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.