Thursday, May 03, 2007

Providing a friendly service

I have a friend who is in massage school. Last weekend we were chatting about the techniques she had recently learned and she asked if I wanted a massage. How could I turn it down?

So I got the massage but then when she was done she acted really uncomfortable. I asked her what was up and she said her fee is usually $20. I didn't really know what to do because I thought she was doing it as a favor, so I just ended the conversation and left.

If your friend was in massage school and offered you a massage, would you pay her or expect it for free?

Relaxed yet tense

Dear Relaxed,

When I am the recipient of a service, I expect to be told certain things. What can I choose? How long will it take? What are the side effects? How much will it cost?

But this happens when I'm in a doctor's office or a hair salon. I have come to them for a service, specifically, and expect to pay for it. You, on the other hand, said you would be a recipient of a service that your friend is still learning. You did not receive this service in a massage parlor, and it was under the guise of showing off her talents.

Every good friend gives some freebies. For me, it was discounting the occasional friend sub when I worked at delis. For her, it is showing off a skill she is learning to friends.

It's up to you on how to handle this. Depending on her personality, she may get really offended if you don't pay her. Why not try talking to her, recap the situation and explain you didn't realize she wasn't doing this for free? Either way, be careful about future massage offers from that friend. You're better off sticking with the professionals.

Aunt Amy


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