After a few days of feeling lousy, getting my nails done was a nice little pick-me-up. There were only a handful of ladies in the salon when I arrived, two of which were in very boisterous conversation about the latest Hollywood gossip. It was impossible not to overhear what they were saying, and I giggled when I finally realized they were not speaking of their personal friends. I’ve never been one to follow the personal lives of celebrities, and when I occasionally pick up a magazine at the salon, I find I don’t even know who the majority of the “stars” are anymore, much less what events are occurring in their lives. Thankfully, I was several chairs away and was able to shut out the chatter and relax during my pedicure, wishing I could take the massage chair home with me.
Things quieted down as one chatterbox left to go on about her day and the other, along with her much quieter friend, were moved to different stations to have their fingernails done. I will spare you the details of this process, but the quiet customer was having a problem with the final look – there were small bubbles in her nail polish. She was very polite as she asked for the correction, yet the stoic faced technician working on the problem couldn’t seem to get it fixed. They repeated the process several times before a different technician took over and was able to make it work.
Meanwhile, chatterbox #2 was trying to communicate her wishes to the young Vietnamese woman who was assisting her. She wasn’t being rude, but kept raising her voice as if the attendant were deaf rather than unable to understand English. The technician was trying to get the customer to let her use a quick dry finish but the customer kept insisting she did not have time. I found this amusing, especially after watching the customer sit for a much longer period with the choice she had made. None of my business…..
I was seated at the nail table closest to the counter when the customer and her friend approached to make their payment. Chatterbox spoke very kindly to the young woman who had done her nails, gave her a tip, then turned to the woman doing my nails (stoic technician) and let loose.
“I will NEVER be back!!! You were so rude to my friend! I cannot believe how you treated her! She (the girl who did Chatterbox’s nails) did a great job, but you were rude and I will never bring another friend back here!”
Then she turns to the woman taking her payment and repeats,
“I will NEVER be back!!! She (pointing emphatically at stoic girl) was SO RUDE! I cannot believe how she treated my friend! I WILL NOT BE BACK!!”
The technicians all smile and say “Thank you” no matter what this irate customer says. It was very hard not to laugh.
Once irate customer and her friend left, the place was abuzz with Vietnamese chatter. I can only imagine what was being said. Having patronized this salon for years, I have an elementary sense of their culture and the personalities of the ladies who care for me when I am there. Stoic technician is the best nail tech I have ever had. She prompts very little conversation with her limited English and is extremely efficient, both of which I appreciate. Having a disposition myself that is often misinterpreted, I “get” this lady. She is focused on her task, which she does excellently, and smiling isn’t necessary to get the job done.
I was feeling bad for my tech and the outburst she had just had to endure, when she looked up, smiled behind her mask, and said,
“She say that every time she come here.”
I left the salon thinking about offense and how quickly we take it sometimes. Quiet customer was frustrated that there was a problem with her nails and it took so long to get it right, but did not seem offended. Chatterbox decided to be offended for her and made quite the scene. It was so unnecessary. But before I get too judgmental, I must admit I am often quick to take offense myself. Oh, I don’t spew my venom in public, but will have the imaginary conversation in my head…
“I cannot believe you did that! Just who do you think you are? Would it really hurt to smile when you take my money? How rude! Etc….”
Our culture encourages us to give people a piece of our minds if we don’t like what they’ve done or we’ve been treated unfairly. I’m not saying that we should never confront or deal with things, but being offended only opens the door to the enemy. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 16:25
The Greek word for offense is skandalon. It was the part of a trap to which the bait was attached. Hmmmm. Offense is the bait Satan uses to trap us in unforgiveness, resentment, anger, and a host of other emotions. Offense immediately gets us off our love walk. Jesus had a pretty radical approach to when things go wrong…
….whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also…. Matthew 5:39
God is love. His love resides in us. His love is ever ready to believe the best of every person (1 Corinthians 13:7). What if we lived our lives purposely NOT taking offense? Giving others the benefit of the doubt, choosing to believe they are better than their words or actions may show. What if we protected ourselves and our families by NOT allowing offense to bring unforgiveness and resentment into our homes?
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7 “Do not take to heart all the things that people say…”. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10 that we are to “give no offense” by our own lifestyles. We are told in numerous places that we should be slow to anger. Living a life full of the love of God will lead us to forgive quickly, never taking offense. It is our choice whether or not we take it.
I left the salon with my nails done to perfection and the comment,
“I WILL be back.”