I’m not a terribly vain person, but I do enjoy having a nice tan some summers. And since I hate to lay out, tanning salons can provide a more palatable alternative. Now, the few times I’ve done this over the years, I have to say that every experience has proven to be just about the same – no matter where I go. It starts with an initial visit to check on pricing. You’d think, given the wide array of options they offer (i.e. beds that will cook you rare, medium, well done, super crispy, and extra super crispy with hot, mild and fire options, etc. ) that they’d provide customers with a brochure or website to refer to. However, I’ve never found a tanning salon that does this. No, you have to ask the sales associates (I use that title loosely) a myriad of questions while holding up a line of people to understand their pricing structure and usually, it’s too complicated that even they can’t really explain it.
Today, it went something like this:
Me: I’d like to inquire about your stand up bed options.
Ms. Fake n’ Bake: You can pay $15 per visit, or buy 5 visits at $58 or 15 visits at $147. Each visit is about 12 minutes.
Me: What if I don’t need all 12 minutes?
Ms. FNB: You can use them for an extra visit.
Me: Is that minute-for-minute?
Ms. FNB: (blank stare)
Me: In other words, if each visit is 12 minutes and I only use 8 minutes, do I get the full other 4 minutes on a subsequent visit?
Ms. FNB: Well, in some cases you get an extra visit and in some you don’t.
Me: Like when? How many minutes should I expect to get to save for later visits?
Ms. FNB: I don’t know.
Me: O.K. What about the monthly options? You have listed here $24.95 for a full month of unlimited access. Is that what I could expect to pay?
Ms. FNB: Well, it depends on which bed you want to use. If you choose….
Me: (I interrupt) I can only use the stand up bed, so let’s just focus on that one.
Ms. FNB: Well, you’d have to pay the monthly fee plus extra each time you came in.
Me: How much would that be?
Ms. FNB: I don’t know.
Me: I don’t understand.
Ms. FNB: You’d do what is called an EFT and we’ll bill you every month…
Me: (interrupting again) I understand EFT and what that involves, I’d just like to know how much it will cost me since you say it is going to cost more per visit. How much more?
Ms. FNB: (after consulting her associate) $6.59 per visit.
Me: And would the minutes carry over like they did on the other plan?
Ms. FNB: (blank stare and then a look like I am stupid (or at least one of us is.)
Me: O.K. then. I think this is just too complicated for me to understand.
Ms. FNB: blank stare
The public pool and trips to Splash Country will have to suffice this summer.
Note to self: If a vendor makes it too difficult to give them your money, it’s probably not worth it.