This is from about two months ago, but I could use the venting.
On occasion, I'll go tanning. I'm not one of those people who go every week, but if I'm trying to build a base tan or if I have an event I'd rather not look like a china doll for, I'll get a cheap package just to get some color. It's faster and easier then laying out in the sun and being oogled by my neighbors.
Since last September I've been going to the same place. It's a family owned place, not a chain, and the people are really nice, so I go back anytime I feel like I need some fake sun. Up until recently, I'd never had a problem with them.
I was getting ready for a week at the beach. I didn't want to get burnt on the first day then spend the rest of my vacation hooked up to an aloe IV, so I was building up a base tan. After about two sessions, nothing was really happening. I assumed I was as tan as the fake 'n bake was gonna get me, so I just stopped going and got ready for some good old fashioned natural sun.
I came back from the beach a lot darker, which is understandable. Tanning beds don't work as well as the sun does. But since I had one session left before the month ran out (I had two days to use the session or lose it), I decided to go in for the whole 15 minutes and get rid of some tan lines.
Every time I go in there, I'll get a slight burn if I'm in there for more than about 10 minutes on skin that hasn't had any sun at all. So you can imagine my surprise when the skin hidden by tan lines that was totally white hadn't even turned pink after 15 minutes under the lights.
Tanning bed tans take a while to kick in, so I waited a day and still nothing. After much complaining to my friends, I found out my best friend's friend used to work there. She told me that the family who owns the place tries to spend as little as possible. Not unusual for small business owners, but this was a bit much. They diluted the disinfectant spray used to clean the beds so they wouldn't have to buy it as much. They over charge for lotions, goggles, etc. Mainly though, they wouldn't replace the bulbs in the beds until they burned out (the UV in the bulbs dies out before the bulbs themselves die out). The only bulbs they replaced on a regular basis were the ones in the super ultra (most expensive) stand up booth.
Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off when I found out about this. I assumed that since someone who used to work there told me they don't replace the bulbs as frequently as they're supposed to, and this was the only time I'd had a problem with them, they'd received more than one complaint and would understand that I wasn't full of shit.
Here's how the conversation went when I called.
Me - That'sa me.
TB - Tanning Bitch - sounded about 18-20.
TB: *phone speil*
Me: Hi. *asking kindly, knowing the attitude this question usually sparks* May I speak with a manager, please?
TB: *tone turns defensive* Uh, I'm a manager. What can I help you with?
Me: I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass. I've been coming there for almost a year and have never had a problem. However, I came in recently for a 15 minute session to balance out some tanlines. Those areas were completely white and after 15 minutes I still had no color at all. Since I usually burn after about 10 minutes, I'm assuming the bulbs had gone bad but hadn't been changed yet. I just want a refund for that tan since I didn't get what I paid for.
TB: *long sigh* Well. Tanning beds aren't as powerful as the real sun so you can't expect to get darker in a tanning bed then you would from going outside.
Me: *?* Right, I wasn't trying to get tanner everywhere. I just expected to balance out the white spots a little, but after 15 minutes I had no color at all on those white spots, when usually it only takes about 10 minutes for me to burn.
TB: Well I just changed the bulbs so there isn't a problem with our bed. Maybe you just don't tan easily.
Me: (wtf?!) Well, since I came in over a week ago, there's a good chance I was in just before the bulbs were changed, which would explain why I didn't get the results I usually get from your salon.
TB: *pause* So you got a package? And you want it refunded?
Me: No. I did get a package, but I only want a refund for the one tan that didn't work.
TB: Well, our computers are down right now. How am I supposed to know you're not just trying to scam me?
WHAT THE FUCK?! If I was trying to scam the place, wouldn't I say I had a more expensive package and not the cheapest one they offer?
Me: Well, you could wait until the computers are back up then check my account and you'll know I'm not trying to scam you. Also, if I was trying to scam you, don't you think I'd try to get more money out of this?
TB: Since you only got *least expensive package* there's nothing I can do. Maybe if you had gotten *most expensive package* then I could do something, but you only got *least expensive package*.
What the hell is that?! After that, she did some back pedaling and offered me a "free upgrade" to the next level bed for the one session that didn't work, but wouldn't return my money. "Well I can give you a free upgrade for one session, but I can't give your money back. We don't do refunds here." I'd tried the other bed once before that and knew to decline the offer. The other bed is more powerful, so to save money, they take out every other bulb in the bed, so you end up with stripes. I wasn't about to accept an offer for a faulty product, but at least she offered me something.
Still, I think her behavior was totally uncalled for. I realize no one wants to hear "Can I talk to a manager about a refund" but I'd paid for something I hadn't received. I paid for 15 minutes of baking under some cancer bulbs and I got 15 minutes of florescent light. Plus, she mentioned while she was talking to me that the bulbs were just recently changed, but she couldn't accept the possibility that I'd been in before the bulbs had gotten changed? Needless to say, I haven't gone back.