Nope, this isn’t a blog entry about some vegetable. It’s really about the day I felt that I was “chopped carrot”, directly translated into Chinese as “砍菜头”, which means being charged a lot of money for something that may not be worth it. So this is how the whole incident went.
I have never been to a beauty salon or a slimming centre because I have heard of how certain salons and centres use hard-sell tactics and customers end up buying packages out of pressure. I am not always good at rejecting salespersons, so I have avoided these places. Hence, I’ve never done facial treatments nor slimming treatments.
Recently, I attended an event and won a voucher to receive treatment at a reputable slimming centre (which I will not name). I didn’t think of using the voucher at first because I exercise regularly and I am generally happy with my size. Of course, there are parts of my body that I wish are slimmer, but my goal has always been to achieve my goals through proper diet and exercise.
My Husband thought that the treatments would allow me to relax and be pampered, and encouraged me not to waste the voucher, since I could get “5 free treatments”. I thought about what he said and thought about my post-pregnancy tummy, and decided that since the treatments were free, I would go for them. But before I went, I talked to my cousins and they reminded me that hard-sell tactics may be involved. We laughed about how I shouldn’t even bring my wallet with me so that the slimming centre would have no chance of selling anything to me.
Prior to the appointment, the person who contacted me told me to put two hours aside because the first appointment involves some time to measure my body and all. I thought that made sense, so I agreed.
So the day of the treatment at the slimming centre came, and I made sure I didn’t bring any credit card. Then I remembered that I wanted to go to the supermarket after the treatment, so I brought the supermarket credit card along.
When I arrived at the slimming centre, I was asked to fill up some forms before a consultant came into the room to attend to me. I noticed that she was wearing an earpiece and I thought it was rather strange but decided not to think too much about it. She got me on a weighing scale to measure my weight, BMI, body fats and body age. All this made sense, so I went along with everything.
Next, she wrote down the results and started to analysis everything. She said, “The normal range for body fats is 22% to 27%, yours is 29%, so it’s higher than normal.” I nodded quietly. She continued, “Your BMI is 20, normal should be 18, so yours is high.” At this point, I wanted to laugh because I know for a fact that BMI goes by a range and I am definitely in the healthy range.
As she continued to analyse the results, I knew where it was all going and mentally prepared myself to reject whatever packages the consultant was going to sell to me. All I wanted was my free treatment and leave.
As I expected, she started explaining about the different treatments the centre offered and how I have $800 worth of vouchers as part of the prize I had won. She calculated everything and said that after all the discounts and vouchers, the package of 10 treatments would only cost $500 if I took it up on the spot. If I didn’t, the $800 worth of vouchers would not be valid after I left.
I was determined not to sign up for more treatments, so I told her that I would have to go home and discuss with my husband. She tried to persuade me a little more but when she saw that it wasn’t working, she led me to the treatment room.
There, she explained that she would treat five parts of my body, which meant that all five of my “free treatments” would be redeemed. At that point, I realised that “5 free treatments” was really one, but hey, it was still free, so I went along with it.
The consultant also turned out to be the person who would do the treatment for me, and as she got the machine ready for my treatment, she continued to try and sell me the package. At this point, I felt rather annoyed and texted my husband to tell him about the package I was offered. My husband told me that he is happy with me the way I am but if I really wanted to sign up, he would be okay with me. All I could think of was how I may not even have time to come for more treatments, so I said I will continue to reject the consultant.
So my treatment started and the consultant said it would take 20 minutes. 20 minutes? I thought about the person who told me to put two hours aside.
Throughout the 20 minutes, the consultant came back to the room three times, each time asking me if my Husband had replied and what my Husband had said. So much for relaxing at the treatment.
By the time the treatment was over, the consultant could see that her hard-selling tactic was not working on me and that I would be leaving soon. Just when I thought that I could finally leave, another consultant came into the room to talk to me with the first consultant. I started to guess that the earpiece the consultant was wearing was for someone to coach her as she talked to me, but in any case, I told myself to say no no matter what they said.
With two consultants “advising ” me at the same time, I was starting to really feel the pressure. They both harped on how good it was that I had the $800 worth of vouchers and what a waste it would be not to use them. When I told them that I had to be prudent with my spending because I have two children, they threw in another way to buy – instalment plan. To be honest, I was tempted by the instalment plan but still rejected them, saying I wouldn’t have time because I have to look after my children.
Suddenly, the second consultant decided to sell me another product that would show instant results. “Since time is your concern, let’s do one that you can do now. Let me show you pictures on my phone. This was my client’s thigh before and after treatment. The result is instant and lasting,” she explained.
Instant and lasting? I thought about my post-pregnancy tummy and was immediately swayed. I asked more questions about this treatment and before I knew it, I was agreeing to the treatment which cost a few hundred dollars. As the first consultant did the treatment for me, I texted my cousins and told them that I had fallen. They laughed and said I fell for the “trick”. Never mind, I consoled myself, I shall see the results.
This treatment also lasted for about 20 minutes and by the time it was over, I could indeed see some results. The only thing was, I still couldn’t believe that I agreed to pay a few hundred dollars to do it. In any case, I was relieved that everything as over and soon, I would be able to leave the slimming centre which I will never step into again.
I got dressed and waited for my receipts. Alas, the hard-selling was not over yet!! I was brought back to the consultation room and was offered another package. This time, both consultants worked together. The second consultant, whom I conclude by now is the more senior one, explained about a package where she would combined everything I was offered today at a really good discount. The other consultant, while listening to what was offered to me, was constantly saying “Wow! That’s a great deal!” or “You’re offering all this to her at this price? I didn’t know we could do that. That’s a great saver!” and other things along the same line.
By now, I felt like I was watching two people do a talk show right in front of me – one would “perform” and make offers to me while the other would provide the reaction and “ooh” and “ahh” at everything that was said. I was really getting very tired of their tactics and was already feeling like a carrot (refer to the very first paragraph of this article), so I just kept saying no.
“Your husband don’t allow? It’s good to continue since you have done one treatment, you know,” the senior consultant said. “Come, stand up. Let me show you,” she said as she pulled my top back. “Your waistline is now here, after more treatments, you can be here,” she said, tightening my top.
At that point, all I wanted to do was leave. The senior consultant could probably see that I wasn’t going to give in and left the first consultant to end the session with me. As the first consultant wrote my invoice, she continued to try and persuade me and asked me why I wanted to pass on such a good offer.
“You told me you have two children too, right? So you know what it’s like. I want to use my money on other more important things, “I told her.
She used about five minutes to finish writing my invoice and finally ended the entire session with me as she escorted me to the door. As I left, I checked my phone to see what time it was. It had been two hours since I stepped in. It was then I realised why the person who contacted me asked me to put two hours aside for my “first” appointment.
As I walked towards the supermarket, I felt like a total carrot. Sure, I did see some results for the treatment I had paid for, but based on all the offers that was made, I had clearly overpaid. I told myself that I am not going to redeem any more of these “free” treatments and really, I shall just exercise harder to deal with my post-pregnancy tummy.