Enjoying a little taste of luxury

I used my half an hour wait for the bus productively the other day – with a good old taste of anti-customer service.

A lot of people probably think I’m crazy but I actually really love the way the Chinese don’t screw around. No small talk, no sales pitch, no banter… just a cheap and cheerful service with a monetary exchange at the end. It’s simple, guilt-free and anonymous.

Before you get too suspicious, I’ll let you know I’m talking about an innocent neck and shoulders massage. Stress-relieving, muscle-soothing and time-efficient.

It’s amazing how quickly these shops have popped up all over the place in the last few years. I remember the days when a massage was absolutely not something I could even consider being able to afford. These days, it basically costs $1 a minute and the smallish Westfield across from my work has no less than three of these walk-in pleasure places. One block away the other shopping centre has a fourth – just next to the bus stop.

I can’t possibly imagine how all four of them survive within a block of each other without breaking some kind of law. But that’s another story, I’m sure.

People have mentioned it’s not a great idea to have a cheap and cheerful massage because the workers are probably not trained up to standard. I’m no expert but it feels damn good to me and I think they’re addressing a gap in the market – cheapos like me who would like to be able to afford luxuries but really can’t.

My surfboard shaper story in GC Magazine’s summer issue last year mentioned a concept I think is relevant to these massage places. The cheap Chinese products flooding today’s marketplace might hurt business for local, highly-qualified, expensive competitors in the short-term, but the reality is they’re bringing more people into the marketplace. A much larger number of entry-level consumers are now able to give this a try, and a percentage of those will soon seek the higher quality, higher priced options.

I’m still enjoying where I’m at at the moment, just popping across the road for a quick and easy, appointment-free stress-reliever, whenever I feel the need.

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8 responses

  1. Silly me…I’ve always followed the ‘no pain no gain’ philosophy and ‘you get what you pay for’…which means on the occasions I have a massage its expensive and it hurts….maybe I should try your style of massage….cheap and painless; maybe less stressful to me and my wallet:-)

  2. I half agree with you on the no screwing around buisness.. It is a difficult balance I think. Sometimes things are better without the small talk. Sometimes.
    It is always nice to have someone smile a hello from the chair when you walk into the shop… Even of you don’t want them to get up and talk to you.
    I have still never gotten myself a massage. A little bit scared of the lack of qualifications, and I only want to cough up my $15 for an AMAZING massage. Yet the ones who will guarentee that will charge $115.
    It’s a very fine line.

  3. I haven’t ever had one of these cheapies but my neck could do with one this morning!!!Maybe I will go and have one when the shops open later in the day. The only
    Chinese massage I have had was in Shanghai many years ago and not to be forgotten. It was a full body and I wondered how I would be after they finished but the result really was good.

    • Sounds good! I remember having a foot massage in a Thai shopping centre and I had to try pretty hard to keep still because it tickled so much. It can be such a strange sensation.

  4. Loved it Michelle, think I’ll just dash across Smith St and get one for morning tea. By the way, my elderly Dad does it too, great to have a broad minded parent

  5. I think they’re fine as long as you don’t have any ongoing injuries that should be addressed by qualified professionals. Would hate to see all the expensive physio sessions go to waste or worse yet, reverse any improvements. The quickie massage is kinda like any unqualified partner or friend who might be good enough to work on some aching muscles. Although I went to one in California and it was really good seemed like they had some sort of massage training.

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