In this week’s blog post we are asked to imagine a problem we have encountered with an organization and apply it to one of our communication traditions. I will discuss the recent experience I had with a nail salon.
One afternoon before work, I decided to stop and get my eyebrows waxed at a new nail salon, (new to me) which was close to where I work. Granted, I was already in a hurry and only had about 15 minutes to spare but in my experiences, an eyebrow wax takes about 5 minutes at the most. Also it was a Wednesday morning at about 2:30 pm, so I figured the salon would not be busy. Normally, I would have just waited until the next day to avoid rushing but my eyebrows looked horrible and I didn’t want to wait one more day. A very shallow comment, I know.
As I stepped into the salon, as I figured, it was not that busy. There were about 5 nail techs (4 of which were working on customers) and I noticed an eyebrow wax station (empty) at the back of the shop. Normally I am a pretty patient person when I step into these types of business establishments because I understand the process is usually first come first serve. But there was no one else waiting. So I sit, and I wait. And wait. Without even being acknowledged. One of the nail tech shot me a glance and went back to her work. After 5 minutes (I only 15 minutes to spare to start with) I left out with an exasperated sigh. As I opened the door to leave is when I heard “Can I help you, can I help you?” Well at that point it was too late. My issue was not so much that I had to wait but that I wasn’t even acknowledged and told to wait or that “Someone would be with you”, or even asked “What did you need done today?” I have visited nail salons for years and have never had that experience. I made up my mind that even through it was convenient and close to my job; I wouldn’t try the place again because to me their service was unprofessional.
I want to examine this issue I had to the socio cultural tradition. The socio cultural tradition is focused on the shared meanings and interpretations of an organization. (Littlejohn & Foss, 2011) Every organization has a culture: shared rules, norms, values and practices that are used and accepted n the organization.
As much as I do not want to think discrimination was the reason why I was not helped, I couldn’t help but notice that no one in the salon -nail techs or customers – were of my race (African American). This is a common occurrence so it could have very well have been a coincidence or could not had anything to do with it at all. It could have been that I was someone new who they hadn’t saw before, not one of their frequent customers. Maybe they though I was there to wait on one of the customers that were being helped. It also could have been my own fault for being assertive and speaking up when I first arrived, however no one was at the front of the salon, and I didn’t want to yell across the room nor did I feel that I should have had to. I also felt that at least after waiting for 5 minutes (which seems like an eternity when you are in a rush), I should have at least been spoken to.
I feel like the employees of the salon acted in distancion- “not associating what they were doing with larger structure.” (p. 311) By them not offering to help or even acknowledging me, I will not visit the salon again and will not have a favorable review for friends/ family. In salon, word of mouth reviews are important so while they may not have noticed what they were doing by not welcoming or acknowledging one customer, it could cause the business to lose other customers in the future.
I also feel that the structure of the organization was not acceptable. When you have customers coming in the front door, if there is no one at the front desk to welcome them, it leaves the customer waiting with no explanation or acknowledgement and doesn’t give a good first impression. The salon could have communicated better with me as a customer instead of waiting until I was out of the door to offer assistance, creating a better climate: collective description to shape performance of organization. (p. 312) Nevertheless, I rushed off to work with bad eyebrows and a lesson learned to not wait until the last minute when in need of a cosmetic service.
Littlejohn, S. W. and Foss, K.A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc