Satisfaction /ˌsadəsˈfakSH(ə)n/ – n. fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this
A few weeks ago, while preparing Sunday dinner, I was seasoning some ribs. Ribs are my husband’s favorite, and I haven’t fixed any in a while; so, I wanted to make sure they were really good and satisfying for him.
As I was ensuring to get the seasoning all over the ribs (even in the hidden crevices), I managed to get seasoning under my fingernails.
Now, for those who know me, it is known that I haven’t worn nails for twenty-four years. Why, you ask?
When I was twenty-four years old and a new mom, I was handling my son and accidentally scratched him on his nose. It hurt my feelings so bad that I went almost immediately to have the nails taken off. Since then, I haven’t worn nails. . . until this year.
I figured since my son was turning twenty-four, I had satisfied my self-imposed sentence of going nail-less long enough. Plus, with the book tours and book signings, pictures and videos, having a nice set of nails couldn’t hurt anything.
My most recent fill-in I got while I was in New Orleans. My husband had decided on an impromptu family trip for my daughter’s Gotcha Day that didn’t lend me time to get my nails done before we left. At the recommendation of my niece, I was directed to a very nice nail salon in Jefferson Parish. I was a bit skeptical about going to another salon because I try to stay consistent and loyal to receive my services from the same place to avoid possible products that might be incompatible. But we had tickets to both the New Orleans Pelicans and Saints games, so I dared not to be raggedy. LOL!
MORE THAN SATISFIED
I’ll just say, the salon I was referred to was wonderful – the set up, the ambiance, and even more the conversation and service. The technicians were very helpful with making sure we understood their procedures and services offered. When they learned we were visiting, they went out of their way even more to ensure we were satisfied.
Coincidentally, the technician doing my daughter’s nails, once she learned we lived in Georgia, mentioned that at one time, she had also lived about three hours away from us. This gave us a place of commonality and conversation. We talked about life, kids, housework, recipes, things we like to do for fun. . . The experience was the most satisfying I’ve had in a while.
When it was time to pay, the nail tech even cut us some slack on my daughter’s set – my daughter, who apparently had gone through a nail chipper in less than a week. The technician should have charged us for another full set, however, she only charged us for a fill-in and decided that her conversation with my daughter about the importance of being careful and appreciative was enough. I was grateful; especially because I only allow my daughter this luxury because she was a horrible nail biter, and getting her nails done prevents that. Oh! And did I mention, this was THE best set of nails that I’ve ever had? The feel, shape, color, quality and service all made me wish that this was my regular experience. I was thoroughly satisfied.
I DON’T GET NO SATISFACTION
The truth is, for months now, I’ve been dissatisfied with the service that I’ve been receiving at my regular salon. There have been times where I felt I was overlooked and even times when I felt I was ignored. The communication and expectation are unclear. If I give an example of what I’d like, that option or anything close is not possible. Expected time of completion is uncertain, and the customer service is mediocre at best. Yet, I’ve continued to patronize the establishment because of its familiarity and convenience. You see, I’ve known the owners for years and I know they’ll always get me in. Unfortunately, still, I haven’t been satisfied with the quality of service or lack thereof for quite some time.
I’ve brought my dissatisfaction up more than once to the owner, and even though I’m a little upset in the moment, I usually resolve to be calm. But it was after my most recent visit that I said, “Enough is enough. I will not forgo satisfaction for loyalty and convenience.”
THE MIDDLE FINGER
I was preparing for my most recent school visit and book reading, still with my same set of beautiful nails that I got done in New Orleans. As I was picking up the box I needed to carry, I immediately realized that my hand was in an awkward position. Trying to preserve my nails, I put the box down; only to find that I was too late. The nail on my middle finger had broken. How’s that for irony? The middle finger.
After I left the school from my reading, I headed straight to the nail salon (my regular spot) to get it repaired. The owner told me that he would be taking care of the repair for my one finger. “This should be quick and easy,” I thought to myself. Psyche!
He began by prepping the nail, filing it down, and adding the acrylic. Then he went into buffing and shaping it. Pretty standard procedure, but there was only one problem…the shape was off.
That middle finger looked nothing like the other nine. I brought the discrepancy to his attention; and looking a little vexed, he acted as though he was trying to correct it to my satisfaction. But after a couple of runs with the buffer and about three swipes with the file, he TOLD ME it looked better. Well, that was false. It didn’t look better.
JUST ADD GLITTER
When he got up to get the polish, I grabbed the file myself and tried to see if I could correct the shape. It was no use. The problem with the shaping had less to do with the top of the nail and more to do with the base; which could have only been corrected with more buffing and narrowing the sides. This nail was too wide, and it was obvious.
Then, to add insult to injury, we couldn’t find a color to match. I often do nude colors because they’re clean and simple, but there just wasn’t a match to come close enough not to be noticed. For the most part, though, the problem with the color was really on me. This is the problem you stand to face when you use different salons. Different brands and batches aren’t guaranteed to match. So, I suggested, just add a glitter coat to the top and we’ll just make it blend in and look as though that’s the color we intended for it to be. He agreed.
CAN THIS BE FIXED?
As I waited for my goddaughter, who had come with me, to finish her fill-in, I kept glancing at my middle finger. It just didn’t look good. It was big
and bulky, and out of alignment with all the other nails. I was completely dissatisfied. So, I mentioned it again.
Me: “Can’t you tell that this nail doesn’t look AT ALL like the other ones?”
Nail Tech: “That’s because of the way your nail is shaped. I had to apply the acrylic that way so that it won’t chip.”
Me: “But it doesn’t look like the other nails, and before it did. And, it’s never been this wide before.”
Nail Tech: “That’s your nail. It’s not me.”
Now, the inner me (or the enemy) wanted to just flip the table over and yell of my dissatisfaction. But, instead, I SETTLED for what I received and said to myself, “When I get my next fill-in, I’ll get it corrected. I only have a week. Besides, the glitter camouflages it for the most part,”
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Fast forward to me preparing the ribs with seasoning settled under my fingernails. As I washed, dried, and examined my hand, that middle finger stuck out like a sore thumb. No pun intended. And then it DAWN-ed on me, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! You will not return to a place where you’re not satisfied – fulfilled in your wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from those things – for a pretentious sense of loyalty and convenience. Not at a nail salon or anywhere else for that matter.”
LOYALTY AND SATISFACTION ARE NOT NECESSARILY CONGRUENT
As I mentioned before, though I recently added having my fingernails done this summer, I’ve been going to this nail salon for over a decade. And now I’m ashamed to admit that I.have.long.been.dissatisfied. But, the truth is, I settled for familiarity and convenience. I told myself, “I know the people.” AND “It’s only a short distance from my house.”
BUT…these people that “I know” are not honoring MY loyalty. Their treatment, nor their communication, is indicative of valuing me as a consistent customer. They do not provide all the services that I am interested in; nor do they take my concerns into consideration. So you know what? I’M OUT!
DON’T COMPROMISE SATISFACTION
Listen. I’ve decided, whether it be my nails, my car, my relationships, my hair, my faith…if it doesn’t serve me, consider me, advance me, or enhance me…it cannot retain my loyalty by default.
I will no longer settle for MEDIOCRITY from someone else TOWARDS ME. . . to make them “appear” EXCEPTIONAL to OTHERS. (READ THAT AGAIN)
When we continue to give service and honor to establishments, organizations, and people who don’t reciprocate the appreciation, we are ultimately giving an inaccurate reference or stamp of approval for others on the outside.
No, I’m gonna need everyone who falls in the above categories to learn one (or several) of the following:
- Read the Room – What is the temperature (mood) or facial expression of the people? You do know you can pick up on whether people are satisfied or not by how they look or what they say or don’t say, right?!
- Remain Engaged – Regular communication invites authentic feedback.
- Ask questions – “Are you happy with your service?” “What could I do to provide better satisfaction?”
- Perform Market Research – What are others doing in this field to create impact and influence?
These are just a few ways to bring understanding to whether or not NEEDS and SATISFACTION are being met.
Then, do a self assessment by asking the questions,
- Why do people connect with us?
- Why do those we serve stay or leave?
FIND WHAT SERVES (SATISFIES) YOU
I’m a believer that we find our people. Everyone is not meant to serve us or to connect with us on all levels. But, those who we’ve chosen to commit to and align ourselves with. . . should be approached with clarity and understanding. If not, we can’t take it personal when they choose to move on. And if YOU’RE the one moving on, don’t feel bad. Keep this thought in mind. . .
There are things that you need, and places you need to get to,
that must be cultivated by the right people and environments.
Those needs can’t be met, settling for what others have concluded is enough for you.
We have to realize that where we may be serving others with both of our hands; they, in turn, may only be giving us a finger. Figuratively or literally. We may find that the service or relationship is misshapen, discolored, or misaligned. And even though we’ve recognized it for a while, all we’ve chosen to do is like I did with the fingernail…just throw a little glitter on it and hope that everyone can just look past it. Thinking to ourselves, “If it blends in a little, no one will notice; and we’ll try to fix it later.” When ultimately, the only person we’re fooling is ourselves.
SATISFACTION OVER GLITTER
Listen, I know that this has all come about because of a fingernail; but, I sincerely hope that you’ve gotten some of the same insight that I did from this whole experience. In relationships, services received, or in business…know when it’s time to move on for your betterment and satisfaction. Some components of loyalty are actually you staying long enough to allow others to hear your grievance or suggestions; and they then make a decision to change. . .or not. If they hear your cry, but choose not to take heed, brush the dust (or glitter) off your feet and keep it moving.
Like I realized with my glittered middle finger, what it takes to make things better may not merely be filing what’s up top, but buffing down what’s at the base or root of the problem. My friend, you deserve to be satisfied; even if you have to forgo what seems familiar and convenient at the moment.
Remember, you’re working on you; and not everyone is committed to that process. So, don’t fool yourself or let your feelings be hurt.
Have you ever seen the animated movie, “Trolls?” As kind as she was, even Lady Glitter-Sparkles was exposed for not being true to who she really was. A subtle example that GLITTER, my friend, is not an appropriate camouflage when you’re working on being the best authentic version of YOU. ~Dawn
P.S. I’ve decided I’m on my last set of nails. I tried a different place and still wasn’t satisfied. So. . . natural it is.
Thank you for taking the time to read my words and to hear my heart. Life is too short to settle for what doesn’t bring satisfaction; especially those things within our control. Choose YOU on purpose, so that you (with God’s help) can be a better you for others.
I hope my thoughts and this message have helped you to have a different perspective on expecting satisfaction, and those parts of your life where you’ve chosen to settle. Please share with me, what, if anything, do you plan to let go of or voice your dissatisfaction about? Be intentional about it, Sunshine, because your LIGHT depends on it.
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November is Adoption Awareness Month. If you know an adoptive family like mine, and a child who could benefit from understanding how valuable they are to the family who chose them to keep and to love; tell them about HEEEYY DANDELION. Heeeyy Dandelion is a children’s book that gently addresses childhood self-esteem, honesty, and belonging in a way that provokes thought and empathy, and helps to foster dialogue to move toward progress and strengthen family relationships. Get the storybook, journal, and/or coloring book.