Friday, April 24, 2015

Another Dog Grooming Experience

I find it really difficult to clip Stewie and Scrappy's toenails by myself.  They run away and squirm and bite at my hands and the clippers.  I bought brand new, heavy duty clippers a while back, hoping they would be sharper and clip faster than the old ones, but it didn't make any difference.  It was still a struggle.

A little repetition and history on this:  My vet in Nevada clipped my dogs' toenails for free each time I brought them in for any appointment, so I got spoiled.  Then I came to Arizona and found that most vets charge $30-$40 to clip their toenails.  So, I called a mobile pet salon, and that lady did a good job, but charged a lot for a two-minute nail clipping, because she had to pay for gas to get to my house, and I wasn't happy that I was forced to participate in the process.  Then I found a grooming salon in town that was easy access.  The traffic here can be gnarly, especially in the winter months, so a main deciding factor on where I do business is the accessibility.  If I have to sit in traffic on a main artery, wait ten minutes to make a left turn, or fight over a parking spot, I won't do it.  I also want to be able to take my dogs out of my truck in a safe location where drivers aren't racing back and forth, swinging into parking spaces where my dogs are standing, etc.  This place was on a good route with plenty of available parking.

I wasn't sure what I could and couldn't do regarding services at this salon, so I just set up appointments for the full service back in January.  That broke my wallet, but I still paid less than I would have at the vet's or with a mobile service for the same shebang.  This time I decided to call and ask if I could just pay to have their toenails clipped and their teeth brushed.  Of course, I brush my own dogs' teeth, but when I previously brought the dogs in, they came out with such shiny white teeth and fresh breath that I was really impressed.  Their breath didn't bowl me over and stayed fresh for days afterward.  I felt that service was well worth it.  It turned out that I could just walk in for those services and didn't need appointments.

When I arrived in mid-morning, a gal behind the desk asked what I wanted to have done.  I told her, and she didn't respond.  I was wrestling with Stewie, who was wrapping the leash around my legs and quivering in fear while Scrappy was straining on his leash to go outside where he smelled other dog pee on his way in.  I was counting my blessings that I decided to bring two dogs and not all three, because I had my hands full.  I kept expecting this lady to come out from behind the desk to help me, and nothing happened.  I looked up to see that she was eating a snack, and was obviously on her break, and she wasn't going to help me until she finished eating.  Wow.

I've watched Tabitha's Salon Takeover, and I know that if Tabitha saw an employee eating in front of a customer and not helping her because she was too busy eating, she'd raise hell.  I believe that when employees take breaks, they need to go into a back room and let someone who is on the clock help the customer, and it is management's job to make sure that everyone gets their required breaks so that the employees don't eat while they work.  But the problem wasn't even that.  It was that she didn't even say, "Okay, we can do that.  I'll be with you in just a minute."

When I called on the phone to ask about pricing, the lady who answered snapped at me, because she was throwing out numbers, but not explaining which price was attached to which service, and I wanted to clarify that, because that would help me decide which services to get.  She acted like she was annoyed with me because I was hard of hearing or something.

I ignored the rude phone manners, but when I also had to deal with a thoughtless receptionist, my enthusiasm waned.  While waiting for the dogs to get their grooming services, I walked around and looked at the products they were selling.  I found some really nice, professional, affordable toenail clippers, and my gut was urging me to get them.

"Why?" my brain said.  "I just bought new toenail clippers a short time back."

So, I didn't buy the clippers.  The lady handed Scrappy off to me and said in a stern tone, "This dog needs professional help!"

I frowned, puzzled over whether she meant he needed a psychiatrist or what.  She added, "He's needs a vet to clean his teeth," and she glared at me as if I were severely neglecting him.  Dear God.

Then she wouldn't hand him back to me, almost as if she wanted me to agree to have his teeth cleaned by a vet before she'd return him to me.  I said, "He's a very old dog with a heart condition.  It's not safe to put him under anesthesia."

She pulled him away from me and turned to my dog and said, "Oh, you're old, are you?  How old are you?  Huh?  How old are you?"

It was kind of bizarre, because I didn't know whether to answer her or not, because she was talking to the dog, and not me.  When people have done that before, I interpreted it as meaning, "I respect your dog more than you, so I'm talking to your dog instead of you."

When she finally looked at me, I said, "Very old.  I don't remember exactly, but he's already past his life span."

She acted like there was something wrong with me for not knowing how old my dog is.  I know a lot of people memorize and celebrate their pets' birthdays, but I can't even remember how old I am, none-the-less my two kids, three dogs, and four horses.  I put my pets' ages on my sidebar of the blog, but kept forgetting to update it each year, so I'm not even sure how accurate that is without looking at pedigrees.

I continually run into these hyper-critical bleeding hearts for the animal kingdom, and their holier than thou attitude truly rubs me the wrong way.  If I were neglecting my pets, why would I be bringing them to a pet salon?  The most spoiled pets on earth go to salons.  There is no law that says pet owners have to take their pets to salons, so if a pet owner is doing that, it means she loves her pets and is taking good care of them.

That lady made a major mistake by pressuring me to get my dogs' teeth cleaned.  If she had just casually and politely mentioned that she couldn't get the teeth cleaned well because professional tools were needed, I'd totally understand and not be offended.  But it's because people around here are so quick to judge and lay guilt trips on pet owners that I get irritated.

As I was paying for the services, the lady asked if I was new to the area.  I said no.  I mean, what qualifies as being new?  If I moved here within the past year, I might have said yes, but I feel like this has been my home for a long time now.  Still, there must have been something about me that made her think I wasn't from around here.  Boy, was I shocked when she said, "Good!"

It was as if she were saying that it was good that I'm not new to the area, because she doesn't want any more new people moving into the area.  I guess she doesn't want any more business.  I'm sure she's had her fill with the sudden and extreme changes in population over the winter just like me and everyone else.  I get frustrated with the traffic, lack of resources, all the extra bodies, noise, and activity specifically in my neighborhood in the winter months, but I wouldn't make one individual feel unwelcome, because the problem is with the timing of the masses -- not one person.  I figure the population will ebb and flow and adjust itself.  This was a really bad winter for having too many out of state visitors because last winter was so cold up north, but I suspect that many of the winter visitors this year were just as put off by the traffic and overcrowding that they won't come back next year.

You know what it funny -- when you live somewhere, you don't think you have any cultural characteristics that make you stand out as being from any place in particular.  However, I was watching Wife Swap on TV the other day and there was a family from where I used to live.  I was amazed at how much they were like my family in their attitudes, the way they dressed, their lifestyle, and I'd swear that their house could have been built by the same person who built my house.  I guess there were limited resources in the area, because all the houses look the same.  Given that the state I am from doesn't have a huge population, I doubt anyone in Arizona would look at me and say, "She's a Nevadan," but another Nevadan might recognize me as being a Nevadan.  Although, now I think I am stuck somewhere in the metamorphosis of turning into an Arizonan.  I wear a lot more boots and hats than I used to.  And I'm spending a little too much time hanging around rattlesnakes.

Anyway, after watching the dog groomer trim the dogs' nails, I realized that all I really need is a place like their grooming table where the dog is forced to hold still with a leash attached to something above its head.  That's the key.  Once the dog realizes it has no room to wiggle, it settles down and its nails can be clipped in less than a minute.  The groomer is safe because the dog can't get its head around to bite or its legs around to scratch.  I previously couldn't watch them groom the dogs because they told me to go home and they'd call me when they were done.  The mobile groomer had me hold the dogs while she trimmed the nails.  The vets took the dogs into a back room where I couldn't see how they did it.  This was the first time I'd seen the dogs get their nails clipped at the salon, because the only table available for the lady to work at was right up front by the reception desk.

On our way out the door, Scrappy dragged me over to the potty spot so he could sniff the scent of every dog that had been there before him.  I was going to pull him away, but this couple jumped in their car and were about to back up right where I needed to walk to get to my car, so I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Apparently, they were so enamored with watching my dogs that they weren't going to leave.  So, I started leading my dogs behind their car to get to mine, and wouldn't you know it?  They put their car in reverse and started backing right into me!

I swear, it took everything I had in me to stop myself from running up to the driver's window and slapping the guy upside the head.  He obviously knew I was there, because he'd been staring at my dogs the whole time I was waiting for him to back up.  So, in order to avoid having him run over me and my dogs, I had to change course and walk out of my way to get to my truck, because he wasn't going to stop backing up for anything.  For people who don't have to experience this crap all the time, I may sound harsh, but the drivers around here are so selfish and reckless, and they always act like they have all the time in the world to sit in their car doing nothing but people watching until you need to walk behind their car or you need to back your own car out, and then all of the sudden they are in a really big hurry and will cut you off in order to be the first out of the lot.  Everything is a freakin' competition around here.

So, I took my dogs to the truck and was struggling to deal with them and my purse.  Scrappy was trying to jump into the truck, which was way too high for him to make it, and when he misses a jump, he tends to land upside down on his back, then spins around and flails his legs in the air like a turtle stuck on his shell.  I didn't want him to fall on the asphalt on his back, so I tossed my purse into the empty parking space beside me and stepped on Scrappy's leash right by his neck so that he couldn't move, none-the-less jump.  Then I went to go pick up Stewie and lost contact with his leash.

Stewie escaped my grasp, ran into the parking spot next to us, and wouldn't you know it?  Some idiot came roaring around the corner and decided to swing right into the space where my dogs and my purse were.  I shot the driver and angry glare, because the entire parking lot was empty.  There was no reason for her to have to park right up against me.  She changed her mind and took a different spot in front of me so that she could block my easy exit instead.  She had an out-of-state license plate.  I'm not sure why people from other parts of the country have such a hard time spreading out and giving others their space.  My guess has always been that they come from a place where there is safety in numbers, and thus, have more of a herd mentality, while I come from a background where I prefer to be alone and have a big personal bubble.

I grabbed Stewie, got him into his carrier, and then loaded Scrappy into the backseat.  Thankfully, my purse was still sitting there by the time I was done with all of that.  At the rate things were going, I half expected someone run up and lift it behind my back.  I went home and decided to brush Midge's teeth and clip her toenails myself with my new nail clippers.  One of her nails was really hard and I could not squeeze hard enough to cut it.  Suddenly, I heard something breaking and then the brand new nail clippers collapsed right onto my pinkie finger, smashing it between the two handles.  It bruised my fingernail, and the clippers were not repairable.  I should have listened to my gut and bought those nice nail clippers at the salon.  Fortunately, I still had the old, dull ones and could finish the job.

One of these days I'm going to learn to listen to my gut when it tells me to buy something.  I don't know how I could know that in the future those new toenails clippers were going to break, or that someone or something was going to steal my horses' toys, but to have my gut feelings be so dead on two weeks in a row makes me want to throw all logic out the window from this day forward and just do impulsive things that make no sense at the time, but reveal themselves to be the right choice in the future.


Cheryl Ann said...

At one point, I would have become VERY LOUD and told that woman what I thought of HER and the shop! And, then I would have walked out!

NO legitimate business allows employees to eat in front of customers. NOBODY!

And, her rudeness and unprofessionalism was completely unwarranted.

But, that's just me...
Aren't you glad it is over with?
Cheryl Ann

Tina said...

Rude people suck. There is just no other way to say it. :(

achieve1dream said...

Ugh I'm so glad I don't list in a tourist area. I don't think I could deal with the crap you deal with every day. :( Are you going to try the salon again or find someplace else? I think setting up your own grooming table might be worth a try!! The leash would keep them from being able to twist around to bite. I hope you can figure something out because the attitude of that woman was just downright unprofessional. I have no comment on the drivers other than that I wish I could key their cars (not really...). I just don't understand rude people.

achieve1dream said...

Oh and I've had several jobs where I had to eat in front of customers. At one of them I had to hold a sandwich in one hand while running the cash register with the other... it was that or go hungry (which isn't a good idea with my reflux). The reason I had to do that is because I was there alone. There wasn't someone there to give me breaks. So I can kind of feel sympathetic to people who are forced into that situation since I've been there. I, however, would NEVER ignore a customer!! That's just rude!