in groups to eat and get a facial,' she said. 'Everything is a little cheaper here. It’s the Chinese style.'"

Here's something that is true: you do not have to take any shit from anybody, no matter how much you charge.  I love the massage therapist who said "just lie down" to the client who was loath to plunk her $2000 bag in a bin with her (probably only $300) shoes. And what happened?  Did the client leave in a huff?--no, she got a great treatment and then apologized for her attitude!  But what if she had left in a huff?  It's nothing to take personally.  Some people are going to care more about their stuff than your feelings; you don't have to work with them. 

One myth that comes up a lot, and isn't directly addressed by this article but is relevant to our discussion is that people will take advantage of you (i.e. they won't pay as much as they can really afford to).  Now, you don't really know what your patients' budgets are; but they might have or do things that trigger your suspicion that they could pay more.  For example, some patients might have Gucci bags, or really nice shoes, or a fancy car, and maybe you're starting to really worry about that sound your 20-year-old Ford's engine is making; others might be hippies with trust funds who don't care about Gucci but glowingly tell you about the month they just spent on the beach in Thailand, and nothing sounds better to you right now than two days on any beach anywhere.  Maybe international travel or designer bags are a higher priority for them at this point in their lives than their health--or maybe their priorities are changing, but they're not about to throw out a bag that they spent that much on (and may still be paying off).  And maybe the bag was a present, or a family heirloom bequeathed by their favorite tacky aunt; maybe the hippie doesn't have a trust fund, but ate beans and rice for a year to save for the trip to Thailand--or maybe a rich friend paid.  Who knows?  Why worry about it?  In any case, the following isnot a myth:

Some people WILL value other things more highly than your services.  It's true!  They might think you're super, and might really want acupuncture, but they want or need other things too.  If it cost them $60, even if they had the money, they just wouldn't come.  If you would rather be puncturing than proud, I encourage you to get over this.  If someone can hang with the shoes-in-bins and old recliners, are polite to me and other patients, and respectful of the space and my time, and they only want to pay $15, I say come on down! The penny-pinching society matron who pays $15 might send her kids' teacher in, and he might pay $25.  Unfair, maybe; but people are weird about money.  I think committing to a Community Acupuncture practice is a great opportunity to learn where your own weirdnesses are - and to be really busy doing acupuncture in the meantime.

This story was posted on November 27 2008 by Nora.

Comments

  • November 27 2008 at 11:22 PM
    andy wegman writes:

    Testify!

    Hallelujah.

      0 likes
  • November 27 2008 at 11:50 PM
    River Jordan writes:

    Chinese style

    Thanks Nora! 

    All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound.&a

      0 likes
  • November 28 2008 at 1:54 PM
    peoples writes:

    getting treated in groups

    we do acupuncture the way it is commonly offered in China…..in groups.  In Thailand, facials and massages are also offered in group treatment rooms. Commonly the massage therapists are chatting with each other as they are putting your leg up past your head, awesome experience.

     And I know this because my trip to Thailand was covered by my father’s frequent flyer miles that he wasn’t able able to use. 

      0 likes
  • November 28 2008 at 7:28 PM
    Guest writes:

    Great article

    and great blog, Nora.  Couldn’t agree with you more!

      0 likes
  • November 28 2008 at 7:34 PM
    tatyana writes:

    thanks nora…

    i am printing this out for my next trip to new york! i want to get my qi gong massage where the cabbies do.

    -tatyana

      0 likes
  • November 29 2008 at 10:17 AM
    1worldacu writes:

    I agree with the woman about the poor quality of fancy…

    tess bois

      0 likes
  • November 29 2008 at 10:33 AM
    Nora writes:

    Thanks for the case in

    Thanks for the case in point!

      0 likes
  • November 29 2008 at 10:34 AM
    Nora writes:

    Hell yes!

    Be sure and report back, eh Tatyana?

      0 likes
  • November 29 2008 at 11:11 AM
    seattle jill writes:

    groups qi

    thanks for this posting. I have a feeling that here in Seattle we are going to be seeing more of this kind of thing very soon.

    There are the Olympus spas near Tacoma and in Lynnwood that used to be relatively cheap. They do have a much more fancy ambience since they did so well in the last few years with their more inexpensive treatments. Now they are not so inexpensive but maybe they will drop their prices again with the ‘new’economy?

     Thanks for sending the article to remind us of what is possible

    Jill

      0 likes
  • November 30 2008 at 8:49 AM
    crismonteiro writes:

    I am curious about the many “faces”

    that acupuncture has taken on in this country.  There was a time when the 

    only place you could get acupuncture was in a back of an herb shop in Chinatown.   Proponents of “professionalizing and legitimizing” acupuncture would be likely to loathe the return to these “back room” practices.  Feeling good and looking good have many connections, another one being that a barbershop and a Madison Avenue Celebrity Salon are not at odds in providing services… they serve different populations.  

    Thanks for the myth reminders… 

    Cris

      0 likes
  • November 30 2008 at 8:47 PM
    SarasotaCA writes:

    People are weird about money…

    Hey NoraThanks for that post…loved it!  You are soo right about people and their money.  And I think what you wrote: “I think committing to a Community Acupuncture practice is a great opportunity to learn where your own weirdnesses are - and to be really busy doing acupuncture in the meantime” this will become my new motto! Hope you are doing well in your new city…

    Take care

    Melonie 

      0 likes

Add your 2 cents!

You must be logged in to comment on the blog.


Who Likes This:

Featured Events

-- placeholder --

Who's been POCAing lately.

  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'New POCA Tech FAQs' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, March 13, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Fatphobia Part 3: Some Thoughts about Diet Culture and Talking to Patients' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, March 13, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'The Acupuncture Profession has 99 problems, but NADA ain’t one of them.' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, March 12, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Two: Trouble' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, March 11, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, March 11, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Stone Soup and Social Containers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 13, 2019
  • Nityamo commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 13, 2019
  • weedyknees commented on the blog post 'Stone Soup and Social Containers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 13, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Stone Soup and Social Containers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 06, 2019
  • swiggs commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, February 05, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, February 04, 2019
  • monkeyacupunk commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 31, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, January 29, 2019
  • Bob W commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 24, 2019
  • Spartacus commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 24, 2019
  • mollyfread commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 24, 2019
  • Bob W commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture: Part Four, Stamina' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • ewolfk commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • NicoleManiez commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, January 22, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 17, 2019
  • swiggs commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 17, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'The Acupuncture Profession has 99 problems, but NADA ain’t one of them.' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 17, 2019
  • Moses.C commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 14, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture: Part Four, Stamina' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 14, 2019
  • teatree commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Sunday, January 13, 2019
  • Presence_CA commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Saturday, January 12, 2019
  • CPMike commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture: Part Four, Stamina' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 10, 2019
  • ChrisRogers commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 10, 2019
  • whitney commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 09, 2019
  • keithananda commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture: Part Four, Stamina' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, January 09, 2019
  • ellengrover commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, January 08, 2019
  • tatyana commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, January 08, 2019
  • Moses.C commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 07, 2019
  • Jess B commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 07, 2019
  • ewolfk commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs (for Acupuncture)' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, January 07, 2019
  • Justine commented on the blog post 'Public Service Announcement: POCA and Ear Acupuncture!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 03, 2019
  • sivesind commented on the blog post 'Public Service Announcement: POCA and Ear Acupuncture!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Sunday, December 30, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, December 28, 2018
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Here's to Open Sourcing: Modern Acupuncture, Part One' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, December 28, 2018
  • keithananda commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, December 27, 2018
  • keithananda commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, December 27, 2018
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, December 26, 2018
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'The Acupuncture Profession has 99 problems, but NADA ain’t one of them.' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, December 25, 2018
  • crismonteiro commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Three: Hope' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, December 25, 2018
  • ewolfk commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Two: Trouble' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, December 24, 2018
  • Spartacus commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Two: Trouble' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Sunday, December 23, 2018