An Open Letter to a Vietnamese Nail Salon

WARNING. RANT Incoming. Had to get this off my chest while my memory is still fresh… Unfortunately.

Dear cheap Vietnamese nail salon,

I was so excited when I was handed a flyer detailing your services. A manicure for only $5? Who could even imagine such a bargain? And as a weary traveller, my nails were in desperate need of attention. I almost wept with joy. Of course, I was going to jump at the offer. I longed to own hands that were worthy of a modelling contract. But failing that, nice nails would do.

But, you knew what you were doing didn’t you? You played me well. You knew that I wouldn’t be able to get a manicure back home for even double the price. By thrusting that flyer into my hand so aggressively, you took my attention away from the 50 other nail salons along that street offering manicures for $2. And even if I had noticed them, you knew that I would choose your salon, that extra $3 must ensure the highest quality.

As I sat down in the chair, I was not prepared for what was to come. I had expected a relaxing hour being pampered. Instead what I received was something quite different.

Upon starting the treatment, the technician took on the burden of pointing out my flaws. Yes, I had mosquito bites everywhere. Thank you, I hadn’t noticed that they were unsightly. And yes I badly needed a pedicure. Traipsing around dusty streets for months on end had left my feet in bad shape. I was aware. And finally yes, my hair desperately needed a trim. I am so glad you felt comfortable enough to tell me.

After this tirade, I was sure things could only get better. Oh, how wrong I was. No sooner had I pushed the comments to the back of my mind, a stray dog waltzed in and emptied its bowels in the middle of the salon. Swiftly followed by a rat who decided to boldly run amok amongst the customers. Fellow unsuspecting travellers like me. Both occurrences that were so commonplace they didn’t even warrant that batting of an eyelid. Much less for somebody to, heaven forbid, take the initiative to actually remove either from plain sight.

Next time you wish to charge twice as much as your competitors, maybe lay off the personal insults. And if you must have a centrepiece, make it. I don’t know.

P.S next time someone suggest a nail salon near me like this, I’ll think twice..

Yours sincerely,

A ripped off, bedraggled, backpacker