In October last year, my parents decided to renew their wedding vows and have a ceremony, inviting all of our friends and family to celebrate.
I loved this idea as I loved any excuse to dress up and party and spend precious time with those who I am close with.
After a lot of consideration, I chose to wear my red leopard print dress with a pair of flat, black shoes and accessories.
As it was such a special occasion, I wanted to get my nails done especially. On the week leading up to the ceremony, I found a salon in Leicester that did shellac nails and a pedicure at a reasonable price, so I booked and made an appointment to get them done on my day off at university.
Contacting Victoria Nails & Spa to book my appointment, I made it very clear to the person I was speaking to that I was in an electric wheelchair and I couldn’t manipulate and stretch my left hand very well, so it may take a little more time but I wanted shellac putting on my nails on both hands. When I told the man this on the phone, he said this was fine and confirmed my booking.
On the day of my appointment, I went into Victoria Nails & Spa and gave my name at the desk.
The woman behind the desk looked at the list and then looked at me. I saw her then exchange a look with a few of the beauticians.
At the sight of that look, I should have known that something was wrong there and then. Without saying a word to me, a few of the beauticians help me to an area and asked me to get positioned while they got the nail varnish and equipment.
A young girl came to sit behind the desk and began to file the nails on my right hand. I found the girl very nice and sweet and she kept smiling at me as she filed my nails.
Once she filed my nails on my right hand, she moved on the do the same on my left hand. This was when she started to struggle.
The beautician kept trying, continuously asking me to straighten out my left hand and though I did as best I could, It still wasn’t good enough.
Noticing that we were struggling, two nail technicians came over and observed us and then told me
It was too difficult for this girl to do my left hand as shellac nails Involved me putting my hands in a piece of equipment which would help the shellac stay on my fingers and if I can’t straighten my left hand to allow her to file my nails when I couldn’t straighten my hand enough to put it in the piece of equipment to finish my nails properly.
Once again the beauticians spoke to my PAs as if I wasn’t there or could understand them.
The beauticians completely ignored my objections when I said that it is possible, it just takes a little more time.
As neither of my PAs had been with me on the previous times that I had shellac put on my nails, one of them left the salon and called my mom to get her opinion on this.
Following this conversation with my mom, the PA came back inside the salon and confirmed exactly what I had already told the beauticians, reassuring them, as I already did, that I have had shellac nails before a number of times.
She specifically explained that it is possible for my left hand to be done but it just takes time and patience.
The nail technicians were very rude and kept trying to insinuate that I must be confused and I must have got it done at home and not in a nail salon, clearly suggesting that I was silly. I tried not to shout at them at this point. I am not stupid. I know what I’m saying.
At least they could try, but no it’s too difficult for them.
Though they didn’t say it, I knew the true reason to why they didn’t want to do my nails. Yes, they could do my nails, but they didn’t want to spend the extra time finding a way to do my nails on my left hand when they can get through two or three customers in the time it would take to do mine.
Leaving the salon, I started to get really angry and started to get upset, completely out of anger and frustration.
Once I got a hold of myself, my PAs and I sat outside the salon and discussed what to do next.
While we were standing outside the salon, discussing what to do next, one of the nail technicians from the salon came to find us and informed us that the nail technician that started my appointment was crying. Look, I’m sorry that she was crying, but what do you expect us to say?
On hearing the end result at Victoria Nails & Spa, my mom got very angry and phoned them up to make a complaint. Oh. No. They were in trouble now.
Walking through town, we went to find a different salon which offered shellac nails, this was when we found ’Star Nails.’
As soon as we walked into the place and told them I wanted to have shellac nails, the nail technician looked up at me, then took one look at me, saw I was in a wheelchair and said they were too busy to serve me.
I tried asking to fit me in later, but told me a flat out, no. I argued that it was still early in the day and surely they have one appointment, but they refused.
The third place we tried was ‘American Nails.’ Though I was still very upset about what happened at ‘Victoria Nails & Spa’ and ’Star Nails’, I was determined to try once again, so I walked into the salon.
The girl that we spoke to in the salon, seemed very nice and happy to do my nails, but then, someone who looked to be her manager came out and saw me.
For a minute, they seemed to converse in a different language, then the girl turned back to me and told me that the beauticians, that ’specialise’ in this aren’t in the salon today. We just stared at them. Specialise in what, doing nails. It is a nail salon!
Oh, I get it. They mean, the woman that specialises in doing a disabled person’s nails. This was getting ridiculous now!
I was really angry and annoyed by this now, I would understand if I hadn’t had it done before and this was my first time, I had already had shellac put on my nails by a number of beauticians, first at our local salon in Edgbaston and then a number of times by different beauticians at Champneys Health Spa with success every time.
Ready to give up and call it quits, I tried a final salon ‘Miss Nails’. Once I told them what I wanted, I tensed up, preparing for their refusal. I think it was one of the managers I spoke to and he spoke with a few of the other nail technicians and then they said yes!
Moving a few of the chairs around, I positioned and squared myself up in front of a desk and tilted my chair down, so I could fit under the desk and get closer.
Not quite being able to get all the way under the desk, I was worried that having told them I wanted shellac nails, they would give me the same refusal and treatment that I had been receiving all day.
To my absolutely relief and delight, ‘Miss Nails’ suggested that when they do the shellac nails on my left hand, they will bring a small table around and place it on my left – hand side so it would be much less difficult for me and the nail technician.
Once I had a full set of shellac, I was so pleased with them.
I have been back there a number of times with no problem at all. I call it a total success!