Hello again, friends and fellow Rock-A-Holics! Today’s edition of Group Therapy is all about one woman’s quest to be rubbed the right way!
(Get your minds out of the gutters. We’re not talking about what you’re thinking about.)
Heather celebrated her birthday recently (Happy Birthday, Heather!) by treating herself to a two-hour massage at a fancy spa. What a perfect way to relax and forget your problems, right?
Heather says that her female masseuse went on and on about her personal problems, including detailed accounts of financial strains and her husband’s medical issues. Not surprisingly, Heather’s experience was depressing instead of relaxing. The whole massage was unpleasant and awkward, and Heather ultimately feels like her entire birthday was ruined.
Rather than make the situation worse, Heather opted to keep her complaints to herself, but she did leave a much lower tip than she would have otherwise.
Looking back on her experience, Heather is still annoyed. Was the woman trying to give her a sob story in the hope of getting a big tip? Or did she simply not understand the concept of keeping her problems to herself when she’s massaging a customer?
Heather wonders if she should complain to the spa management, and ask to have the cost of her massage refunded. She sincerely feels like this inconsiderate woman ruined her birthday.
This may come as a real shock to you folks, but I’m a little bit socially awkward.
When it comes to a situation like this, I have a hard time knowing how to react. I have had massages that I didn’t enjoy -- more than a few, in fact -- but I struggle when it comes to complaining about bad service. This extends from massage therapists, to waiters, to bank tellers. If someone is doing something for me in a service-based setting, I am always afraid of rocking the boat and coming off like a total jerk.
In the case of my bad massage experience, I eventually just switched to a new massage therapist; that should tell you something about how I handle these awkward encounters. Ultimately, I have to agree that the best solution for a problem like this would be for the customer to stop the massage as soon as it becomes annoying…but I’m still not sure I could do it.
Does Heather still have the right to request a refund, even though she didn’t try to correct the problem while it was happening? How would you handle the situation? Let’s hear your thoughts, Rock-A-Holics!
I work for a massage studio and she has all the right to ask for the money back or ask for another massage with another therapist. At the studio i work at its all about the costumer if the costumer is not happy neither are we. We always ask them if there is something we could improve on so they get a chance to let us know if they weren't happy with something. I think the owner or manager of were ever she went should know what happened so the therapist can shut up next time shes working with a client. Its all about being relaxed and enjoying the massage.
A lesson in Speaking Up
I've been a massage therapist and massage instructor since 1997- so my first thought is this--- that massage therapist should hot have been rambling on about her issues. There are times I have found that talking WITH clients helps them to relax because the client is uncomfortable with silence. But that is different than bitching about one's life.
As a client, you always have the right to tell the massage therapist you would prefer not to talk during the massage. Something like, "I would like to try to get into a more meditative head space- could we please not talk?" Is the perfect way for a Seattleite to politely tell a mouthy massage therapist to shut up. "Hey, can we not talk, I can't really relax and follow what you are saying at the same time." Also works. A well trained massage therapist knows that talking is a case by case deal with clients. Some like it, some hate it. They also know it is bad form to ramble about their life.
In addition- one of the first things students learn is that touch is a highly personal and subjective experience. If a client doesn't want to come back, it means you aren't a good fit- and it is not personal. If they are offended by you switching to a different therapist the next time you go back to the same spa, they don't belong in the profession.
At this point I would recommend calling the spa and saying something to the manager. Since you didn't speak up at the time, I don't know if you will get very far asking for a refund. However- the feedback is invaluable. That therapist needs to hear that his or her actions is negatively impacting her career and the spa manager needs to understand how this therapist is negatively affecting her clients. Any spa manager worth his or her salt will go out of their way to make this up to you which may include a refund or free services.
RE: Ask for money back or another massage
Do you think though she should have said something right off the bat or at this point would it look like she's trying to scam a free massage? -