Service of Fiddling with the Price

January 15th, 2024

Categories: Bait and Switch, Beauty Care, Customer Care, Prices

Fiddle with the price, change it a few times in succession or cause a client to question your charges is the fastest way to lose a customer. I keep thinking of a used car salesman who declares, “Oh, you wanted a steering wheel with that?”

A friend fell victim to just such a potential flimflam regarding a beauty procedure. Her specialist left the place she’d used and she didn’t like the other operators. She tried another place in the same building that offered a Groupon discount. She went last month and was told that they would honor the same discount should she return this month–$46 instead of $95.

When she called for an appointment last week she mentioned she expected the Groupon rate as promised. But when she arrived the specialist pointed to the $95 charge on the pricelist and said she’d give her a 20 percent discount.

My friend said, “no that’s not what you told me-it’s $46.”

Then the operator asked for a screenshot showing the discount. As she had been the person who told her about the deal—and didn’t write it anywhere—my friend had nothing to show.

The operator ended up honoring the $46 and wrote on a loyalty card for next month: “$95 less 15 percent.”

My friend corrected her, reminding her that she’d said 20 percent earlier. She then revised the loyalty card.

But my friend has lost confidence in the shop. She wondered if the service provider thought she was stupid or a pushover. She tipped $5 less than the first time [and in my opinion, very generous especially under the circumstances]. Even with the 20 percent discount, the charge is higher than the original place, where they include the tip in the fee.

Do you think my friend should return to the second shop? Have you experienced a service that similarly slip slides around with its prices?

8 Responses to “Service of Fiddling with the Price”

  1. BC Said:

    I would find a new person.

  2. Deb Wright Said:

    I would not return to that operator. That is unethical, not to say very bad business practice!

    I get my haircut in a small shop in downtown Crystal Lake. It had closed during Covid, but reopened under different owners. The first few visits were $35.00. Last visit, I was paying cash, and the bill was $41.00. When I said that I had not been told, my beautician apologized and said the owner of the building had raised the rates. I had enough cash of course, but not enough to give her the usual tip of $10.00. I need a haircut very much, but as it is ten below zero, I have to wait until it warms up. When I go next (hopefully soon), if there is a price hike, I will not return.

    Now, this price seems ridiculously low. However, I have very curly hair, and the visit is a shampoo and then the haircut. No drying, no coloring, nothing but a basic haircut that takes maybe ten to fifteen minutes. I might consider Joe’s Barber Shop which is right next to the salon. Seriously.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    That would also be my option. I’m terrible at price bickering and would probably have walked out right after the first refusal to honor the verbally agreed upon discounted price. My friend did well by getting the treatment for that price.

    But the backing and forthing about the percentage discount for the next and third one–as they say in NYC, “faghedaboudit.”

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You were lucky you had enough cash. Nobody carries much around here. Everything is put on a credit card, even a cup of coffee [which is no longer anywhere near $1.00]. I think that a price increase of 17 percent is significant and you should have been told in advance. I feel sorry for the stylist because the increase might impact tips.

    I have avoided writing a post about inflation. My prescription insurance has almost doubled this year even though I’ve hardly used it since I started paying. I asked why the rate isn’t based on use. It is what it is.

  5. ASK Said:

    My prescription drug almost doubled as well…!

  6. Martha Takayama Said:

    I would never return to such a place or such a person. The whole experience sounds absolutely unacceptable professionally and socially.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    A museum tried that stunt on me, by first offering a discount on a purchase, then reneging on some fragile excuse two breaths later. I have little patience for this nonsense and stood there arguing and making a nuisance of myself until I bought the item at the originally agreed price. There’s no reason anyone should put up with ill-disguised theft. Said museum is several thousand miles away, so I haven’t been back. I would not hesitate to make further visits should I return to the area. I like museums.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I might return to the museum but not to the store. I wish I had better tolerance for price pingpong. I avoid it when possible.

    A beauty procedure should be relaxing. An argument doesn’t relax me.

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