11 December 2009

A Blissful Recovery

It was a close call, but Bliss came through. I had my first experience at the Bliss Spa in San Francisco with a facial. I was familiar with the particular treatment having had it for years with my regular esthetician in New York. At this point, I knew that it is the esthetician that makes all the difference for any spa treatment, regardless of the same services being offered across the country. But I thought that I'd try someone new, somewhere else.

Sadly, the hands of the esthetician were cautious and lacked confidence. She didn't seem to enjoy what she was doing while she talked about her commute to and from work. Three days later, I had an allergic reaction to the treatment. I called the spa and they promptly asked me to go in to take care of the inflammation. The same day.

This time, a seasoned esthetician took me in, her hands on a mission to cure and send me off the right way. And it was clear that she enjoyed and took pride in what she did. The manager of the spa came out to thank me for my patience and for coming back in. She had looked me up on their company-wide database and acknowledged in conversation that I had been a Bliss client since 1997. Between the manager, the gentleman who booked my same day appointment, and the esthetician, each utilized their personal and professional resources to win back a client.

One's tenure at Bliss doesn't guarantee talent nor expertise. People in this industry have to embrace the intricacies of care at this level of intimacy with clients. It requires a particular openness and surrendering to care-give in this way. And, managers need to detect this when hiring and training. As clients, we are completely vulnerable. Our faces are naked, awaiting a deep yet gentle cleaning. Awaiting sure, motherly hands to tell it, "I'll take care of you. And you, too, little black head."

In the end, as vulnerable as we are while lying on a table for over an hour, we can sense how much love really is in a labor of love.

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