What To Do When You Don't Get What You Paid For

You guys? Last week I saw the most tragic thing I’ve ever seen. Not tragic like “Anderson Cooper saving that kid’s life in Haiti” tragic, that’s real tragic. I’m talking about one of those “*gay gasp* O.M.G.”  tragic moments. The kind you can’t stop thinking about for weeks because it’s so crazy deeply human yet wild.

So, of course it happened at a nail salon because that’s where most of the things in my life outside of work go down. This woman, probably just a few years younger than me, came into the salon hysterically crying. Nothing unusual. Then she went up to one of the manicurists and, all wobbly, was like, “I’m so so so sorry, but these just weren’t what I thought they’d be. I thought the glitter was going to be smaller. I’m so sorry. I’ll pay for you to fix them. I’m so sorry.”

The manicurist immediately hugged her then sat her down and fixed her nails but she couldn’t stop crying. I was sitting there in the pedicure station and I thought about intervening. Like, telling her she’s fly and to stop feeling sad or whatever because it was Christmas week, but my feet were wet and I thought I might make it worse.

So that’s why I wanted to talk to you about this, because I think a lot of us have been there– when we saved up for some dope gels or a delicious meal or a blow out before a big party or highlights for the summer or a used-but in good condition Elvis mug on Amazon and then hated it and didn’t know what to say. By the specific examples in the previous sentence, you can probably tell that I personally have been there and didn’t always handle it well. For my eighth grade graduation, my mom’s friend who cut my hair, she gave me this little Chola side bang, and even my mom said it was like a Chola side bang. And I completely hated my life and I wore one of my mom’s old dresses to graduation and it made me look like I was in a maternity dress and like, eight of my classmates told me their parents asked who that pregnant girl was.

But things change. These days I’m great at an ol’ “Hey, this isn’t exactly what I paid for, can I holla at a re-do?”, so I made you a little list of ways that I say things so that I don’t go hyperventilating in my car every time I get my hair cut anymore.


This one’s the easy one. I think some people abuse the right to return food, actually, but we can talk about that another time. Just tell the waiter that your meal wasn’t what you were expecting and switch it out. Waiters don’t care. They want to make you happy so you tip well.

Beauty Treatments:

Recently I got a blow out at a hotel where my girl was staying for the weekend and the stylist who blew out my hair never asked me what side I parted my hair on. And because I was getting my nails done at the same time and texting and drinking and doing like four other things that make me a horrible person, I never got around to telling her that my hair needs to be parted on the right side of my head. It needs to be or all of the planets will collide and everyone will die, promise.

The stylist took off when she was done and I stayed getting my nails done and talking to the manicurist when I realized that my entire head felt wrong. I looked in the mirror. A left part, obviously. On a very expensive blow out that I only got because I was supposed to be meeting my girlfriends there then plans changed but I didn’t check my email so I was just alone there and felt obligated to follow through with my appointment.

So I rolled up to the front desk where I’d been mad polite before (another incentive for always being mad smiley and nice when you meet people) and just said, “My stylist left but my part is on the wrong side and I didn’t realize it until now. Can you please have someone fix this?”

And it was fixed. And I wasn’t thrilled with the final result by any means, it just didn’t have the flavor I was going for, but there was no drama for asking.

Same for nails– if you smudge, if you’re doing gels for the first time, if they chip after one day, etc.,  just go back and tell them. It happens all the time.

eBay, Etsy and Other Small Online Shops:

There are two ways of handling a purchase from a small online retail shop or auction site that shows up bogus or doesn’t show up at all:

1) Forget about it. Sometimes I find it easier to just cut my losses. So the weird magnets from the college student in Kansas I ordered on Etsy never showed up, so the Spudz Mackenzie Christmas CD came with a scratch on it. At the end of the day, that kinda stuff is your gamble.

2) Go hard. Sometimes I get real mad when I get something that I ordered online and it’s FAR from what was advertised. A few weeks ago I ordered two sets of Elvis Christmas mugs that came with hot cocoa and when they showed up, four of the eight mugs were smashed and the cocoa expired in 2008. That’s just egregious. So I reported them to Amazon and then also wrote a nasty comment on their page. I was quite colorful with my language, you know? Sometimes you can go that way, too, because it’s the Internet and you don’t always have to say please & thank you. You can go buckwild. That’s why I love the Internet, and that’s why Catfish is a show.

I hope these tips/rambling anecdotes make you guys feel more comfortable going out there and getting what you paid for. You deserve it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=139700192 Marianna Tabares

    You’re right. I often feel like I have to be super humble and take what I get, but if I really give it some hard ass thinking, it breaks down like this.
    I make a little under $17 an hour. If I get a hair cut and style for $35 and I hate it, I just lost 2 hours of hard earned work. Same goes for other beauty treatments as well as products and meals that I expect will be satisfying.
    Just as much as those people think they’re putting in hard work for the services they provide, I have as much a right to get some good quality. Maybe not the most amazing quality, but something that leaves me feeling pretty good about myself.
    Thanks Molls!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=114000114 Beth Hannah

    as some one who has worked in retail: the nicer you are, the more apt the person is to make sure you are throughly happy. Rolling your eyes, talking down to the person, etc., will not make it better. On the flip side – when a waitress, hair dresser, etc., does a crappy job and you call them out on it, don’t be afraid to get a manager involved. They usually know who their less than stellar employees are, and if you are an avid customer, or have dropped serious money, they will make sure you are taken care of.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=570965833 Kristen Lynch

    Totally right! There is a bakery near where I live and I always go there to get chai lattes or iced green tea lemonade. There had been a couple times where I got a chai latte (around 5$) and when I got home, it was 1/3 foam. I didn’t say anything and let it slide. Then one day, I got the an iced drink and it was all ice, I was so pissed off I went on their FB and complained and ended up getting a gift card out of it. I know some people might think I’m a bitch, but when I’m paying $5 for a drink, I expect to get the entire thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726545415 Rina Stuparyk

    “*gay gasp*” seriously? >_<

    and honestly that last one isn't helpful at all. I've emailed shops before and they've sent new stuff, no biggie. I'm a retailer and someone hadn't received their items because I completely forgot. She called a few weeks ago and I'm mailing it to her with an attached surprise gift because she was nice about it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=724976239 Elpitha Evangelatos

      I’m glad someone else on this comment thread noticed “gay gasp.” What the hell kind of statement is that? I stumbled upon this site an hour ago and I’ve been reading through it due to the refusal of the “boys club” antics that is so proudly displayed on the about page.

      WTF really?
      What even is a “gay gasp”?
      And why is it in an article that has the vague idea of getting your money’s worth when we’re talking about nails and what not? So a “gay gasp” has to be paired with things that are seen as feminine or what?
      I thought that deviating from the “boys club” would be that I wouldn’t see articles that reinforce gendering and patriarchal culture. At least, I thought I wouldn’t see in the first fucking paragraph of something.

      “I’m talking about one of those “*gay gasp* O.M.G.” tragic moments.”
      This author wasn’t really thrilled about her hair fix? Well, I’m not really thrilled with the idea that a certain sexuality has a different type of breathing and a casually dismissed type of tragedy. Shame on this article. Shame on this author. Shame on this site for letting this line stay in this article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=733925704 Cassie Richards

    Thank you for this, I have such an issue with returning things/asking for a do-over because I get anxious about coming across as ~rude. When actually I’m completely within my rights and when I’ve been in retail positions I’ve never minded helping somebody out like that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000323428565 Sly Hg Tly TyghTy

    Oh I’ve heard of that, though you know not nearly so readily as lately…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=50300482 Nicole Perrie

    Well, I wait tables, and sometimes the servers DO care. As in we have to pay for things you don’t like. If something was legitimately wrong with it, like it was gross or something, it’s understandable. But if you ordered spaghetti and “forgot” you didn’t like red sauce, or you got some sushi and really just don’t like the texture of raw fish, please don’t send it back. Think about what you get before you order it, or I might have to pay for you $14 fancy tuna roll. It’s like trying on panties and then bringing them back. You just don’t…

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