The massage therapist next door to me is on maternity leave at the minute. She was nice enough to give my name to some of her clients before she left and I worked on one of them today. I didn't get the impression she liked the massage. What is it with me that I've got to hear "That was great!!!" after a massage? Is it an ego thing? I mean, she didn't say it sucked - she just didn't say much. Maybe I was just conscious of the fact that this was another therapist's client, that I am only a fill in and that she has been with the other therapist for years. So maybe all those facts came into play and affected the massage itself. Or maybe I'm over analyzing things ......or I'm just paranoid....or completely nuts.
OK, so remember the story about flakey MT that used to be across the hall and her client that she never called and the fact that I benefited from her flakiness?
Well, I came across a similar situation today. A pregnant client had bought one of those membership deals at a local massage place and she hundreds of dollars worth of credit in her account. She can't get in to use them because they only have 1 therapist that does prenatal massage in the place and she only works 2 days a week, doing 4 appointments a day. Apparently this client has been trying since MAY to get in to get a massage. She was given the run around so much that she just googled prenatal massage last night, emailed me and I got her in this morning since I had another client that had to reschedule. So I got a new client from their mismanagement. But then they still have her money that they have drawn out every month. It's not a good thing when I hear of people being frustrated like that, but then if things had gone smooth, I wouldn't be working on her now!
It's a slow day today so I drove to the massage store. I believe the store, Body Logic, is the only massage store in this side of the DFW metroplex these days. When I first started massage, 6 years ago, there were 2 stores, then it went up to 3 and one of them was only 2 miles from me, but now there's just one. Maybe it's because of the online competition or maybe there's just a drop in MTs in this area. I'm not sure of the reason of the drop.
I walked in there intending to buy 3 things for less than $25, but walked out with $100 worth of stuff. Needless to say, it's an MTs paradise. I could spend hours in that place as well as all my money. It even smells good as soon as you walk in to the place. I just want to buy everything in it.
The reason for the drive is that one of the 3 things I'd to get was a still point inducer for one of my clients. It only costs about $22, and I didn't want to order it online and then spend $10 for the shipping, although considering I ended up spending $100, maybe I should have done that! I used to have one and lent it so a client that I later fired. I don't want to ask them for it back since I just don't want to have any contact with the fired client. If you're wondering why I fired them, it was because they were not respecting my time - continually. It's a long story - one that deserves a post on it's own, but since I don't want to write about negative stuff, I'll probably not! I don't fire clients often, by the way. Most people are nice!
Anyhooooo.......if you don't know what a still point inducer is, here's some information and a wee picture. I'm going to lend it to a client for her to try out and if she likes it she can purchase one for herself. If she doesn't like it, then it's no big deal. Just so long as she brings it back!
It's a tradition, isn't it? Labor day = grilling day, so the picture above is of Artie about to fire up the grill. If you click on the picture, you'll get a close up view of Artie's little apron, complete with all the accoutrement necessary to be able to flip, nudge and poke.
The following happened on a looonnnnng day. It was my first visit to to local Chamber of Commerce and since I was there as a guest I had to get up and speak for about 20 seconds about my business. It was the day before St. Patrick's Day and there were a lot of people dressed in green - some even dressed up as leprechauns. When I got up to speak I think people thought I was putting on my Irish accent and I became incredibly nervous - I started sweating. I could feel the beads of sweat at the back of my neck and on my lip. After the meeting I'd to go and do a 1.5 hour hot stone massage, which was hot work, then I'd to get some lunch and rush off to a 3 hour chair massage gig in an office. While in the middle of this session I had a bit of a panic attack. I discovered that my right armpit was stinking. Well, if there's one thing that doesn't exactly "go together", it's massage therapy and B.O., and of course I had come to the job without any antiperspirant in my bag. But I put my thinking cap on. I spray my chair with Lysol every now and then to prevent the spread of any viruses. So, yep, you guessed it. I Lysol-ed my smelly pit and know what? It worked like a charm!
The lesson learned here is to always carry antiperspirant on chair gigs and to load up on it on days that I know I'll be stressed out!
Sometimes we get people wanting specific music played during massage, right?
I was pleased to have one of my clients request Pink Floyd since they're one of my favorite bands, so I put on Dark Side of the Moon. The lesson learned is to NOT play this CD if your client has a habit of falling asleep during the massage. Although it starts of nice and slow, there's one point in the middle of the CD where alarm clocks are played very loudly. The client jumped up, startled, with the daylights scared out of her when the alarm bells woke her up. It was kind of funny though.....
This one happened on a chair massage gig and it really isn't that funny, but there's a lesson to be learned.
I was working on someones shoulders during the chair massage when I realized I was rubbing the color off her sweater. Yep, turns out the stuff I was using either to sanitize my hands or clean the face cradle (I think it was the cleaner) was taking the color off her clothes. I'd to give her money to replace the sweater.
Lesson to be learned: check your hands and make sure you've no cleaning materials on them before starting a new client. Also, check the hand sanitizer to make sure it won't remove coloring from clothes.
OK, so on massageprofessionals.com there's a group where we write about bloopers in massage and I've written 3 on there already. I never wrote about them on here, so I'm re-posting them here so that those that aren't on that group can read about them here. Then I'll add more on here and just put a link to them from their site so that I don't take up that much room on their wall.
It's sad that I've got so many of these stories. I'll start posting the other ones after this....
OK, here are the ones I have posted already:
#1 I'm from Northern Ireland and over there "Erasers" are called "Rubbers". So when changing a client's appointment time in front of her I forgot what country I was in and said I needed to find a rubber before I could change anything. It was a few seconds before I realized what I had just said. I then had to explain (with a very red face) what a rubber was where I come from. She came back anyway!
#2 The following incident happened when I was working out of my home and it's a reminder to always ask the client if they want to use the restroom before leaving them to get ready.
I left the client to get on the table and went to the kitchen to warm up my rice back warmer. My house isn't totally open plan in that you can't see the kitchen if you come out of the room I did massage in, but you can hear what is going on. it took a couple of minutes to warm up the back warmer. So I'm talking to myself in the kitchen and I come out and the client is standing there wanting to know if she can use my restroom. The thing is, it's not so much that she caught me talking to myself - it's what I was saying. I was practicing my Sean Connery impersonation.
#3 OK, here's another one that happened on a home visit. Luckily I'd been working on the couple for years (and still do) but there's a lesson to be learned from this one too.
I was setting up for the massage in one of their bedrooms. I'm sure they wondered when they heard me yelp pretty loudly. The woman comes into the room and finds me standing very awkwardly - I think I look like I was playing twister by myself, but without the actual game. I also had a very red face. "What's wrong?" "Um...well...underneath my right foot there is a bug. Could you do me a favor and get me a tissue?" She gets me the tissue and I very quickly get the bug and squish it (apologies to any Buddhists reading this). Luckily there wasn't too much of a "bug gut" issue on their carpet!
OK, this doesn't sound too bad, right?
The thing is, this was a HUGE freakin' mutant cockroach that had come FLYING off MY sheets when I was shaking them on the the table AND HIT ME ON THE HEAD before landing on the floor. Thankfully the client didn't get to see the thing. Nor did she ask where the thing had come from. I used to work in software debugging code. Now when I do an home visit I do a little different type of checking to make sure I don't have to debug in the literal sense - I also make sure I don't ever put my bag in the garage.
.....and I was expecting to do very little work today.
But I did 5 hours of massage and 2 of the 5 were new clients. I've a home visit tomorrow to work on a couple. That's not too bad for a holiday weekend - normally people are too busy going to the lake or somewhere nice.
....but there's yet another new massage franchise place opening up near me. I got a letter today from them since they're hiring and they're offering $17 a massage. I just wonder if they're going to be successful in hiring therapists at all. I know I couldn't make a living at that rate without risk of injury. But then I'm old. Maybe I could have done it in my 20's. I worked like a dog for a few years in the hotel industry in my 20's, working in restaurants and cleaning rooms, so maybe it's just an age thing.
This new one is advertising massages at even lower rates than the one that everyone knows (I don't feel like improving their positioning on search engines by mentioning their name in a massage related blog!). Yep, their introductory price is $29.95 for a 1 hour massage. And USUALLY I don't get my knickers in a twist over the price cutting by the franchises, but C'MON, $29.95??????
But I've got to look at this in a way that I can get positive and proactive. The fact is that I can't do anything about them, but all I can do is make sure that everyone that comes to me knows that they get their money's worth when it comes to getting great customer service, extra attention to detail and a massage that is worth twice the amount they pay at that franchise. In essence, I have to be doubly better than them in every aspect.