Finance: Becoming Internationally Aware

As I write, I really miss the convenience of frequenting my local nail shop & having my nail technician back home do my nails [see below].

So being new and excited about New York, sometime ago I decided to get my nails done. I went into the shop, which looked really nice and made my enquiries. As there was a long wait I decided that it would better that I get my nails done the following day.

The next day came, I walked into the shop smiling and left annoyed! In America you must learn that tax isn’t included in the price you see and there’s this notion that one must pay a gratuity tip of 15% – 20% of the price.

Let’s do some maths:

If my nails, according to the leaflet, cost $40.00, tax was $2.00 and tip was $6.10, how much money did @OlayideM regrettably depart with?

Now this is what happened:

So I greeted my technician, sat down and presented my DIY nails – this is when I should have been bold enough to tell her that I didn’t want her to use the drill nail file on my nails…moving on. After a few clippings of my cuticles [necessary] and my skin [unnecessary – ouch!], followed by a wipe down with alcohol [OUCH!] I started to re-evaluate my life very seriously and how much money I’ll have to depart with – at this time I still thought I’d be paying $40.00.

So prior to her painting my nails with my desired colour [can’t remember the colour, but it was by Essie] I took out my purse to give her a tip of $3.00…you may think why did I tip her after she clipped my skin, well according to my “Welcome to New York” orientation, you always tip!

Apparently my $3.00 tip was insulting, how was I to know? With hindsight, I did notice that she didn’t take time with my nails, she didn’t put a top coat and rushed me to the nail dryer. So believing that I did the right American thing, and believing that $3.00 was extremely generous, I sat and let my nails dry, oblivious to what would happen next.

I was leaving, when “Lady Manager”, who had been standing by the till giggling, quickly approached me with a whisper to ask if something was wrong with the service provided. I stared at her perplexed, then responded “yeah, she clipped my skin with the nail file.” Then I asked, “What’s this about, the tip?” – she said yeah and took it as an opportunity to take out her calculator and tell me the mathematical equation as to how much tip I owed. I was sooooooo annoyed! So annoyed, that I paid her the extra $3.10 tip! My theory was – I’m never coming here again so enjoy my $6.10 + $2.00 & $40.00, because I will not be coming back here again.

Of course I regretted even giving a tip in the first place. A tip is something you give as a reward/in gratitude for an amazing and exceptional service someone has given…nothing about my experience was amazing and exceptional.

Truth be told – I’ve learnt my lesson.

For a while after getting my nails done I still had my acrylic overlays, and was adamant that I will not pay to have them soaked off. So I filed, trimmed and painted my nails myself until my acrylics disappeared. I mean, I had been getting my nails done back home, every two weeks for almost a year, and not knowing how to handle them myself is just not on.

DIY Nail Art

Needless to say, my nails look amazing now and I’m more “culturally”/internationally aware, and will make an effort of understanding “common practice” in different countries when I travel. It’s important to know these things out of respect and to avoid any embarrassment.

I’m still learning and so is my money, but I’m loving the experience.

Signed [a more internationally aware] @OlayideM.


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