Over the past few years I've been indulging in massages because as I get older I find my body is becoming more stiff and sore. What better way to unwind than someone working away tension from the body. I've tried a few masseuses: some were very good but too chatty and spent the time talking and talking while I wanted to have peace and quiet; others were outright painful, leaving me feeling more sore and stiff than when I'd first arrived.
One lady seemed promising. She had advertised her business in a women's networking group and I'd been on the lookout for a new masseuse. Phoning her I found she charged $90 for a one hour massage which is fairly pricey. She also did not have a claim number so I could not claim the massage as part of my health care. Still, I decided to give her a try.
Upon meeting her one of the first things she said to me was a statement about how my husband and I must have a lot of conflict because men like a feminine woman and I'm not feminine enough. This left me feeling incredulous thinking "Wow, you're going to lead a conversation with an assumption and an insult". I said nothing about her remark, neither confirming nor denying any potential relationship conflict because I wasn't there for that. Instead I talked to her about my requirements, a gentle relaxing massage, making sure to point out I wanted no pain. I got a painful massage. One of those digging into the knots and working them through thoroughly and painfully to the point where other body parts start to get pins and needles. Randomly I thought maybe it just feels painful because I've got so many knots and tension.
When the massage was over the lady spent over an hour (I wish I was kidding) talking to me about her husband's new charity work in an attempt to get me interested in supporting his work. It was like some maddening Seinfeld episode where I'm there trying to cut the conversation short, trying to get a word in that I need to leave, and simply being talked over, and me wondering how I got into this situation, how is this happening and how come she can't see I don't wan to be hearing this? It was so unprofessional!
She sent me a follow up email during the week (using the title to her email "Awesome *insert her name*" which truthfully made me cringe, feeling like it should be about the customer, not her and her debatable awesomeness) asking me how I was feeling. At least that is good customer relations. Again I reiterated wanting a more gentle relaxing massage.
Call me a sucker for punishment but I continued receiving treatments... briefly...
In between my next visit she found out I run the network meeting group she had joined (where she advertised her services) and realised I manufacture and sell my own skin care brand, requesting that I bring some samples and information at my next session.
The next time I saw her she told me she is also a medium and mindset coach and asked me if I'd had any miscarriages because she was sensing a lot of female spirits around me. Again I was speechless thinking how inappropriate that statement is. As a mother of boys how awful would it be to know that any miscarriages I might have had were potentially girls. Again I neither confirmed nor denied the statement, thinking to myself "This lady really needs to learn some tact and she also needs to learn to read body language". Again the massage was painful and I lay there deep breathing, thinking "I've had children, I can do this". She remarked how strong I am compared to her male customers who complain about her rough massages. At the end of the massage while we were going through product samples she talked to me about what physical activities I enjoy doing, I said dancing, and she said I should go out dancing with her. The look on my face must have been interesting because she told me she realises I don't trust her yet. Um, more like we're not friends and I'm there to receive massage treatments, not medium readings, not mindset coaching, not support your partner's business, just massages!
After my third painful massage I reiterated that I wanted a gentle non-painful massages and she said she had been feeling I'd be better suited to that and didn't know why I'd requested a hard massage in the first place. Groan. For a mindset coach she isn't all that good at listening to people. How can you truly help people if you don't listen to them, both verbally and via body language? After my third (painful) massage we talked about her skin care requirements and what product she'd like to purchase. On that occasion I paid $100 and she didn't have change, saying she'd give me the $10 next time.
In the meantime, she came along to one of the network meetings I run to collect her product and meet other women in business. She had told me she would bring the $10 she owed but when she arrived she only had enough money for the product she purchased - so I had to wait longer to receive my change (even though she had my bank details and could have deposited the money). I know it's only $10 but it's the principle of the thing. While at the network meeting she spent a great deal of our time talking about herself and her partner's business and other guests were feeling quite frustrated because she didn't pause for breathe or stop to listen to what other's had to say. We all tried to get her to take a pause, to interrupt her, to have her listen to others... but it seemed she was not overly interested in sitting back, quietly listening to what others had to say or share. In her mind it was (or is) all about her.
She sent follow up corresponded thanking me for inviting her to the network meeting and placing an order for additional products and we bantered back and forth via email. Until I sent an email saying I would not be able to make my next appointment for personal reasons. I sent her details for her order saying she could pay the $10 she owed me via that order. She did not respond.
A day before my next appointment was due she sent a text saying she looked forward to seeing me and I reiterated that, as explained in my email, I couldn't make my appointment. She asked if would like to reschedule and I said I needed to hold off (by now I was starting to feel she's not the right masseuse for me). No response. A few weeks later I sent her a message asking if she still wanted to go ahead with her order and reminding her she still owed me $10. Days later I received a random email saying she was unable to access her emails and would I like to schedule another massage. Nothing about the order she placed (not that I minded by this stage) and nothing about the $10 she owed. Of course I'm wondering how she is emailing me from her email account if she cannot access emails?
I never responded, I never returned to her for a massage and I was never paid my $10 change.
Again another well meaning business woman who is skilled in her profession, and no doubt a friendly, passionate person, yet not quite able to relate to customers - and not quite dedicated to one specific area e.g. is she a masseuse, a medium, a mindset coach or promoter of her husband's work? In this case where she is having face to face conversations and interactions it is not good enough to not listen to what the customer is saying or requesting or look for signs (facial expressions, body language etc.) and see the customer is uncomfortable with her monopolising the situation and making it all about herself instead of the customer. It could have just been me though I did wonder if other customers of hers had had similar experiences and reservations.
Have you had situations where you've felt the person serving you is thinking mostly about themselves and not you? Are you the type of person to be forward and speak up or do you (like so many of us) simply not return?