Just a question: how does a middle aged balding man convince two 22-year-old girls to hand over £60 cash outside South Kensington tube station? The answer: I have no idea, but that is what happened to us at the beginning of this week.
To set this story in context, the previous day I was talked into believing that I was in dire need of an exfoliating gel and primer or my face would become an old lady. The price: £65. It’s been a week and my face looks the same. So I really wasn’t in the position to be spending money frivolously. And yet, when another such misleading opportunity presented itself, I was only too happy to part with 60 of my well-earned pounds. Why, you ask? I SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE ON MY OWN. Or with my equally clueless best friend.
We were in a jolly mood having just enjoyed lunch by the Thames and a visit to the Tate Modern (to criticise every painting and assert the belief that we could do better, obviously). Emerging into the sun unsuspectingly, we were asked by the aforementioned man if we would like to talk about our hair. Who’s going to say no to that? Everyone likes to talk about their hair! Having pounced on us, he promptly opened his brochure of evil and described what seemed to us to be the most amazing deal in the world. Haircut at a top salon, spa day with free hair and makeup goodies [“Do you like champagne?” he asks. Of course we do!], and the deal breaker: free entry to London’s top nightclubs for a year. The price: £500, but for us, only £60. It seemed too good to be true, and whenever that thought crosses your mind – IT IS.
Being us, we didn’t ask any questions and when he suggested we get out cash and pay him now, we did. We are obviously not accustomed to the wicked ways of London life and like to assume that everyone is happy and friendly and wants to give us free stuff. Signing our lives away, we had the sense to do a quick read of the T&C’s… not realising that we were reading the wrong section. Our high spirits lasted the whole walk from the station as we convinced ourselves this was a great investment and a good start to our new cosmopolitan lives.
Only when we arrived home did we read the small print properly and came to the realisation that the haircut we had just been sold wasn’t actually included in the price. Then we saw the dark side and began doubting the whole thing – the nightclub free entry appeared to be a scam, whilst the spa day was just a glorified makeover that we didn’t even want. Who wants a cringe photo of themselves posing like a wannabe model? What an earth are we going to do with that? (Thoughts that should have occurred to us before we gave our money to a strange man).
On my way back to the station I saw he was still standing there so worked myself up to give him a piece of my mind. But to be honest, I’m just too British. He convinced me all over again that we’d got an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime deal, and said we were the happiest girls he’d seen today. Happy in this sense equals ridiculously naïve. But then again, is that such a bad thing? So I’m £60 poorer but at least the salon man gets his commission and we made his day. I somehow left what was meant to be an argument thanking him whilst he wished me good luck and kissed me on both cheeks. Hopefully in the future alarm bells will go off if I ever find myself in a similar situation, but for now I should probably just avoid people in general as I really can’t be parting with any more money!