We all want to see our nail ladies regularly or at least once a month. But have you ever discussed nail etiquette?
Nail techs respect people of all ages, genders, and colors come into a shop; we should get that kind of respect in return from customers. Isn’t that right? It’s a non-verbal thing. But I’ll be real with you and say that most average customers don’t meet half of the etiquette mentioned here.
I hope these articles will shed some light on you and help you understand more about our jobs and treat us better as a person.
What’s the vibe in the shop? And should you limit your phone time?
Believe it or not, each shop has a different vibe. You can’t go to McDonald’s and order some sushi. And this is why finding “the one” nail salon is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
If the shop you go to has spa-like music, they want to retain the relaxing atmosphere; consider keeping your voice down and reducing your booty call on the phone.
It’s such a turn-off if you try to relax and the next person is yelling about their life on the phone. I wouldn’t say I like it as it also distracts me from my job.
I’m a nail tech, but I take the massage therapist’s role when I do pedicures, which I also enjoy doing.
If you’re alone in the entire room, then it’s okay. I don’t mind one bit. But when there are others, limit your phone time to 5-10 mins. If it’s something rather important, then keep your voice down.
Not to mention, I have to repeat myself many times because they can’t hear me while on the phone. Like duh.
Most people don’t realize they chant, shout, and yell in a shop because they often do it. It becomes a bad habit. But it’s not okay.
On the other hand, if you see lots of people talking in the shop back and forth to one another, you can jump in and join the chat.
Just make sure there’s nothing TMI because it can quickly kill the conversation as some customers don’t feel comfortable discussing all that naughty stuff in public. At least I know I do. I have particular codes for work and play, and I don’t mix them up.
For example, my customer tried to relax, her eyes already closed while I was massaging her calves. And this lady came in started to strike a conversation. Like man, can somebody introduce new friends to this gal right here, please? I don’t know about you, but I’d consider that rated R for Rude.
Regarding the shop vibes, try to keep your voice down if you’re on the phone.
Leave some personal space
Chances you’ll walk into a crowded shop, so your bags, your baby crib, and everything else should be appropriately managed to not cause traffic jams in the shop.
Please don’t take up too much room around you if you can. And if you feel like you run out of space, ask your nail tech, the hostess, or even the shop owner(s) where you should put this or that; they’ll move things around and point you in the right direction.
Nail shops aren’t daycare centers
I think people mistaken us as some daycare and that it’s okay to bring all children into the shop and let the nail techs take care of their kids, so they could get their fingernails done. Lol.
A kid walked out of the shop one time. We were so focused on the details on somebody’s hands/feet; we didn’t know where she went.
Actually, none of us knew, including the mother of the poor child. Yet, she still blamed us for not watching over her kid. Smh.
The theory is that you bring all 5 of your children with you, we suppose to attend to the kids? If not, then the other customers must be helpful too?
But the reality is that nail techs are chasing deadlines because the next customer is sitting right there and waiting for their turn.
If you have a handful of youngsters, consider bringing a few adult friends or family members so they could take turns to watch over the kids. Of course, we will keep an eye on the youngins from time to time, but we can’t be staring at them because we have work to do.
Argh, I like happy endings. The lost child above walked into a restaurant next door. She was so hungry, waiting for her mom. Unfortunately, the front door was wide open at the time, so she walked out without anyone noticing. But yeah, we ain’t a daycare center, fam.
It’s easy to assume that Asians like to haggle, although it’s not true. It’s just a part of our culture when buying or selling because we were at war nonstop for over 1000 years, so negotiating thing A for thing B plus haggling on top of it was a part of our “trading system.”
Bargaining still exists nowadays and is a way to keep the conversations going in markets. Haggling is an actual skill, and there are even advanced tactics and all. Still, it’s more about the joy of the hunt than anything.
In a nail shop, though, you pay for integrity, honest, and decent work. So if it’s cheaper somewhere else, feel free to go.
I know my boss, Tracy, would stop you, but still. Lol.
We don’t receive any benefits from the government, so you’re being in the military or serve as a member of the ABCDEF organization has nothing to do with us. I love you for your outstanding service, but there won’t be any discount, not that I know of.
It’s not okay to bargain in a nail shop for $5 or $10 bucks less. When you reach a new shop, it may cost you $5 for gas and get in a new waiting line. I’m not sure which one is worth it, a few bucks less or pissing off the nail tech?
Remember they’re holding some sharp objects, “accidents” may happen. Lol. JK. But don’t be that insolent person everybody remembers you about.
Clean the parts that are going to receive any service
I think it’s courtesy to do so, but not many perform it.
Some characters don’t wash their tits and bits. Although I’m used to seeing dirty hands/feet every day, I don’t know if they ever take a hard look at their own feet and feel disgusting?
Define the word “technician” for me, please.
When you invite a technician inside your home, he fixes stuff he’s skillful for; he’s not a janitor. So do we. We’re not “maids,” but “technicians.” Some people treat us like cheap maids, though. Lol.
Although the nail industry has evolved, we also included massages, callus removal parts, and whatnot because there’s nothing else to “fix” once you got your nails done. Right? Yet, our job is not including cleaning per se; that is called personal hygiene. That is something you have to do in between trips to your nail salon(s).
I know you come to the shop to get your hands/feet clean and polished, and I promise I’d do a bomb of a job on you. But please clean yourself first.
You don’t need to take a full shower or do anything extra; wash the parts at home before you come. That is all.
It is not difficult, guys. You can start today if you haven’t already. If you come in after work, then shower the previous day.
People have gunk stuck in their feet for months, years, and it becomes a layer of skin that attaches to their body. And they are like, why can’t I clean their feet in one go???
In the back of my head, it was like, hello, why didn’t you wash your feet for the past months/years in the shower? Lol. I can’t remove years of negligence.
Most of the time, it’s not “dead skin” on your feet; they’re gunk from the bacteria, trapped moisture/heat that brewing up inside your shoes. It builds up faster if you wear the same shoes every single day or not washing your feet.
Imagine someone’s nasty, smelly, sweaty feet dangling in front of you for a whole day. Would you like that? If you don’t, then don’t do that to us. Wash it, wash it real good.
I sincerely can’t stress this enough. The regular folks who see me are super polite, and I’m incredibly thankful for that. Amen.
But there’s no other reason for you to be rude to nail techs. There’s just none.
So whatever you’re brewing, or all your emotional baggage has to go. We’re here to provide a service, not be an emotional punching bag (which happens most of the time btw). I can take it like a champ most days, but sometimes I have enough.
We’re to take care of your body; we’re like doctors, nurses, dentists, etc.
Yet, we’re classified as “essential workers” without receiving any benefits from it. It fucking sucks if you ask me.
I have folks give me attitude out of nowhere even before I sit down and give them the service menu. Or snatch tools out of my hands forcefully and try to do it themselves. Like hi, why don’t you do your own nails at home? Lol.
A nail salon is like a beauty hospital to me. However, I receive 2/10 the respect compared to my nurse friends even we’re all be helping people. Also, I work more hours than my nurse friends or have fewer days off, which sucks more 🙁
It makes me tremendously discouraged because I wanted to be a doctor growing up.
I did get into med school but quickly dropped out because I didn’t want to be stuck in a hospital every day. In my defense, I was dating a half Parisian obstetrician at the time. So that didn’t help much. Lol. I didn’t want to end up in the same area as hers.
More or less, I was too flamboyant for that cardiologist work that would have cost 12-14 years in school.
I keep encountering nurses, doctors, and medical field buddies for some strange fate, some of whom I dated. But please, be polite to us. We aren’t your enemies, for crying out loud.
I come to work to empower women, make them look pretty and confident. I want to make a change in your life, one that you don’t think you needed, but you do.
Wanna know what the sad part is? Most of the time, the women talk down on me, talk shit about me in front of me (assuming I don’t understand them), about my work, or how their nails aren’t effing square enough, etc.
You know what? It’s okay. I’d still do my job and the best of my ability. That’s why I’m here.
It took me about a year and a half abusing alcohol and frequent therapy visits to sort that out when I was new to the job. And that I’m not the problem. We often go around and pin the problem on somebody else. It’s an unchecked behavioral issue, guys.
I hope customers are more polite because, if I’m frank, your kids aren’t even doing your shit when you get older. It’s us who will take care of your hands and feet.
Before I even get into this industry, I told my parents that I’d help trim their nails when they’re tired of doing their own or can’t bend over to do that anymore. But what are the chances your adult kids will do this? Feel free to ask all your adult kids and tell me the answer next time you see me. How many yay do you actually get? So the least you can do is being polite to us.
If you’re not happy with a service, don’t be a Karen yet. Lol. Aka, being the type that would be like, “I want to speak to your manager.” “Who is the owner around here?” But, like, damn, calm down. We aren’t here to hurt you, for fuck sake.
I am now refusing bitchy customers, even if I’ve worked on them many times before.
I have this customer, J; I’ve worked on her numerous times, Danny also works on various chapters. Danny is a happy driller. Hence her nails were beaten and thinning; his fill also started to cause nail lifting. Not to his fault, of course, because it looked like it’s been a while since she has a fill.
So I had no choice but to cut her big toenail a lil bit to prevent potential fungal infection, and I got bitched the entire time during the service. Like her nails aren’t square enough like they aren’t ABCDEF. She sat there, huff and puff with an attitude.
Girly, why don’t you come to Danny instead? He worked that same day. It isn’t like you. You’ve never treated me like this before. I was pissed off, but I kept calm and worked through the end.
When she comes around the following weeks looking for me and be sassy with a bit of body-shaking like, “Hey Gio, you wanna do my feet?” I just quoted myself not once but four times, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t,” and legit walked away.
I haven’t touched her or looked at her since. My boss kept making excuses that I have an appointment waiting before her turn while shoving the next customer to me. So J has to go with another tech if Danny is not around, like tell her already that she’ll never receive my service again. Lol.
I’m very friendly, but I do have my limit. So I’m sorry I won’t touch you if you’re not kind to me.
Be on time
If your shop only takes appointments, be there on time or 5-10 minutes early.
If you’re late, it’ll cause a Domino effect, and since nail techs can’t be late for their next customer, you’ll receive a rush service so that they could finish in time.
I love appointment booking because I know which customer I’ll be seeing, and I can take as much time as I want.
Shops that typically take appointments have a system or an app that they do all the work. That way, it’s much easier to schedule you with specific nail techs.
In addition, they know when you come in, and they’d reserve that time slot to cater to you.
It’s tricky for walk-in shops, and they function quite differently. Since I’m working in a shop that mainly does walk-in, booking appointments is not ideal. Not at all, champs.
Do you know why? There is a high chance they’re working on a walk-in customer when you come in for your appointment. It’s a fact. Lol.
9/10 times I don’t even know I have an appointment on that day, on that specific hour. Or they let my customers wait at least half an hour before informing me like WTF.
The bosses did not notify me because there isn’t any system for that.
You’ll be amazed that they have opened the shop over 23 years, yet everything is still manual. Hence every day is as hectic as World War II.
I have two bosses. My boss, Tracy, and her husband, Keith, are scheduling multiple clients for me at the same time. I’m not too fond of that because I feel terrible for my customers.
I have frequently got booked two-three customers at once. They say yes to customers and book separately on their records. You see, that’s the problem.
For early hours, it’s always a hit, but it’s usually a miss for any other time during the day. Unless your nail tech is just not popular, nobody bothers booking them; then they’d be available. The other nail techs are regularly busy.
We take turns, and clients are first come, first serve. So don’t worry that you see somebody get served, and you sit there for a few minutes and get irritated already; it’ll be your turn soon.
Therefore, you can call ahead of time for a walk-in shop to ensure an available nail tech. Request for a time and try to be punctual. We’d rather wait a bit for you to know you’re coming in 10-15 mins, but not more.
I don’t particularly appreciate being rushed, so I’m not fond of how one of the bosses, Tracy, keeps booking appointments and taking walk-ins simultaneously. It adds unnecessary stress and forces us to rush to finish the walk-in customer in time for the appointment one, who may or may not show up.
Since it’s a walk-in shop, you don’t get charged on your card or suffer a cancellation fee. That poses another problem. Therefore, most customers are no show for their appointment or are late here. Lol. It’s sad, but it’s true.
And some of them would still be angry like, “Oh, why don’t you wait for me?” when they are 2 hours late for their appointment. Lol.
Like honey, I know I’m cute, but sorry, I got bills to pay. I can’t be waiting for you for 2 hours because I don’t get paid an hourly salary. Hello?
Our shop is a walk-in shop. Since the pandemic forced us to keep X amount of customers in the shop, we started to book appointments. So, of course, now, with the vaccine pouring in, everything goes back to normal. But it’s still a crappy job when it comes to appointment booking here.
Thank goodness, after only a nagging year, Tracy finally listened to me not to take appointments on the weekends. Huge stress relief for us all and less waiting time for you.
In summary, be on time or a bit early if you’re in an appointment-only shop, call ahead before you drive to a walk-in shop, and don’t make an appointment in a walk-in shop. Then, you can thank me later.
Be vocally clear
It isn’t equal to being rude or loud. But some people aren’t precisely clear about what they want, and it’s difficult for us to please. You’re just silently assuming we can read your mind, but we can’t.
If you’re one of those indecisive folks and change your mind innumerable times, let us know every single one of your decision, no matter how stupid they sound.
Better yet, make bite-size sentences. You may have to repeat yourself a few times if your nail techs can’t listen or speak English. And if it bothers you that much, grab someone else in the shop that can speak Engrish to translate back to your nail tech.
Unfortunately, this is the reality you have to face because Vietnamese dominate most nail shops in the US.
If you change your mind during service, let your nail lady/gentleman know ASAP, don’t wait until they’re finished.
I’d be happy to fix or change to a different color or something when it’s just a few nails in and not when I already finish the job with four coats on all your 10 fingers/feet.
But then, it is brutal because I have to take everything off and reapply all ten nails. So please don’t be that person.
I know some are sadists; they come in and be hostile to nail techs every time because that makes them feel better about themselves. But you are not that kind; I believe in you.
Be communicative about what you want and don’t want.
I’d rather you tell me dozen times than sit in silence, toy with your phone, give me a sharp stare here and there, and be wishy-washy that I’d do what you want. I can’t, honey.
If I can read minds, I wouldn’t be here, would I?