Sunday, June 07, 2009

My Stupid Sign

I went to get my hair done last week at Images. I’m hair-shopping to find the right fit. I’m hair-monogamous, but I’ve just decided that 70KD is more than I am willing to spend every 6 weeks (that's like a car payment). I had been going to Strands for 4 years and prior to that, to Cutting Edge for 4 years. @70 kd/every 6 weeks – well, you do the math.

When I got the bill at Images, it was way more than I expected (and I wasn’t happy with the outcome). When I first asked, lady said 25 KD for highlights. I asked her to put in 4 brown strands. For that, she charged me 15 KD. That’s a whole lot of money for a little bit of effort- and we’re not talking a Western big-time salon, either. Ok, no biggie. Perhaps my mistake. I didn’t stop to ask how much it would be. She asked me to come back in a week for a conditioning treatment. ‘How much?’ “11 KD” Ok, no biggie. Got the conditioning treatment. Went to pay…. “15 KD”
‘What? You told me 11 KD’
“Oh noooooo, you must have misunderstood.’

I have never misunderstood so much (apparently) as I have in Kuwait. Why do you think that is? Perhaps that I’m foreign and Western and I have a big sign on my forehead saying, “STUPID”?

This is why I record all my meetings – just so that we are all on the same page. According to some, I "misunderstood" during meetings as well - until, quite ironically, I started recording (and handing out either meeting minutes or CD in whatever format they preferred). It's a MIRACLE! People actually became a lot nicer to me during meetings: Attitude adjustment. Go figure. Maybe I should start recording all my salon sessions also? Just so we are all on the same page. Ridiculous! I know what she said.

The 11 vs 15 discussion continued into an argument. In Kuwait, one must fully understand that THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS WRONG. You must always just hand over your money to whoever and let it go because that is your place as a customer: You're stupid; Salesclerk is always a Rhodes scholar. Everybody knows it. So then, they then hand me their price list - “for next time” – so I won’t “misunderstand”. Let me let you in on a little secret – there won’t be another time. For a whopping 4KD, they lost a potential long-term customer (refer to the last sentence in Paragraph 1 above). They can keep their price list; I have no need for it.

I was about to book a massage. Miss Thang (although very nice) stood there the entire time saying, “What about your massage, Madame?” I told her, ‘You told me 25 KD for the massage. What does it really run – around 40?” Just so she doesn’t misunderstand.

Images used to tout themselves as “Western” because they had ONE stylist from the States. She doesn’t work there anymore. For 25 KD for a massage, I can go to the spa at Crowne Plaza and bask in luxury. Why would I want to do it in a converted apartment on the corner of a highway in Salmiya? I can do that for 5 KD at other little places in Salmiya, by the way.

As for my hair, it's fuched. I have had several "hair advisors" look at it and tell me that I have 3 months before it gets back into condition again. 70 KD isn't looking so terrible right now. Oh well, my hair shopping will continue. I have heard good things about Femme Fatale in Mangaf (not to be mistaken with La Femme Fatale who stole their name and logo image - as they do in Kuwait when a business is successful).


Anonymous said...

OK I have lived here wayyyy too long and you are so right about the customer being total idiots(supposedly). BUT your 11 dinar problem is easy to solve. Just give her 11 then leave and THEN never come back. What is she going to do? Dont be afraid of people here.You need to grow some titanium balls here when dealing with these people. They are so used to people caving into what they want. Trust me noone gets away with anything with us. But my husband is Kuwaiti so I have an advantage. Gail

abolesanzalef said...

there is a saying that.. pay expensive, get the best..
so the sum u paid was close to K.D70

Desert Girl said...

Gail - I didn't have 11 KD on me, unfortunately, and they rang it up on KNET. Bummer.

Abolesanzalef - how much you pay for your hair, dude?

Anonymous said...

Not that impressed with Images either...followed an employee when she changed salons and shopped around for other services while I was there. From what was done on the /rest/ of my body, they sure weren't touching the hair on my head.

As for the 11 KD, I would have walked out. Works for cabbies- the price you agree on is the price you pay, or you get nothing. You're too nice! Jo

Anonymous said...

I've always gone to Cutting Age until recently when they screwed up my hair, went to an arabic salon down the road and .......... wow, my hair is looking the best ever. colour and condition are perfect and the cut is fine too.......i've had hundreds of people comment how beautiful it is..
you shouldn't be so afraid of the arabic salons, the western salons really aren't that good and just want to take money out of your pocket.

Desert Girl said...

2twentythree3 - what salon are you going to now? Maybe I'll try there.


If it hadn't been on KNET, I wouldn't have paid the 15 KD. And believe me, you could have heard my complaining from the parking lot. I'm not nice when I'm in that position.

I wouldn't go back to Images for a mani/pedi either. It was one of the worst: I had parafin (sp?) and she had it on too hot and I burnt my feet in the wax. She also picked so much at my cuticles that I got little infections on my nails.

The more I think about it, the more pissed off I get. For a 25 KD massage, for example, you can get luxury anywhere else in town (like at the Elements Spa at the Royale Hayat) where what you are paying for is partially the ambiance.

You're right about the western salons - total rip off. I went to Cutting Edge for 4 years to the owner (before they sold it). I stopped when I went in one time and she said, "Let me ask you something - does your hair EVER look good?" Shiiiiiiit - for +/- 70 KD, it SHOULD look good! I never let her cut it - I could always tell when people had gone there to get their hair done: short and spikey. Not for me.

Thanks for your comments everybody.

Anonymous said...

Dear DG,
You should perhaps try and go to an Arabic Salon. I can commiserate with anyone that has gotten bad highlights. I've had to cut my hair so short because of them at least 5 times. I have cousins that tried Lebanese Salons in Dubai, and they have the most gorgeous hair. Much better than mine and I paid 160 dollars to get mine burned.

abolesanzalef said...

DG....I cant stop laughing this morning for yur question.. but as aman i pay K.d 4 for hair

Desert Girl said...

abolesanzalef: When you start paying 70KD/mo, you are allowed to comment. :)

sadachbia said...

The american lady that left Images has started her own business, its called Eden salon and spa, located in sharq. I dont have the number handy right now, but if you have facebook you can find the group on there. Her name is Danielle and she really listens to everything you want to do to your hair. It's not 70 kd either! I think i paid for color and haircut/blow dry for 60. Try them out the next time you wanna do your hair. hope it helps!

Desert Girl said...

Thanks sadachbia. I used to go to Danielle, but she still has the same problem: a very busy schedule and hard to get an appointment (as a working person). 60 KD isn't far enough from 70 KD either.

I tried Eden once and left when the lady Danielle said could do a great job on the color had no clue what I was talking about. She (as many do) came at me with the color to do my entire roots (over years of highlights). Nooooooo thanks.

abolesanzalef said...

sabah el khir
again i cant stop myseld laughing at that morning.. you asked me when will i pay fir kd70? and i told you i will never pay that sum as i am a a nice day everyday..

Baroon said...


I am not a big spender on color or highlight but I care a lot about hair cut and in last 12 month I do cut my hair at Cristal ( I am sure you heard about it and know it since you use to live in salmiyah in same street of Cristal). The lebanies girl " noor" doing a good job. They are expensive too.

LolaCabana said...

Ohh you poor thing! I feel your pain! This is my first time leaving a comment but I try to catch up with your blog once a month or so. I lived in a Kuwait for a year and my worst hair experiences took place in there. I spent the ungodly amount to go to Images and a few weeks later when I returned to the states my stylist said "OMG, why is your hair green?" The highlights she put in were almost non-existant but the minerals in the water over there turned my hair a greenish hue. I also went to Strands when I first came to Kuwait to have my roots touched up--when it was all said and done it didn't look like they even did my roots. Their answer? We can't get the dye/bleach any closer to your scalp without it burning your hair off. Umm..ok...whatever!

Very frustrating! You have my sympathy!

Desert Girl said...

Lola - that's the same thing that happened to me at Strands also. I don't know what kind of bleach they are using, but it seemed to fade almost as fast as they got it onto my hair! Funny you mentioned that.

Green hair? Eeeeek.

Images redecorated (Thai theme sans the Thai prices/Thai staff) and it seems that their customers are paying for it now.

Anonymous said...

Hey DG,

I go to a salon in Salmiya called Oriental Princes (yeah I know), and I find them very good, a lot of Kuwaiti and foreign ladies goes there for highlights (never tried it, but saw the out come on customers and it looked good).

Maybe you can pay them a visit or give them a call for their prices. Tel: 22401235

If you are going to give them a go, ask for Mona to attend you.


Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments I can understand why so many people are advising you to try one of the Arabic salons, when I first arrived in Kuwait, Many, many years ago my Kuwaiti sisters in law would take me along with them to their salons...I have to say the thing that would always shock me...the actual appearance of the stylist herself, and her hair!! Yikes!
I have done waxing threading etc hair up and make up BUT NEVER let them cut or colour my hair. I was a big Elegance fan, then went to Strands and now soho. Yes maybe once or twice throughout my 15 years there has been a tincy bit of a colour disappointment but NEVER ever has my hair been damaged. Desert not risk it....takes months for your hair to grow back...or restore to it's former glory. The thought of it brings me close to tears, maybe I am just vain!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I had the same experience at Images!!! Only mine escalated over a mere 2KD. I had been going for waxing and the last 2 times the prices were off. The first time it was explained that there was a price increase, the second time, there was less waxing done, but it cost 2 KD more - when I questioned the receptionist, she just ran my card through and said that was what Juliet (the woman who waxed me) said the price was. I then went and found Juliet, she could not explain to me other than that there was a price increase. I said that I had sincerely doubted that there was another increase in the last month. Both Juliet, the waxer and the receptionist just stood there looking puzzled and saying Hmmm?, Hmmm? (obviously confused that the stupid sign on my forehead was incorrect and stumped on what to say next since I didn't believe their answer of a price increase this time) Finally when I started to get a little loud, they gave me my 2KD back. I tried to explain that it was not about the money, I simply wanted a logical explanation - but it was not in the cards. I also was a loyal customer and a very good tipper for Juliet (being an esthetician myself, I know what a hard job waxing is) but I refuse to go back!!! Problem is, I now don't know a good clean place to go for waxing - can anyone reccomend somewhere? I was actually going to break down and go to the Images in Mahboula unless someone can suggest elsewhere. Thanks!!!

Muneera said...

Kuwait salons are much better than american salons, ive been to both and im 100% more satisfied with the salons in kuwait. i rather pay more for a better job than pay alittle for a crappy job. Eden salon and spa is the best in every direstion. :)