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I spent about 3 hours this evening at a beauty spa. I was hor d’ouvered, champaigned, pedicured, manicured, massaged, aroma therapied and cosmetically enhanced — and it didn’t cost a dime.

Open house at the beauty spa: held so the “have nots” can get a glimpse into the world of the “haves.”

I don’t know if it is my backwoods Idaho upbringing, my teacher’s salary, just plain common sense, or just plain jealousy, but I walked out of that place wondering why folks are willing to pay big buck$ for some of that stuff. With the exception of the massages, the greatest difference I saw between the services at the beauty spa and the services at my regular beauty salon were the prices.

A $55.00 manicure doesn’t last any longer than a $25.00 manicure. A $60.00 pedicure doesn’t last any longer than a $30.00 pedicure. An $80.00 dollar haircut needs to be trimmed in the same amount of time a $30.00 cut needs trimming — and it doesn’t look any different, either. So what’s the big deal?

Somebody who finds it necessary to say, “I just paid $80.00 for this haircut,” doesn’t make me think, “Damn, you’re lucky.” They make me think I wish I’d have seen them coming when they still had some of that money.

Granted, champaigne and the salmon mousse can’t be found in my low rate beauty shop, but when I want champaigne and salmon mousse I generally go to a restaurant, not to a place where loose bits of hair hoover in the air.

I am glad I made my visit to the beauty spa. Now I know what I’m not missing … though I really did enjoy that massage.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. You think like I do.

    I recently went and had my hair cut and colored on my lunch hour. When I came back to work, everyone said my hair looked really good, even our new co-worker. She then told us how much it costs when she her hair down (She a one up kind of person.) She pays $160 for a cut and color and that’s with a discount from her friend. She asked how much I paid, which was $60.

    I am not impressed when people pay too much. I don’t pay for names, either.

  2. Quilly those people who have to brag about how much they paid for something must be really insecure, I would never pay 80 bucks for a haircut..or even 60, thats just rediculous. Im glad you enjoyed the massage…Ive never had one…I dont think I could relax,

  3. Well I have moved too far away from my hairdresser of 14 years to be able to go back and get a haircut. She always charged me $34.95 for a shampoo cut and blowdry – do you think adding a couple of hundred dollars in air fares in order to go and see her would be terrible? πŸ˜‰ Because I have tried hairdressers here and the haircuts are terrible, plus I feel like I’m cheating on my old hairdresser. We were monogamous for a long time.. hehe

    I have those papaya and mango air fresheners, they do smell fantastic.. no wonder the kids got hungry.. πŸ˜‰

    I’m just trying to visit as many of the NaBloPoMo blogs as I can and I thought I’d say hi, I liked your blog.. πŸ™‚ I’m bookmarking you and I’ll be back.. πŸ˜‰

  4. I have only had about 3 pedicures in my life and I had to quit… laughing hysterically and almost kicking the poor woman in the face when she tickles you with her touch as you disrupt the entire business is kinda frowned upon I hear! Oh well!

    Quite agree with the prices… I go for quality at a bargain price and I am good at getting things that way and what’s more, I enjoy the hunt! Grrr baby! ;-P

  5. Since I manage money for a living when I’m not writing, I always want to sit these spa owners down and just grill ’em on how they justify their prices. I couldn’t eat anything in a hair salon either…icky.

  6. My local beauty shop is a low-end spa. I pay $10 for a wash and hair cut. If I want my hair styled it’s an extra $2. I have had an $80 hair cut before, was a gift, and hated it. I went the very next month and got my usual $10 cut and love it!

    I think some folks have to pay too much for things to feel good about themselves. Personally, I’d use that extra money to buy more yarn to knit with, but that’s just me.

  7. The good part about going to a beauty spar is that you get to hang out with all the other “un-tied-purse-string” people.
    I never had a massage, except free ones…never had a manicure, pedicure (I don´t even know which one is which!) and my sister cuts my hair. I am as refined as they come πŸ™‚ and I love it!

  8. The casino/resort where I work has a very fancy and expensive spa. People talk about saving their pennies for months to go there. I’m with you on this one… I’d probably be very disappointed with myself for spending so much on so little when it was all said and done. I just don’t get it.

  9. Quilly-Sister, I guess the money thing is all relative. Ironic, too, Caryl just spent the day out doing all the things you did. I don’t care for massages – I’m with Catch – can’t relax with strange hands on me!

  10. I did do the same ….Only thing is…… did cost me!! $200.00 !! eeek! and that was going to your basic run of the mill place BUT the massage was 60 min. and they are running a special so I got 3 for $100. The pedicure and manicure were both an hour long with 2 hot wax dippings, multiple sandings and a full set of ‘fake’ nails. No hair cut, just wash and comb out. I got there at 10 am broke for a half hour lunch at 1 (we went next door to the Mexican restaraunt for Taco salad) and got out of there at 4:15. I did feel pampered (I like massage) but am with the rest of you on the money!! and my looks were not significantly improved!! and how many of us really want to spend one entire day of our lives in a beauty shop!! (and I have 2 more times to go!!) oh well, at least the massages are paid for!

  11. the price of something has nothing to do with the quality of the service. i love where i go and last night i took my eldest who just turn 16 there to get a haircut with wash and style. it’s a spa/salon in the mall and it cost me only $5 more than at the FirstChoice Haircutters and they did an awesome was $22 total and i was so happy to see him so pampered and feeling so grown up you know..

    he looks cute btw, a girl his age in the next chair heard all of us yacking away and she stepped in looked him straight in the eye and told him, his hair looked good…he went red as a tomatoe i tell you..ahhh..

    i’m happy you get great service where you are happy. that is the most important thing.

    (thank you for what you said..i was happy to be able to do the marathon too..XO)

  12. This does remind of a story, though. In or around ’95 I was seeing a young lady who paid $50 for her haircut. I almost choked. Her rhetorical plan was to point out that a haircut is something you wear every day where articles of clothing were worn maybe once a week. She asked me “Would you pay $50 for a nice shirt?” and I answered “Aw, hell no!” and the date was officially over.

    Of course, I’d also shown up early to pick her up in my Mercury Zephyr with the broken muffler to take her to a baseball game so I can’t be sure where things went wrong exactly.

  13. You think like I do. I just don’t see the sense of spending a lot when less will do just as well. Another thing I don’t get is these women who think they can never have enough pairs of shoes- after all, you can only wear one pair at a time.

  14. Nessa — I buy the $7.00 box at Wal-Mart and color my own hair. And I’ve occassionally been known to buy the $3.00 box. Scandalous, aren’t I?

    Catch — I wholly agree.

    Snoskred — I too had a hairdresser I was faithful to for years, then I moved here. In the past ten years she has only traveled here once to cut my hair. How selfish is that?

    Miz B. — somehow I am not surprised to learn you are ticklish — it’s all that giggling, you know.

    Kat — I heard the fellow say last night that all of his “people” had full medical, health, dental and life insurance. I did kind of like that.

    Jan — Vegas doesn’t have much of “low-end” anything anymore, except public employee pay scales ….

    Minka — those “loose purse string” folk and I have such different values hanging with them is more baffling than fun.

    Rob — there’s another reason you need a new job ….

    Jackie — the message is the only thing I thought worth the price! It was glorious!

    Caryl — read Jackie’s comment. I’ll come and have one of those massages! Argh! Why did I have to misspell in Jackie’s comment? You know she thinks I’m the most spelling challenged teacher in the world.

    Chana — I do love to be waited on, and I’m not cheap about paying or tipping, but you are right, the quality of the service doesn’t always correlate with the price.

    Doug — quit banging your head against brick walls and the callous’s will fade on their own.

    As to your second comment: apparently the young lady knew everything about expensive and nothing about quality.

  15. Cindy — uhm, shoes …. well, uhm, yeah. One pair at a time. One pair with my brown outfit. One pair with my pink outfit. One pair with my black outfit. One pair with …..

  16. Quilly: I understand. I did too until recently when I found a place that will do it all for on my lunch hour. And I let the color grow out for so long that by the time I get it colored again the price is about the same as three boxes.

  17. I am with you on this one! I have a hard time just going in for a reg. haircut because I do not work outside the home and cannot justify it. (It is only $25 for haircut and eyebrow wax because I cannot see well enough to pluck my own brows). So I go twice a year.

    Eatiing at the spa would not sit well with me….

  18. Nessa — the salons always make my head spin with everything they have to offer. The box is pretty straight forward and has no hidden costs.

    Lori — you shouldn’t have to justify looking nice just because you don’t work outside the home. You are vital to your family and what you provide is worth more than any paycheck could cover.

  19. There really ARE people insecure enough or shallow enough to value something just because of the price tag that is on it. I don’t think there are as many of them around as there used to be, though. At least I hope not.

  20. I don’t value my haircuts for the price tag, but I will pay whatever it takes to have a good haircut. There IS a difference in the artists…and it makes sense for me. I’ll splurge on hair, jeans, shoes and bras. The rest can come from garage sales for all I care.

  21. I am happy you had the opportunity to pamper yourself. Hmm sounds good to me, I don’t see any give-aways in my neck of the woods! Price is something that if you can afford it, it shouldn’t be mentioned at all. Perhaps that is why I cannot quote or speak of such lovely extravagances. LOL

  22. My haircut was just raised to $8.oo. I hate to think of what it will cost in the city when we move. Small towns have some advantages. I could go back to having Betty cut it. We did that for years. She has a bowl and the clippers.

  23. I know I’m late to the party here but was doing some catching up,

    I had a boss once who used to rant about how he hated the ad concept, “buy here and save money!” You can’t save money by spending it, he used to say– his partner was a chronic shopper, much to his chagrin.

    We built a screen print shop together and this guy was the master of recycled building materials, auctions and the like. He’d see someone in a new Beamer when we’d be driving around in his old pickup truck getting stuff for the shop and he’d say, “I could get a loan, too!” He was a bit of a bastard but he did teach me some good things about money.

    The only time I get to be pampered is when I work for the Saudis and get to fly business class. The chairs go completely flat and turn into beds. they give you hors d oveurs and whatever you want to drink. It’s great since it takes 30 hours of planes trains and autombiles to get there, but if I had to pay the difference between that and economy out of my own pocket? I’d keep the 2 or 3 thousand dollars and get over myself.

  24. Cindra — like you, I don’t mind paying for quality, but the best quality doesn’t always come with the highest price tag.

    Pauline — the massages were a dream. Those I’d go back for.

    Dr. John — you could let it grow and put it in a ponytail!

    Charlie — Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in everyway. I can’t wait to look in the mirror, I get better looking each day. To know me is to love me….

    Tom — Wherever you go you take your own party. Even when you’re riding in coach, you’re always first class!

  25. LOL! Yea? I’ve never gone for the “whole spa” experience! I HAVE made my OWN whole spa experience — by doing like you say — I’ll have my hair done in the morning at Hair Cuttery — and the my nails done at my local nail salon — and then the massage in the afternoon – so that by the time I’m done I’m feeling TOTALLY pampered! But it only costs me MAYBE 1/3 of what the whole spa experience costs! And sometimes not even that! I can also stop and get myself a Starbucks along the way… I’m not much into salmon mouse — not caviar either — so the spa food is usually lost on me. And I really don’t want champagne except on New Years Eve! LOL! GOOD that you tried it though! Like ya say — now you know!

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