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Monday, June 02, 2008

Monkey Business

We just spent the greater part of last week in Richland, visiting the children's godparents. Rich had a business conference there, and since we have friends there, we all went. I brought the children's school books and work, and we spent the mornings on school, and the afternoons at the park, or visiting farms and other fun things like that.

Arthur had cooked up a treat for the older boys, but it wasn't something that was going to be easy for Amira to do safely. Well, conveniently enough, they had won these gift certificates for a "Sparkle Manicure" and "Sparkle Makeover" at this kiddie salon. Every time Rich and I drive into Richland we see this place just off the freeway. We've always assumed it was a hair place geared toward children (at least we've hoped so, because otherwise it might be a very strange establishment indeed). It is called Monkey Dooz.

Well, it was from this fine place that the gift certificates were issued. Michelle and Arthur ran the idea past us, and we said why not, so we made an appointment. Now, we have places like this here. We live in a rather affluent town, and we have no shortage of tanning salons, nail shops, day spas, hair salons, botox clinics, plastic surgery offices and chi-chi children's salons where you can spend $40 for the privilege of having them cut your two year old's hair. We've mostly avoided those places, taking the boys to a barber shop, and not cutting Amira's hair at all. Evidently, you can also spend something like $50 for your daughter to have a manicure and pedicure. The place I go to twice a year for that will do it for less than $5 when you bring a little girl with you, but why concern yourself with price, when you can set up your daughter to be critical of her appearance with all the treatments she needs even at age four, and program her up to be a consumer of the mass marketing directed toward women's self-loathing.

Anyway. We figured a one time fun trip like this wouldn't damage her, it's not like we think that nail polish and makeup are evil, and she certainly dresses up at home, and that it would distract her from not getting to go with her brothers on a trip. The only opening they had that weekend was after church on Sunday. So, we made an appointment for 1:30, and got on with our weekend.

There was a luncheon at Arthur and Michelle's church after the service, so we had a nice time there, washed up and while the boys walked home with Arthur, Rich drove Michelle, Amira and me to Monkey Dooz. We found the place, went to open the outer door and found it locked. It also looked dark inside. Hmmmm.

So, we thought maybe this was their first appointment of the day, and they decided not to come in until just before, but it was 1:20. Rich called the number. No answer, but the message did confirm that they were open noon to 4:00 on Sundays. Michelle walked all around the building to see if there was another door. No luck. So, she called home to see if a message had been left there, as she had made the appointment and left her home number. Nada. I called, left a message wondering why nobody appeared to be there during working hours. Michelle called and asked about the time and date of the appointment which had only been made the day before. No response.

We decided to wait. Maybe our first thought was correct, and they were just running late, and it would be a shame to leave only to have them show up ten minutes later. We saw a woman with her two daughters approach. They, too had an appointment. At 12:30. No show, no answer. There was no sign on the door explaining that something had happened and none of the staff could be there (maybe they were all attending the birth of another employee, who had gone into labor at 11:30 that morning). Nobody had called us, or this other lady, who had travelled from another town somewhat nearby to do this with her daughters. So, after giving them about another 15 minutes, we went back home to finish packing up to leave for home.

I called the place one more time to express my disappointment in their business and customer service, asking for someone to call us once again, and explaining that we were visitors from across the state, so would not be able to reschedule, and what a let down it was for my little daughter who had been excited to go to a salon. I reminded them that we were not the only people stood up, and that although the other group came from a relative distance, we came from quite a further distance. We've still received no call.

Initially, I had figured on leaving a nice tip for the people when we went. After all, we were using free gift certificates that had been won at a school auction or something like that, and chances are they were donated, so I thought it would be nice to give the service people something for their time and trouble. When we still had hope that someone might show up, I thought I'd still take Amira, because she had been looking forward to it, but that there would be no tip involved. After it was clear that there was no chance, I thought I'd recommend against going to this place and supporting their poor business skills.

As I said, we still haven't had a phone call, so unless the entire establishment's employees died from some glitter related accident, I can only assume they aren't interested in their customers' satisfaction or the word of mouth reputation they earn. After all, although we don't live in the Richland area, the lady we met with her two daughters did, as do Arthur and Michelle and their son, who all have friends, work associates, go to school or belong to churches where the behavior of the company might come up. I'm beginning to think that our horrified ideas of what Monkey Dooz might provide if it weren't a children's salon might be a more apt depiction of their business.

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Comments:
I am sorry Amira was disappointed from her adventure by someone's poor manners.
 
I looked it up on line, monkey dooz is a franchise there are several different stores. Some are open Sundays and some are not. Did you maybe call the wrong place when you made the appointment. (that happens at my work sometimes) Might explain how no one was there. No excuse for not calling you back though.
 
Thank you Kermit.

As for having the wrong place? Um, nope, nephew. There is one in Richland, the city I mentioned in the post. The appointment was made the day before, and as I wrote in the post, we all called and their hours on the phone message were noon to 4:00 on Sundays. And? The address of the place was the address on the certificate was the address on the phone message.
 
Oh, I just called them again, so I could try to speak to a human. Turns out the woman who was supposed to be there, said she was and marked us as no-shows. I told the owner that the woman forgot to unlock the door, and was too occupied to answer the phone ringing four times from us, not counting the times the other woman called, or she was lying. The owner spoke with the woman, and then asked me when we were there, I told her from about 1:20 to 1:45, and that we weren't alone. She said that the chances of her forgetting to unlock the door were slim, as she would have looked out and seen the dark entry way, and that basically, the woman said she was there, and if we were, and couldn't get in, chances are she wasn't.

I thought it was rich, though, that she put us down as no-shows. I suggested to the owner that she check the messages to see what we had said and what the other woman had left messages about, but if this employee is willing to lie about being at work, I imagine she might also be willing to delete messages that show that she wasn't.
 
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