Monday, May 12, 2008

big vs small business

Yesterday I went to "swap meet" which is a huge ourdoor shopping area in a parking lot of a local stadium. Local small vendors sell all kinds of things, from junk plastic to clothing to gold. Each vendor sets their own small tent and sells. There is no "quality control" or anything like that. The prices, of course, are lower than in big shops.

I was there with a friend who sells jewelery, promoting my business, treating it as a huge "expo". Eventually, I had a free minute and visited the next door booth, where a young and rather sharp Chinese-American lady (a business major from the local university) sold coral and turquoise necklaces.

There were some neclaces that looked like died imitation, and I asked her about it and she said yes, that wasn't real. I asked her if the rest are real coral, and where did she get it from? She said it came from China, where supposedly there is lots of it. (I cannot remember what she said - maybe bamboo coral?)

There were some necklaces that looked like red coral, which I need to get, so I asked her if those were red coral? She said YES, they ARE read coral. I asked her how much? She said $35 but she can give it to me for $20.

Then I went to get a friend who has a booth with jewelery. My friend asked a few questions and the saleslady said that indeed, the coral was not red, it was just died. So, she lied to me.

So, that's why naturally a lot of people gravitate towards true-and-tested BIG CORPORATIONS. There are standards ensuring a certain level of quality.

So, it probably starts like a little vendor like the one I dealt with, but a vendor with better business ethics and skills, plus the talent to manage others and typically pay them little, and make profits that way. Most people are mediocre and cannot lead but are forced into working for someone else.

Which explains the spa situation. Although the spa pays VERY LITTLE to massage therapists and thus gets only schmuk (as long as they are well groomed - but even that is not obligatory! I have seen spas with very bad looking and bad dressed therapists...), people will go there because at least they know it **should be** clean, etc.

Well... I have seen dirty spas too. I have seen a spa - owned by a rather fancy name in a rather fancy hotel in a rather fancy location - where the door knob was CAKED solid with dirt from oily hands, etc. Dust under the table. Dust on the silk plants. Garbage in the flower pots. They never cleaned the place... But people paid $150 for less than 50 mins of massage. Because? they THOUGHT that a spa should be....

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

not knowing

Today (Wed) a woman called me, and her neck was in pain. She wanted an appointment on Friday during the day, it was her day off. I could see her Wed, Th or Fr at 7:30pm, because I had other clients, because I am going to be taking Bowen therapy class, and because my building is being remodeled till 6pm. I tried to explain all that and offer her appointment for the next evening (somehow I forgot about the same evening and she didn't ask for it). But she did not want to drive at night. Fine. Friday was her day off and she didn't want to wait all day for the massage either. I told her that I don't know too many people who can fix necks, and I have done it before. So she said she will find someone for this Friday and asked me if she can see me NEXT Saturday. I said no, that's my vacation. I am going to the African drum and dance camp, once every two years. She didn't ask for any other days and brushed me off rather loudly saying that I was "busy" and she will keep on looking. Well, good luck to her. Later I remembered I forgot to say that I could see her on Sunday afternoon.

For me, it was interesting to observe how unwilling I was to compromise. That's influence of my ex-boyfriend, who recently showed up after 7 months and wants to resume where he left off, and I am kicking and screaming. He didn't show up with flowers and I do not like it.

The incident with the woman showed me that it was time to ditch the guy. In life, there is only limited energy, and we have to use it wisely, by hanging out with people who support us and nurture us. If a close associate is draining, then forget it, it is not worth it. That was a hard lesson for me to learn, as this woman shows.

Sometimes we just need to be realistic and see it for what it is. At this point, I have no idea what I am seeing - am I too rude and impatient, am I just protecting myself (that would be an accomplishment) or what. The only thing that I do know is that when conversations like with this woman happen, I am not in a good space and must change asap.

In massage business, some people expect pampering. I don't really give too much of it in terms of bending over to kiss their shoes. If they want it, they want it, I am nice, if they don't - well, good luck, wherever you are going! This woman wanted something I could not give her, because I was totally drained by this guy who makes me feel like I am fighting windmills - evertything is a struggle. I was not willing to patiently talk with the woman and help her decide and negotiate with me. Oh well...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Love is necessary like food or air

I think a whole web page on relationships is in order. Relationships are very much related to our health, healing, and happiness.

Last month, my ex-boyfriend tried to come back, after 7 months of absence. In such cases, one needs to "show up with flowers" and he didn't. Needless to say, I just chased him away. He kept on coming back, without flowers, and I kept on shooing him away.

It lasted for 1.5 months. During that time, I was totally disoriented. Here is this person who is supposed to love me, and on some level he does, I can feel that; but he doesn't show it in practical life and in relating to me. So, he is out, as simple as that.

So, I was rather stuck. In retrospect, the understanding that we have here in Hawaii about relationships and relating is very much in aloha spirit, and we take it for granted. Compassion, consideration, forgiveness, kindness, harmony, etc. are all ingrained. My ex is a Minnesota church-going "stiff white male" ridden with certain guilt and stiffness, and lives in S. California, the land of greed, grabbing, and competiton. He is super responsible and hard working, but unaware of what makes aloha aloha. He is happy when it is there and suffers when it's not there, but is not aware of what makes it so.

When there is aloha, it feels good! When there is no aloha, there is no life! As simple as that.

We talked about it. Explaining aloha is rather easy, actually. Every competent self-help modality and spiritual literature spells out aloha. It is extremely simple: always be sincere, be kind, etc. We tried practicing it. It works. It is a wonderful sense of opening, being able to breathe again, connect with All Life. It has a refreshing effect on everything.

What we practiced is "marriage yoga", the highest form of yoga. Can I still be kind etc. when I am invested in wanting something - wanting the other person to "love me" and give me their attention in the way I want - can I still be kind and selfless?

This fear that prevents us from Connecting.

Am I willing to be willing to expose my ego to myself?

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