Last night, I was at a very swanky West Village hot spot for dinner. We ordered our drinks, looked over the menu and made our decisions. When the waiter came back to take our order, he went over the special additions and highlights to the menu. After each one, he would state the price “…the porterhouse for two at $138,” etc. I started feeling a little self conscious…did he think because I was in jeans and a t-shirt I couldn’t afford the prices?
Today, I had a guest in the salon that had a very specific request : she wanted to cover her gray and neutralize some of the red that had been exposed since her last color. I was more than happy to oblige. She mentioned her hair felt dry during our consultation, and I recommended a treatment. I also said that many times after a gloss, the hair looks shinier and feels softer. I suggested we decide about the treatment after we dried a bit of her hair to check the color and texture.
After the color was finished and the front panel was dry (and looking spectacular, I might add) I asked her if she was still interested in a treatment. She asked me how much it would cost. I told her. She then asked how much the rest of the service was going to cost. I told her. She decided not to get the treatment.
When she was checking out at the front desk I went to say good bye and tell her how pretty she looked and she LET ME HAVE IT!!!! She was so offended that I didn’t tell her before we started how much her color was going to cost. She also added (condescendingly) that she had “been to the best colorists in the world that didn’t charge as much,” and that she didn’t think it should cost what I was charging.
As a general rule, I never talk about money unless someone asks. I don’t walk into an expensive boutique, pick up a pair of shoes and then yell at the guy at the counter because the price surprises me. If the price matters, I have always looked or asked first.
I put the question up on Facebook and Twitter and asked my friends and followers what they thought. “Whose responsibility do you think it is to bring up the cost of a service – the person getting it or giving it?” The results were overwhelmingly….equal. Half thought it was the provider’s responsibility and half thought it was the receiver’s responsibility.
What do you think? LMK – Jason