One day a client told me that her mother had been in a horrible car wreck up in Chicago & that she’d have to take a leave of absence from work to go
take care of her. She went into great detail about the wreck, how bad it was,
& how horribly injured her mother was. It sounded positively horrific!

Now this lady had been getting her nails done faithfully every 2 weeks for about 2 years & I felt terrible for her! We agreed that I’d take her off my appointment book for the remaining 2 months of the year while she tended to her ailing mother. She never asked me to take off her artificial nails & I never asked what she planned to do about them. I wished her & her poor mother well as she left the salon.

As time went by, I periodically thought about her & hoped her mom was ok. One night about 3 months later, while I was doing the nails of 2 clients who both worked with this other lady, her name came up in the conversation. So while my clients nails were drying I thought I’d give her a quick call to see how her mother was getting along. Turning my back to my 2 clients sitting at my nail table, I dialed the phone on the wall. I fully expected her husband to answer, or the machine to pick up, since she probably would still be in Chicago nursing her mother back to health.

Her husband did answer the phone & so I identified myself as his wife’s nail tech.  Upon inquiring gravely (with that low voice we all use when we’re not really expecting a good answer) “How’s your mother-in-law getting along?” he cheerfully replied “Oh, she’s fine”!  It seemed strange for him to sound so chipper about it, but I didn’t have time to ponder this any longer because he informed me that his wife was standing right beside him & would I like to talk to her?

Right about THEN was when it hit me that her whole story had been a lie! I could feel my face start to flush from the embarrassment of the situation, & in the back of my mind I was acutely aware that my 2 clients drying their nails had suddenly become very, very quiet. It was an awkward situation for both of us, because when she was thrust onto the phone by her unknowing husband, she was caught totally off guard & didn’t have a good lie in place.

She began ad-libbing about how her mother was still recovering & that she needed to go back to Chicago tomorrow. She babbled on a bit more & I could feel the heat spreading from my neck up to my face & even to the top of my head. I was SO embarrassed I could’ve just died! I told her that I understood & that she could call me whenever her life settled back down, but it was obvious to the both of us that SHE knew, that I knew, that SHE was lying! I was beyond mortified & my face was still burning red when I hung up the phone.

My 2 clients who were sitting there quietly drying their nails had overheard my end of the conversation & had figured out what the deal was. They then informed me that she had NOT been away on a leave of absence & had in fact been here in town working the entire time! They had been unaware of the big fabrication that she had told me in the first place, but since the cat was already out of the bag I just went ahead & filled them in on her car wreck story.

Needless to say, they were duly appalled. They then told me that she had a reputation around work for being a liar ever since the time a few years ago when she had told coworkers that she had breast cancer. One by one they started comparing notes & noticed that she never took time off to go to the doctor, never got chemo or radiation, & mysteriously she was still healthy, with both her breasts intact (presumably).

I’d never experienced anything quite like this before, so I was stunned. Clients usually say they just “want to let their nails breathe” or some other fluff when they want to take a break from the nail services I provide. It’s no big deal & I always make sure they know that it’s ok & that they’re always welcome back any time. I try to make the potentially awkward parting scene less dramatic than what the clients must think it will be. What are they expecting……tears, accusations, & me hurling objects across the room at them as they flee out the door?

PUH-LEASE! I’ve been doing nails WAY too long to ever take it personally. As for the liar, I never spoke to or saw this woman again. The only thing I could figure was that she must’ve wanted to take off her artificial nails & didn’t know how to tell me. Or maybe she was crazy. But more than likely she was just a compulsive liar. I’ll never know for sure. But the moral of the story is ALWAYS be truthful to your nail tech because we have ways of finding you out, even when we don’t try!

Besides, we’re big girls (& boys). We can take it.

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