When I was growing up, it would absolutely horrify me that my mother would speak her mind to absolute strangers. If we'd go to a restaurant and the food or service were bad, my mother would graciously SAY something. She'd send the food back and/or ask to speak to a manager, while I'd be crawling under the table out of sheer embarrassment.
If we were out walking and she'd see older kids that were acting poorly, my mother would approach them. Instead of just going about her business and ignoring the bad behavior, my mother would stop and confront them. She'd authoritatively ask, "WHERE DO YOU LIVE?" with the intention of speaking directly to their parents, or gleaning enough information so she'd know where to send the police. It never actually came to that, though, because whomever she'd confront would always be stunned in to politeness and usually wind up sweeping her steps for the next year or more.
If one of my friends called the house and said, "Is Jen there?" My mother would gently say, "Let's try this again. When you call this house, you say, "Hello Mrs. Foley. This is Susie calling. How are you today? May I please speak with Jen?" Then, she'd ask for whomever was calling to repeat it, while I would try to figure out how to save up enough money so I could send MYSELF to boarding school.
Once, when we were staying at an upscale hotel in Boston, my mother saw a cockroach in the bathroom, a moment or two after she found a glob of hair in the sink. So we packed up and left. We hadn't even been in the hotel for an hour, when my mother strode up to the front desk and politely told them our room was filthy and she wanted a full credit.
I've wilted in the background, numerous times, when my mother has marched out of a crowded theatre and asked for her money back because a Star-studded movie was obscene. (Seriously? Top Gun?) And then a few times more than that when mom would ask for a refund for something she didn't like at the grocery store - or a discount on something that was slightly irregular.
I died a million deaths as a child. But then, I grew up and I slowly came to understand why my mother did the things she did. If she didn't demand good service - she very well might not get it. And if nobody takes the time to tell the unsupervised kids down the street that their behavior is unacceptable, they could wind up in jail. Or worse.
Years have passed since those days.
And now, it's my turn to embarrass my children.
Last week, when we were in South Carolina, I decided that all of the kids needed to have their hair cut. And because all of my hair cutting supplies are packed (probably fortuitously so), I went on line and found a children's salon. "Children's" being the operative word, here.
Although there are a lot of places around that could probably cut children's hair ... for less expensively than a "children's salon" ... they typically do not have multiple stylists on staff that can accommodate all of us at once. And because a trip to get our children's hair cut can last an hour or more, I don't mind paying a little extra to a place that is geared towards CHILDREN.
Hence the reason I specifically look for one that markets themselves as such.
Much to my surprise and dismay, when I took the children to what was marketed as a "Kid's Salon" I spent the entire hour we were there, telling them not to touch any of the bright and sparkly toys that they had available ONLY for purchase, lining the low shelves.
Tonight, I received a marketing e-mail and instead of just deleting it and removing my name from their mailing list, I provided them with my thoughts. This is what I wrote,
I found Snip-It's on Google, when I searched for "Children's Haircuts in Greenville, SC." Having just moved to this area from California, I expected that the salon would be similar to "Pigtails & Crewcuts" which was a fantastic children's salon we frequently visited in San Diego.
To be perfectly honest, I was disappointed. While the children received fine haircuts, I think that the shop is anything but kid-friendly. I expected that similar to "Pigtails & Crewcuts" there would be a playroom for children who were waiting to have their hair cuts, but instead, there were toys for PURCHASE lining the walls, with signs that clearly indicate that children should not play with any toys they were not planning to BUY.
I found this to be extremely difficult and rather obnoxious for a parent who comes in to have their child's haircut and then needs to sit and wait for 15 - 20 minutes or more while keeping a small child out of your toy inventory. The only distractions for your young customers was a television that showed a repeating cartoon commercial for Snip-It's (!) and a small table with Snip-It's (!) coloring pages and a few crayons. The entire time I was there, I felt like I was bombarded with Snip-It's marketing, while trying to distract children who were frustrated that they couldn't touch anything.
With the economy what it is, most parents would probably prefer to not spend $20.00 + tip on a hair cut, and then unload another $10 or more on toys that their children will play with for less than 30 minutes. If I wanted to buy my children toys, I'd take them to a toy store, where I could buy the same toys for 25-50% less. In my opinion, the back room that looks is used for "Snip-It's Birthday Parties!", should be converted to a small playroom where parents who are waiting - especially if they have multiple children like I do - can allow their kids to be KIDS.
I sincerely hope this feedback helps you to expand and improve upon your operations.
Tonight, we went out to dinner and the service was so poor, I spoke to a manager and instead of leaving my customary 20% tip, only left 5%.
It seems I am turning in to my mother a little more every day.
(Edited to add: A few minutes ago, I realized that the walls at the hotel where we are currently staying are so thin, I can hear the people directly next door to us brushing their teeth and using the toilet. And now, it sounds like some one is very ticklish. (Egads!) I'm not sure what good would come out of mentioning this to management since it's unlikely they'll put egg crate sound proofing on our walls at 12:30 AM. Besides, the pillows are nice and soft, so I suppose I can sleep with one over my head. It's like freshman year in the dorms!)