/> Raising Angels: There's A Reason Some Businesses Offer Groupons

Monday, November 05, 2012

There's A Reason Some Businesses Offer Groupons

A few months ago, Nelson emailed me to let me know that even though he had already gotten me a birthday present, he just couldn't resist giving me another. Attached was a Groupon deal he had gotten for a spa package. It included a hot stone massage, a spa mani/pedi, body scrub and cucumber eye treatment.


My guy knows I'm a sucker for a massage, mostly because I make him give them to me on a regular basis, but also because it's something I ask for on just about every gift giving occasion. When we were dating he did this for a Valentine's Day and it was so indulgent and made me feel so pampered that I let him know in no uncertain terms it was my favorite gift...ever.

Granted it was a bit uncomfortable my first time. The whole get undressed and get under the sheet part was a little unnerving but the minute the muscles started getting massaged, it was no longer an issue. In fact, I spend most of the time during my massages trying to figure out how we can work this into our weekly budget. Seriously, if I ever win the lottery (which is a big stretch since I don't play it), a personal masseuse would be my splurge.

I called several times trying to make the appointment only to get a recording. I tried in the morning. I tried in the afternoon. I tried in the evening. After the third message I began to get a little concerned. What kind of spa doesn't have someone answering the phone? That was my first warning.

When I finally got a human on the other end, I could barely understand her. I expected to have trouble making the appointment but she basically let me pick my day and time. A spa with openings on the next Saturday? That was my second warning.

Now with all those services, I figured I would be there for awhile so I asked her how long I should plan on staying. "Let's see a massage, mani/pedi, scrub and cucumbers? That should have you out of here in an hour and a half or two hours at the most."

"Are you sure?" I asked curiously. "It says the massage is an hour."

"Oh we can have you out of here in two hours at the most," she assured me. That was my third warning.
So I left the house telling Nelson where I was headed...just in case he needed to send out a search party. I arrived at the spa 20 minutes early to make sure I was there on time and to hopefully enjoy some of their snacks and drinks as I hadn't eaten anything.

I pulled in to the location my GPS pointed out thinking surely it must be mistaken. There were no palm trees or fountains or fancy facades. In fact, the door was locked, the lights were off and there was actually newspaper over the windows in the back. On the door was a sign with a clock that said, "We're closed. We'll be back at 10:30."

I sent Nelson this photo and said, "This should be interesting."

"Oh no! I guess I should have done a little more research. I'm so sorry," was his reply.

I went back to the truck and started laughing. I'm all about an adventure just not on my spa day thank you very much. By this time though I had already invested an hour of my time, so I figured might as well try to get Nelson's money's worth.

At 10:30 on the dot, a car pulled into the gravel lot. I gave the woman a chance to unlock the door and get in before I got out of my car. I didn't want to embarrass her after all. When I entered the spa it was, ahem, rather, oh shall I say, simple. It was one long room painted a pale blue. She didn't turn on any lights. She positioned herself behind a very simple wooden desk as I sat on the one couch and stared at the wall in front of me wondering how exactly this was going to go down.

As I filled out the questionnaire she gave me, I found I had the sudden urge to use the restroom. I attributed this to the fact that she had a stone angel fountain on a folding table in the corner. The angel was pouring water out of a pitcher and it sounded like Nelson when he gets up in the morning to pee for the first time. It was loud and constant. Just thinking about it now makes me need to pee again.

Excuse me.

Okay, that's better.

"There's a restroom right here on your left if you'd like to go before we get started," she said, as if there were any question at all about where it might be. The place had one door and that was it. I opened that door and had to stop myself from bursting into laughter. I shimmied my way around the door so that I could get in the bathroom and close it. I had to straddle the water heater to sit on the toilet next to which was a mop and a bucket. I looked up and noticed a little picture hanging above the water heater. It was a claw foot tub and it said, "Relax." I almost lost it.

Oh how I wish I had snapped a photo of that but I was trying too hard not to laugh out loud.

"Come on back to the massage room," she said as she walked to the other end of the room...the one by the uncovered window that faced the busiest road in the city. She pulled back a translucent linen shower curtain that was hung on an extension rod over the opening.

The good news is that there was a real massage table in the space. The bad news is that it was covered in a hot pink sheet that was layered with an electric blue fuzzy blanket. It kind of reminded me of what it would look like if Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby had offspring. The kind lady instructed me to put my things on the Rubbermaid drawer cubby and hang my clothes on the hook on the wall as she left the, um, space.

I disrobed and climbed into the Sesame Street inspired sheets. I closed my eyes while I listened to the recorded birds chirping, the peeing fountain and the spa type song, (yep song, not CD) which I would hear no less than 10 times over the next hour. As I heard the sound of the microwave going, I closed my eyes and tried to transport myself to a beautiful spa in a forest somewhere, or a beach, or anywhere but where I was.

When she finally came back in and started the massage, I was pleasantly surprised. I was just about to relax when her cell phone rang, and...get this....she answered it. Classy. I closed my eyes and tried to picture that beach with the waves crashing instead of pouring and the gulls flying instead of birds chirping while the Zen-like song made its 4th play. She came back after telling the caller, "I'm working. No. I'm working. Yes, I'm at work," no less than four times.

She pressed some cold somethings onto my eyes and began the massage again. This must be the cucumber eye treatment I thought as I lay there. I've never done this before. It's kind of refreshing...except, well it kept sliding off my eye. She had just replaced it when her phone rang...AGAIN. And, well, yes, she stopped the massage and left...AGAIN. I tried not to focus on the sounds of the statue pouring water because I was afraid I might have to use the bathroom again.

She returned and worked on my legs which were still tight from the race. She was just working out one of the knots when, you guessed it, the phone rang. It was all I could do not to ask for the phone so I could show her how to silence the thing but it seems the third time was a charm because that was the last time I heard it.

The second half of the massage was so nice it almost made me forget about the neon sheets, the constant flow of water and the 15th time the song played. She finished and left the partition so I could dress and come out for my spa mani/pedi. As I was thinking about how this had to be nicer and that at least the phone wouldn't be ringing, I realized I hadn't seen a pedicure chair in the place.

I opened the shower curtain and walked out into the other half of the room and sat on the couch as the nail tech entered. I noticed across from me another room divider and figured that must me where they hid the chair because that's where the nail tech went as she told me to take off my shoes.

Now I was sitting on the couch in the front room reading a magazine. The massage therapist thanked me for coming and told the nail tech she had to leave to get some more supplies. Then she tried to open the door, which was right next to me. Only problem was she couldn't open it. She shook it and yanked it and shimmied it but it wouldn't budge. "Oh no," she said, "this is not good." She pulled it again. "I don't like this at all. Now we're all stuck up in here."

Seriously, getting locked in a spa is not my idea of a terrible situation - until today. Of all the spas in the world to get stuck in, I had to choose this one. She had the nail tech help her while she explained to me, "A car hit the building and just pushed it all out of place. I have someone coming to fix it Wednesday but that's not going to work. He's got to come sooner than that. We can't be all stuck up in this place. I do NOT like this."

Ya think?

Just when I thought she might really lose it, the door popped open and she was out, thank goodness. Right about then I looked down as the nail tech placed a blue plastic tub full of water at my feet. "You want me to put my feet in that?" I asked.

"Yeah, go ahead and tell me if the temperature is okay," she said, not missing a beat. She plopped herself on the floor and proceeded to ask me if I wanted her to take my other color off.

Oh boy.

Don't get me wrong. The girl was just as sweet as she could be. I mean, she put a towel under the bucket so I could pull my feet out of the water if I wanted to. She even gave me a foot rub for a minute or two. She talked so much I couldn't close my eyes like I did during the massage and pretend I was somewhere else. So, I settled in on the couch and enjoyed the lukewarm water in the blue bucket that mimicked the color of the walls.

I walked out of there very thankful that Nelson did not pay full price for those services. I realized that sometimes businesses offer Groupons for a reason. I felt compelled to wait around for the two o'clock customer and warn her.

Ah, but the boys had football games and I had other things I needed to do. I drove home realizing how much I've matured through the years that I can laugh about this and think it will make a great story instead of crying. That and I figured I might be able to guilt Nelson into a super posh spa next go around.

Live and learn.


Anonymous Tami said...

Next time, you tell Nelson nothing less than a pampered weekend at the Grovepark Inn in Asheville, NC will do. Beautiful spa,amazing services, and salt water pools ... ahhhhh!

12:22 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I think I bought a Groupon massage from this same place for Dave last Christmas. When I called to schedule his appointment, I found the person on the other end of the phone so odd, I told Dave to just skip it.

Was the place in a dicey location?

Live and learn. Sadly, sometimes we do get what we pay for.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

That sounds heavenly Tami and just for the record and the sake of my wonderful husband, I have been to spas like that. We will be in the neighborhood this summer though. Hmm...:-)

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Mom said...

Like father , like SIL! My spa experience was only slightly better! I laughed so hard reading about yours I almost wet myself!!!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Optimistic Existentialist said...

I've always wanted to use groupons more but I always here that there are issues with trying to redeem them.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Amy, this is hilarious!!

11:41 AM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

Kel, the place was right on Whiskey Road and it was discounted but still not cheap. I felt bad for Nelson.

Mom, I get my story telling abilitiy from you and I did ask Nelson's permission as I didn't want him to sound like he doesn't dote on me. :-)

Optimistic, I've never had a problem using them, you just kind of roll the dice as to what you'll get.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funniest thing we have ever read. We have laughed and laughed. I'll stay away from Whiskey Road spas. We love you, Damma and Papa

4:29 PM  

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