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Friday, February 5, 2016

Realistic expectations are the key for a better experience

Our expectations play a very important role in our perception of the quality of the services we receive-in all industries.
One has to be realistic about what to expect in different markets and price ranges of services offered.

I’ll illustrate with examples.

I get my hair done (color,cut,style) every 5-6 weeks. There are literally hundreds of hair salons out there, but they all could be classed into 3 very distinctive groups:

-Low-cost/high volume
-Med-range
-High end

Low cost/high volume ones will often provide quite good end result, but often pay very little mind to decor/ambiance, would be located at somewhat “questionable” areas and will offer no frills (such as complimentary beverages, up-to-date magazines or head massages at the basin)

Mid-range would generally have a better decor and would be located in a nicer areas, would sometimes offer basic beverages and maybe a few other minor frills

High-end salons will look grand. They would aften have additional junior staff to greet you and generally serve you. They will have an array of refreshment on offer (such as barista coffee and even alcohol), sometimes snacks. Decor and fittings are top notch (like crystal chandelliers).

When I am in NZ, I am often time-poor, so getting my hair done becomes a chore. As a result, more often than not, I opt for a basic low price place I had found.

Here’s why: it is close to my apartment (lierally a few minute’s walk).
The lady who runs it (she is a one-woman shop) gets the job done and does it pretty quick (about 1.5 hr total).
No appointment is necessary, as usually I go there when she just opens and I am always able to get serviced.
On a few occasions I popped in during the day, the maximum wait was 20 min (which I spent taking a walk).
She only charges $85 for the works.
The place is tiny and, although clean enough, has definitely seen better days. It is located in a “so-so” part of Auckland (let’s put it that way: I keep my handbag on my lap at all times ;)).
Mags are cheap tabloids and are mostly dated several month prior.
The lady often breaks away from my service to greet/talk to another client or to answer the phone.
She does make me instant coffeee which comes in a chipped old mug :).

HOWEVER,  when I go there, my one and only aim is to get my hair done (and quick). I do NOT expect any pampering and understand that $85 (or less)/pop services will not let the owner buy crystal chandelliers or update the decor.
As a result of these *realistic* expectations I always leave that place very satisfied.

When I am on a holiday, it’s a different game altogether: I have plenty of time and look to be pampered. I am looking for a total experience.
I usually book into upmarket salons.
In Bangkok especially, those are fantastic (BTW, they are decidedly NOT cheap-to get the same service done it costs me about $250 there).
The settings are lavish. The staff is plentiful and is eager to please. They have that month’s Vogue and other premium publications available. Shampoo takes about 15 min due to the extensive head massage given. Often you also receive a foot massage at the same time.
An array of beverages is on offer as well as light snacks. The service is top-notch. The service takes about 3 hours altogether.

In places like that I certainly expect the full attention. I would not be happy if the stylist broke off in the middle of my service or I didn’t receive my massage. Expectations are high-to match the prices charged.
But they are still within reason: I never go to these places expecting something extraordinary: I know what the service entailes and that’s all I want.

It would be quite unreasonable for me to expect Crystal Champagne accompanied by black caviar to be served in such places or having my nails done at no extra charge when all I’ve paid for was hair services.

Another good example are airlines. New Emirates commercial featuring Jennifer Aniston made me think of that.
It starts with Jennifer walking down the isle in what is *obviously* coach class of some airline in a bathrobe with a towel and asking the flight attendants where the shower is. When they inform her that there are no showers, she tells them that  she’d “look silly” dressed like that going to the bar.
Which brings another bout of laughter from the flight attendants because, of course, there is no bar on that plane/airline.

Commercial then segs into Jennifer waking up with a start with what appears to be a Business class seat on Emirates Boeing 380. She proceeds to the bar (which is one of the features of Emirates Business class on that particular equipment) and talks to the bartender about having a “nightmare”.

It’s a cool commercial, but Emirates being a bit coy with it (I don’t really fault them-all advertising is).

For starters, coach class on Emirates (while very nice and better than many other airlines) does NOT offer an access to the bar or the shower.
The bar lounge is a feature of their Business class on Boeing A-380.

The shower is only available to the first class passengers.
First class passengers do not have a separate  bar lounge and if they wish to socialise like that would have to make their way into the Business class.

Emirates First class feautures private individual cabins (as in you actually close the door behind you) with actual beds and large flat-screen TVs.
Once you arrive, you are given the menu, but there are no set meal times: you just ring when you feel like something and they will bring it to you. You can do it as much as you want.

Showers are amazing (I am surprised they weren’t featured in the commercial).
The bathrooms are larger (about twice the size) than the average city apartment bathroom and it’s really cool to take a shower while looking out of the window on the clouds flowing by.
You have to schedule your shower time when you first arrive (so all the first class passengers can have a turn) and are allocated 30 min, which is more than enough.

P.S. Yes, I speak from the first-hand experience-I have flown all classes on Emirates :).

As an example of pricing, while coach seat may cost you about $2500, Business is about $8500 while First is about $12000 (all fares quoted are round trip).

So it would be unreasonable for you to expect ALL the amenities offered by the airline while paying the minimum fare available.
And if you decided to save your pennies and have chosen a bare-bones-bargain-basement-discount airline, you should heed Jennifer’s advice and not expect Emirates quality.

Sex industry is really no different.

Sometimes you just need to “scratch the itch”- be it an early morning boner or an afternoon quickie pressure release. In this case you chose someone who charges little and offers short notice bookings.
All you care about is the result. All the peripheral aspects of the booking (such as ambiance, quality of linen, even how immaculate provider’s hair/make up is) should take a back seat.

I stress that I am certainly NOT suggesting it’s OK for the provider to NOT deliver what’s advertised: if she claims to offer FS for X amount of money, you should definitely expect a BJ and penetration to take place.

All I am saying that if you are paying $90/hr for FS, you probably shouldn’t expect to be admitted into a lavish penthouse apartment and have your tryst on 1000 count Egyptian cotton linen.

Yes, yes, I hear the voices: “Oh, but there are exceptions”. Yes, there are. There are always exceptions.
But as a rule of thumb, hardly anyone who can afford a rent on a penthouse apartment would charge $90/hr.

My advice: be realistic. If you go in with reasonable expectations (based on price and offerings), you have far more chance to be happy with your experience.

If all you wanted was a skilled sensual massage with a happy ending and you got at a bargain basement price, how important were all the “periherals”, really?

If, on the other hand, you wanted a full experience, then perhaps you should have saved for a place that is clearly the top notch (based on the photos, the wording of the ad and yes, the prices).
And you have every right to complain if the experience was not delivered to you.

It is unproductive to keep hoping that $90/punt will feature ALL bells and whistles AND provide an enthusiastic mind-blowing GFE with immaculately groomed, highly educated and articulate provider.

Same as hoping that a top-notch highly qualified, skilled and sought after web designer will create a state-of-the-art animated web site for you for $200. And include free domain name and hosting for a year with that.

My motto: have a firm grip on reality. At all times. It makes life surprisingly easier :)