Prejudiced or Good Business Practice?


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Dear Readers,

Being an African American, I tend to be very sensitive to predjudice, not only that of others, but my own. Very recently, I had a very weird experience that left me angry and hurt. Now, I am not sure if I am being overly sensitive, but I am still bothered enough to make a mention of it here on my blog and get your opinion.

As I get older, I feel it is best to make an effort to look my best. Last week, I went to a high-end facial doctor here in New York City who I had heard great things about. Initially, I was greeted by a sweet receptionist who told me about the high-end celebrity clients they treat and the treatment itself. I was led into the doctor’s office where I had a great meeting with the doctor who told me that I could start the treatment right there and then, time permitting. I thought this was a wonderful idea and agreed to get things moving. The doctor excused himself and a very curt lady with a rude look on her face entered the room and explained the treatment would be $1,600.00. I thought, “Wow, at that price, I had better walk out of here looking 40!”

This is where things got weird.

I thought, “Well, my insurance will not cover my vanity, so I’ll hand over my credit card as I walk out of the office.” This is normal procedure in my experience and thought nothing of it. Ms. Angry Lady, however, was not having it. In fact, she rudely insisted that I get up at that moment from the examination table and go to the front desk to pay for my treatment. I was floored. I could not help but to feel that she was concerned about my integrity and/or ability to pay her. I wondered, if I were one of her high-end celebrity clients would she have behaved this way? Then, the painful question: was she doing this because I was black?

The whole exchange really brought down an exciting moment and poured salt on what had been, until that point, a lovely experience. I started to think about how my number-one business rule of “get paid in full before doing any event” may make my own clients feel.

What are your thoughts about this experience and the rule itself? Am I being too sensitive about this or was she right to insist on being paid up-front?



(Photo Courtesy of Celeste Prize)