Sun Stories: Summer – 2016 to Present – Night Shift Salon Girl

“How did 4 go from Dirty to Available and none of
us even touched it?”

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In the Spring around April/May it’s our busiest time of year at the tanning salon. We absolutely have to have two people working at night. It gets so busy that one person just can’t handle it.

With all of the weddings, proms, graduations, formals, and people taking vacations and getting their “base” on for the summer we get inundated with clients.

So we need to hire somebody to help us out.

Summer, was that hire. I loved little Haley from last year. I’ve written about her. (Haley – 2016 to Present – Lightning in a Bottle) She was great. A fast, efficient worker who could move the clients and stay on top of our other duties.

I wished we could have gotten her back, but she had already secured a part-time job at a restaurant in town.

Summer has been a client of ours for over 2 years. She’s been coming here to tan since she was a freshman at Temple. Achilles suggested that we approach her to work here for the busy season. To me she was just another girl who came in here and did spray and UV tanning, but I suppose Achilles saw something in her.

He finally got a hold of her and got her schedule and it was a match. Monday through Friday, 3pm to 8pm.

You know when you have that co-worker that you really like, and they leave, and then they’re replaced by that new person, that you know will never be as good as your old co-worker?

Well that’s where I was. I’m sure we’ve all been there. But here’s the thing. I love little Haley. She’s great.

But Summer? She turned out to be amazing.

When I started at the salon it took me a week to learn everything. I had to have Achilles stay with me while I worked for days. I was so nervous about what I was doing and it felt like it took me forever to master all of the jobs and tasks of the place. I’m not kidding. I’m a smart guy, but I’m sure Achilles felt like he was dealing with someone who had fetal alcohol syndrome!

Summer? Crushed the whole place in two days.

Originally, Achilles was just going to have her run around and clean beds, but on day one she was learning the system, and every aspect of the job. By the end of the week this brown-eyed blonde was selling lotions and up selling clients to the premium packages.

I was very impressed and so was Achilles. Just a brilliant hire.

Summer told me she never had a job before. She just wanted to show her parents she could earn her own money while in school. She’s a finance major at the university. She also wants to learn Chinese so she can do international finance when she graduates college. Yea, this chick is smart as a whip.

She did such an excellent job we want to get her back again after the summer break is over. When we add the fitness area, we’d also like her to work there as a trainer.

The customers like her. She’s really fast and efficient. She’s got the personality that this place needs, and she loves tanning. She’s comfortable discussing any aspect of UV or spray tanning. She sometimes likes to do the darkest bronzer on herself just to be that dark. And since she goes to Temple, she knows a lot of our clientele already. They’re her classmates.

I came in once on a Friday, and was looking forward to working with her that night. I’m coming out from the back and I see Trish instead of Summer up at the counter.

“Where’s Summer?”

“She took the night off for her birthday.”

I actually started feeling angry that I had to work with Trish instead of Summer. That’s how much I liked working with her. (She just turned 20 and took the night off to celebrate her birthday)

Sounds like the perfect employee right? Comes in early. Stays late. Good attitude. Can stay two steps ahead of what’s going on at the salon. Just a dream employee.

Apparently, she’s also a whiz in school. All A’s and B’s. She has a heavy course load but she works her ass off studying and passing her tests. She’s like the perfect kid.

Or is she?

 

I think I was working with her the first week when she told me this story.

She was out one night in the city with her friends. They all carry fake ID’s these kids now. I don’t mean those shitty laminated fake State ID’s from my generation. The stuff they have now looks like the real deal. The technology is just incredible. They pay around $80 for what looks exactly like a Pennsylvania Driver’s License. It has all of their info on it but the only thing that’s different is their date of birth. By all accounts they are 21 years of age, the legal drinking age in this state.

When I was growing up and down at the shore in New Jersey, the drinking age was 18. I think that’s fair. I really do. They have since raised it to 21, and it’s probably that number everywhere now.

What I don’t understand about this law is, you can vote, buy a gun, work in porn, and serve in our country’s military all at the age of 18. But you can’t buy a beer.

It’s bullshit!

Anyway, All of these kids have these high-tech, fake ID’s now that really look exactly like the real deal and they are all getting into bars and nightclubs to party out. I’ve seen these fake IDs. Haley had one and showed it to me last year. Looked like it had been issues by the DMV. Really good.

So Summer tells me that she and her friend were out the other night bar hopping and just doing what college girls do. After awhile they end up down at Sugarhouse Casino. Summer walks in and of course she gets carded. The security guy looks at her ID and looks at her.

“Is this ID real?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“One moment.”

He goes in the back and what we’re assuming at this point he is running it through some sort of scanner.

He comes back out flanked by two security guards and the police. They tell her the ID is a fake and that she’s under arrest.

“What?”

Now normally if kids get caught trying to use a fake ID at a bar or nightclub and they’re discovered, they are turned away and/or the ID is confiscated. But this is a casino. A state regulated organization.

Attempting entrance to a casino with a fake ID is a felony that can carry with it a large fine and jail time.

Yea. This honor student could go in the can and end up with a felonious criminal record that would ruin her chances of ever having a career in the financial industry.

That is some serious shit.

I can’t believe she’s told me this terrible tale. I feel so bad for her because I really like Summer.

So she lawyers up. I tell her to wear something nice and demure to court, and act really, really sorry for what she did. Show real remorse. (Or at least put on her best performance of pretending she’s sorry) She thinks the charges are crazy and is still acting repugnant about the whole thing but agrees with me.

Her court appearance comes up and I tell her to text me when they reach a verdict.

I’m worrying about her all day. I’m praying that they won’t throw the book at her. She’s a young girl with no priors. Not even a parking ticket. She’s a straight A student, and she didn’t even get in and buy a drink or drop a single quarter in a slot machine. She simply attempted to enter the wrong place with a fake ID. I know it’s wrong and so does she, but we’ve all done it.

The text finally comes after 2pm that afternoon.

“You were right! $200 fine and a class. No felony. No jail time!”

What a fucking relief. I’m so happy for her. I hope my favorite employee and “little outlaw” has learned her lesson. I’ll write more as things happen in her life.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday 8am EST.

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Sun Stories: Seasonal Affective Disorder and Tanning Salons

“The problem is primarily caused by the lack of sunlight. It has been scientifically proven that sunlight favors increase in serotonin levels and favors vitamin D accumulation. Besides having anti-osteoporotic, immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, antipsoriatic, antioxidant properties, vitamin D is also a mood-modulator.”

UV rays exposure favors vitamin D synthesis in the skin. That’s why people who go to tanning salons have noticed mood improvement and keep the habit in order to maintain the state of well-being.

Now that we’re heading into winter, we’ve had a few people come into the salon saying they want to hop in a sunbed to help combat SAD. People suffering from seasonal affective disorder report feeling better after a visit at the tanning salon for a tanning bed session.

With the arrival of the cold season, besides cold-driven nuisance, some people experience drawbacks regarding the general state, lack of energy and depression of unknown origin. It was scientifically ascertained that the lack of light favors the production of melatonin by the pineal gland, a hormone inducing sleep. That’s why, during the cold seasons when days are shorter and the sunlight is scarce, we often feel sleepy or drowsy. Also, even during spring and summer, if the tendency is to keep most of the time indoors at home or at the office, the effect may be similar, though not as severe.

Well, if drowsiness were the only impact generated by season changes, things would be easier to solve (with a little coffee maybe!). The problem is that melatonin secretion is synchronized with the production of a neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is involved in several physiological processes such as temperature, blood-pressure regulation and in neuropsychological functions such as appetite, memory and mood. The two do not work together at the same time. When melatonin is secreted, serotonin production is inhibited. Lack of serotonin causes disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome and reflects its effects on mood also, triggering depression in some persons.

Melatonin is active at night and serotonin is active in the daytime. Also, there is the age factor that contributes to the balance of the two chemicals: the secretion of melatonin decreases with age. There has been established that the link between serotonin and melatonin along with their dependence on the body clock may explain the depression experienced by the people suffering from the disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD. Depression, sleep problems, weight gain, anxiety, joint pain, irritability, stress, headaches are some of the symptoms that may appear when we suffer from SAD.

The problem is primarily caused by the lack of sunlight. It has been scientifically proven that sunlight favors increase in serotonin levels and favors vitamin D accumulation. Besides having anti-osteoporotic, immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, antipsoriatic, antioxidant properties, vitamin D is also a mood-modulator.

UV rays exposure favors vitamin D synthesis in the skin. That’s why people who go to tanning salons have noticed mood improvement and keep the habit in order to maintain the state of well-being.

Light therapy represents a way to treat SAD. Light operates on the body in two ways: through skin impact or by entering your eyes. Only UV light has effects on the skin, while the light that has effects by entering your eyes needs not be UV, it just has to be bright. Its energizing effect comes from the fact that it stimulates the production of serotonin. The simplest way to get enough bright light is to spend an hour a day or more outdoors, where the light levels range from 1,000 to 50,000 lux or more, compared to room lighting, which is about 50-200 lux.

If your schedule or the weather does not permit it, an alternative is to purchase a light therapy device. For optimum effects, the light source either has to be very bright – 5,000 lux or more – or it has to be in a particular spectrum – around 460 nanometers, which is in the blue range. According to new research, blue range light will provide benefits even if at a dimmer level. Most companies producing light bulbs make full spectrum lights that may successfully replace sunlight.

Yet, there are side effects that bright artificial light may induce, namely it may interfere with sleep (especially when exposure is made in the evening hours) or even trigger in some people a mania – condition called bipolar disorder (known as manic depression).

The safest remains the natural outdoor light, on condition that UV protection is used.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Sun Stories: Pamela – 2016 – Free Tanning Card

“Do you think I’m a prostitute?”

I was in a bar one night having a few drinks and seeing my friend, Prova. (See: Prova – 2015 to Present – Glow of the Sun) I was giving out free tanning cards to the girls working behind the bar, and I gave one to Pamela.

About a month or so later she came into the salon with the card I had given her. She seemed a little crazy. Just fussing over her face in the mirror and chattering about her job.

I take her back to the best bed in the house and show her how the bed works. She seems really into tanning. She’s excited to have a session in the best bed in the house.

When she’s finished she comes out and says she loved it and is going to buy a package. (The Free Tan Cards really work!)

She starts telling me how she’s going to see this guy she met on Tinder in New York. I tell her to be careful, and to let a friend know when she’s going, where she’s going and how long she’s supposed to be there.

Then she shocks me that she’s going there because the guy is paying her.

“Oh.”

“Yea. I’m kind of a sugarbaby.”

She went on to tell me about how she has a guy in Florida that pays her $2000 to come down for the weekend. He flies her in and pays her $2000 cash twice a month. She showed me a picture of him on her phone and he’s a fat half Asian, half Hispanic guy. He’s probably an IT computer guy with lots of money and no game. But hey, if he’s willing to pay…

“Do you think I’m a prostitute?”

Technically, what she’s doing is prostitution, but we’re at the salon and she’s a paying client with a premium package.

“No. You’re an adult and you can do what you like, Pam.”

“Ok. I just don’t want you to think I’m a whore.”

“You’re fine. Pam. No worries.”

“I just got this new phone. Do you have a charger?”

“I do.”

“Can you charge my phone while I go tan?”

“Sure.” She hands me the phone and I plug it in. I notice that there is no code to lock the phone. “Pam, you should put a code on this phone to protect people from looking at your stuff.”

“I don’t care if you peek.” She gives me a sly smile and heads back to the room.

Should I go through her phone and look at her pics?

Of course not! That’s an invasion of privacy. I’m employed here to protect my clients and take care of them.

Did I go look at her pics once she was back in the room?

Of course I did. She did say that she didn’t mind if I peeked.

So I looked.

There were many nude photos of Pam, of a graphic sexual nature. It was exciting to see her nude, but it was also a little gross.

When she came out of her session, she came to the counter to retrieve her phone.

“I put it in Airplane Mode. It charges twice as fast.”

“Thanks.” She gave me an approving smile. She knows I looked at her pics.

On another occasion, she was in room #10 at our old location, and I was next door in room #11 doing a demonstration for a woman who wanted to get a spray tan. Pamela must have heard my voice and opens the door of her room, and asks for an additional towel.

She was topless.

I hate my job.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Sun Stories: Karen – 2016 to Present Oh…Now I Remember You

“I decided to ask her if there was some possibility that we may have met before meeting here some place else. She dismissed that notion quickly saying no.”

There’s this cute, sweet woman who comes into the salon to tan.  Brown hair, slender and attractive. She’s always very nice to me and Achilles. She’s been going there for years. She always remembers my name and uses it when she comes in.

She’s been coming in a lot lately because I’m assuming the summer season. We chat and it’s always nice to see and talk to her. She had come from food shopping the other day, and I let her put some of her stuff in our fridge while she tanned to keep it all fresh. She was very grateful.

She works as a school teacher somewhere out in the suburbs. I think that’s noble work, shaping the minds of our youth. My sister Janice does that as well.

I was talking to Karen the other day, and I just felt that I knew her from somewhere else. It passed from my mind and I didn’t think about it until the next time she came in and I was chatting with her.

I decided to ask her if there was some possibility that we may have met before meeting here some place else. She dismissed that notion quickly saying no.

I just figured she had a familiar face. That happens all of the time. Some young woman will approach the counter and I’ll ask her last name, and she’ll say: “Oh, I’ve never been here before.”

Happens at least once a week.

But the other day I was looking up a friend of mine’s number in my phone when I came across Karen’s name. I tapped on the entry, because there is no reason in the world for me to have a client’s number in my personal cell phone. Her file comes up and I then go on our system at the salon and look up her information there. The spelling of the name and phone numbers are identical.

So I must have not only met her before but she’s given me her phone number. I even had her email address. But I would have remembered that event. But there is one reason I may not have remembered it.

Because under her name under Employer it says: WFGC.

That’s the acronym I used to put in my phone when a certain type of lady would offer me her number. WFGC stands for World Famous Gold Club. That’s the seedy strip joint that I occasionally go to with my buddy, Johnny. (See: Johnny R. – 2011 to Present – Needle in the Groove)

Yea. Our little school teacher used to be a stripper!

But as salacious as this sounds, I am never going to say anything to her about it. Ever. I’m not even going to tell Achilles. Being a stripper is not an easy life. It hurts a lot of women. Usually they end up stripping because they were out of choices.

Karen has pulled herself up out of that and has made something of herself. I’m really proud of her.

It’ll be my little secret.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Sun Stories: Haley – 2016 to Present – Rules and Lists

You used the last of the toilet paper on the spool and started the new roll that I left for you on the back of the toilet tank. But please don’t replace the toilet paper by simply putting it on the spool. Just set it on top of the spent spool! Lazy fuckers! Doing something courteous in a public restroom doesn’t instantly turn you into a janitor you piece of shit!

This is one of my all time favorite posts. It was fun to write and I’m sure the whole gang at the salon will love it!

Enjoy!

While working at the salon, Haley and I came up with a lot of funny bits we used to do. I can hear her giggling right now in my head as I write this.

We would lock the doors at closing time, and sometimes people would show up trying to get in and tan. There’s always people who can’t manage their schedules or the clock or the calendar and are always late for everything.

Do we come to your bar and want to order a bunch of stuff when you’re trying to close? Then don’t pull that shit on us. We didn’t want to deal with the cast of regulars that would try to pull this and sometimes we would simply hide from them as they banged on the door and/or started calling the house phone. We would be behind the wall or under the counter laughing.

There’s this one girl who comes in and she’s super hot but dresses provocatively. She knows she’s hot and likes to flaunt her body, but actually that’s not good behavior for a woman. But if she wants all of that attention that’s her business. I just liked her because she was hot. She’s really just a vacuous bubblehead.

So I would come in, and Haley would say, “You just missed your girlfriend!”

And I’d always say, “Which one?” (Because I loved so many of the hot girls that frequent the salon.)

She’d say, “Alexa! and you would have loved her because she was looking extra slutty today!”

I love Haley. She’s hilarious.

 

Achilles told me some things I needed to follow when I first started working there. These were just some fundamental things that I should do if I wanted things to work smoothly. I have so much enthusiasm for everything I do, I decided to actual make a real list. So I’ll show it here and break down the rules and explain what they mean.

1. No shared memberships (You can’t come in with your friend or spouse and buy a monthly package and share the tanning sessions. Like she can’t come in on Tuesday and then you come in on Wednesday. You also can’t come in on the same day and go to separate rooms.)
2. No shared rooms (Only one person to a room. Because who knows what two people could do in a room together when they’re naked?)
3. You’re available but not available (You can’t date the clients. What if I start dating some girl who comes there and then we break up and she won’t come to the salon because it’s awkward? Achilles loses revenue because of my dalliances. Off limits.)
4. It’s not clean until it’s mega clean (Job #1 in any business that serves the public is cleanliness. If you have a business where multiple people lie naked on the same acrylic sun bed over and over, the bed better be sanitized like crazy)
5. Last tanning session is at 7:50 (We talked about this. If we close at 8pm we can lock the doors at 7:50 so we can get on with our lives.)
6. We clean our own beds (The staff goes tanning. You shouldn’t work at a tanning salon and look pale. But I don’t want Haley or Summer or Trish wiping the sweat off the bed I just tanned in. And vice versa. Gross!)
7. When in doubt, throw it out (If you’re not sure if a towel is clean it goes in the hamper. Rather safe than sorry.)
8. Cash is king (Achilles loves cash. If someone pays cash you can knock 10% of the price if they’re on a budget)
9. You can’t leave your lotion here We’re not a storage facility. (people actually ask if we can hold their lotion for them under the counter)
10. No strollers! (This isn’t a real rule. We just worried about them carrying the strollers up 30 steps. It’s just unsafe. But there is another reason I’ll discuss below. You’ll know when you see it.)
11. No extensions! (If someone buys a month and then they go away for a week, we won’t put their membership on hold so they can start it up upon their return and get that week back. Mange your life better!) (However, we did this once for a good client when her mother died.)
12. No discounts unless it’s on the website and they mention it first! (We do 10% for cash if they ask and 20% for students if they ask. Summer, a girl who works here and formerly tanned here, said to me the other day, “You never gave me 20% because I was a student!” Me: Did you ever ask? “No.” Me: “We’re in business to make money, Summer. Now you work here… you can tan for free!”)
13. Never mention that we replace the bulbs in the beds to the customers. (Achilles always changes the bulbs on strict schedules. It’s just something that needs to be done on a regular basis to maintain the strength of the beds. But we don’t discuss that with clients because they could think that they’ve been tanning all month on weak bulbs and now in the last week of their package there are good new bulbs that are in the bed now. It’s just not the case and we don’t want to open that can of worms.)
I created a Love List. This was basically a list of hot women. It’s ridiculous, and I no longer do it. I created it when I first started working there because I was new and overwhelmed by all the beauty that comes in to tan at the salon. If I made Love List today it would look far different and probably consist of men and women who are nice people who are a pleasure to serve.
Haley had a Love list too. But hers consisted of nice people, and grandpa type old guys that came into tan. “They’re so cute, like my Pop Pop!”
And where there is a Love List, so must there be a Hate List. The Hate List is only about six people who come in at closing, are weird, or when they come in there’s always some sort of problem.
Which brings us to our favorite list of all. We all agree about every one of these and the list is always growing. We love it so much that I read it aloud to the staff at our Christmas dinner! Enjoy!
Things That Annoy Us. 
1. People that come in at 7:49. (We close at 8pm)
2. People that leave lakes of sweat on the bed.
3. People that close the bed and the door. (don’t make it look like you’re still in there! That makes us nervous!)
4. Trash strewn room.
5. Taking forever to choose a lotion packet when there’s a line.
6. When people come in and complain about things beyond our control.
7. When 7 girls come in and only have basic packages. (We only have two basic beds and two girls go in and then the rest of them have to sit around and wait in the lobby. It takes forever)
8. Hey client… to get the lotion on your body, not the table, floor, mirror and walls.
9. I’m going to wait for the Alpha (Premium bed.) and two people are ahead of me and its quarter to 8pm. (closing time)
10. They need more than 5 minutes to get ready and it’s our responsibility to remember to send them. (Activate the bed)
11. When people decide to go to the bathroom after we’ve sent them to a room.
12. They get a spray tan then go out in the rain and expect nothing to happen then call the next day to say their legs are streaking. Rain is like taking a shower!!! (You have to stay dry for 6 hours after a spray tan!)
13. Customers that talk to you about a bunch of stuff you have zero interest in. (Sader sounds) That’s a guy who used to come in and just gab about of things we don’t know about or care to hear about) Or this other lady who will rudely go on and on about her crazy ex husband or her kid who’s been in an out of children’s hospital his whole life. We get it. We’re sorry for you, but don’ lay your problems at a bunch of clerks at a tanning salon!
14. Can I leave my lotion here that I purchased elsewhere? (Really?)
15. Which one do you think is the best? (It’s all the same shit. Just pick a damn packet of lotion!)
16. Client: I referred so and so, so I get a free tan right? Me: Did you fill out the little card and have them bring it in with your name on it? Client: No. Me: Then No.
17. Can you just put me in today and when I come in on Tuesday you can subtract it from the next package I buy? Oh Laura… (That was some girl who would always try to pull that shit on me. I liked her but…No!)
18. Yea, sure, go into our bathroom and take a dump before you even come in to say hello. (Achilles hates that one)
19. Door squeaks and then tons of giggling and multiple footsteps… (Oh God here they come! A bunch of noisy college freshman girls) You’d think I’d like this, but it’s annoying.
20. Customer: umm one of the face tanners is burned out in the Cadillac. Us: Yea. It’s 10 after 8. Get the fuck out of here. (We don’t say that we just think it)
21. When the white trash junkie whores bring their Milano babies up here in their giant strollers and hang out for over an hour while they take turns tanning, changing dirty diapers and leaving them in the bathroom, while their kids cry and scream wreaking havoc in the lobby with our good clients. (Too much?)
22. When Sader inserts himself into my conversation with our lovely clientele. (This guy again. I’d be chatting with some young lovely, and he just comes in and inserts his tiny self into the conversation. Annoying!) UPDATE: Sader no longer comes to tan here because he said his doctor found some unusual skin growths on him so his tanning life is over. Not his real life… He just can’t tan anymore.
23. We warned you that if you weren’t gentle with the fan control on the Max 10 it’ll shut the bed off, but goddamn it, you’re fucking going to do it anyway. Twice.
24. Achilles: “This time of year nobody comes in to tan on the basic beds.” Me: (crushed on a Thursday) “Shut the fuck up, Achilles.”
25. Guy comes in our lobby: (There was a copy and print shop downstairs from the old salon on 16th street) “Is this where I can make copies? Me: (points to Max 10 sun bed.) “Does that look like a copy machine, sport? Get the fuck out of here.” (We don’t really say that, we think it.)
26. Just because you bought a month package doesn’t mean you have to come in everyday! (There are people who actually do this!)
27. Laura (crazy client) text: I just wanted to say hi and that I miss you terribly.  Me: Buy an All Access Premium EFT and you can see me everyday. Oh by the way…. Are you due for a new bottle of lotion??
28. Don’t put the fucking mega clean sign back on the dirty bed.
29. Am I the only one that works here and regularly cleans out the lint trap in the fucking dryer?
30. The mumblers! (Please speak up and use the voice God gave you!)
31. When I’m somewhere other than at the front counter, and the client starts wandering around the salon looking for me. (What are you a baby duckling?)
32. Did you have to throw everything on the floor? (Winkease trash, mega clean sign, head rest, towel, lotion packet, etc.)
33. You used the last of the toilet paper on the spool and started the new roll that I left for you on the back of the toilet tank. But please don’t replace the toilet paper by simply putting it on the spool. Just set it on top of the spent spool! Lazy fuckers! Doing something courteous in a public restroom doesn’t instantly turn you into a janitor you piece of shit!
34. When they use a towel to dry off their hands in the bathroom and instead of throwing the used towel into the little hamper next to the sink, they throw it back on top of the clean folded ones! Who the fuck is raising these monkeys?
35. When a client comes in and no one is at the counter, instead of having a seat in the waiting area, they just stand there at the counter nearly grinding their pelvis into it. Just leaning on the counter and all. I fucking hate that!
36. Why are you compelled to touch the mirrors in each room? I always see smudges and fingerprints on the mirrors. What, are you just checking to see that it’s really a mirror and not some portal to another world where there’s another you staring back at you??? What the fuck?
All in a days work.
Miss you, Haley!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Sun Stories: Haley – 2016 to Present – Lightning in a Bottle

“Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.”

I got a text from Achilles (See: Sun Stories: Achilles, 2016 to Present – The Bronze God) He asked if I could work open to close today. That’s 10am to 8pm, on your feet, running around the salon for 10 hours. I agreed, because I have a flexible schedule at my other job, and I think he may have come down with a cold. On top of that it’s been thunder storming all day, and he probably doesn’t want to come out in this mess.

So I’m at the salon, and it’s a pretty quiet day. You’d think more people would come out to tan on a rainy day, but it’s the other way around. They come when it’s warm and sunny out.

I’m just standing behind the counter writing my blog on the computer. When in walks this cute 19-year-old girl. Raven hair, blue eyes and fair skin. She says my name, and I do a double take.

“Don’t you recognize me because I’m not tan?”

“Oh my god! Haley!”

I come from around the counter and she goes in for a big hug.

“I missed you!”

From mid April until the end of August is our busy season at the salon. We can’t provide the level of service that our customers deserve with only one person on shift at night. So Achilles usually will bring on a second person at night to ease the flow of clients. Haley had been working every summer at the salon since she was 16 years old.

Haley has a sister Elisa that’s a year younger that she is. She comes into tan but never worked here. Elisa’s cute, but Haley’s beautiful. There’s a difference.

Haley was also a straight A student last year in her senior year. Beauty and brains. A deadly combination. She wants to eventually go to medical school to become a doctor!

So Achilles brought her back again last summer to help out at night. I wondered how that was going to go. Me, a middle-aged man working with a senior in high school.

Well I’ll tell you how it went. It went fantastic! Working with Haley from day one was glorious. She’d been doing the job for two years prior, so she knew everything about the salon. We ran the place like a well oiled machine. I’m driving in the sales. Haley picks up on how I ask every customer if they need lotion or protective eyewear. She starts pitching it to every client thereafter. She’s like lightning when she works. Super fast and really efficient. She knows exactly when to put the laundry in the washer and stays on top of the time when to get it into the dryer. (I love her South Philly accent. Instead of saying “towels”, she pronounces it “tales”. It is to adorable!

“I’m so sick of these tales! I hate the color and they’re too hard to fold and they don’t fit under the counter right!” she would say.

Working with Haley was a total riot. We would take care of the clients but had a lot of fun working together.

On time this weirdo douchebag guy comes in to tan. Haley asks him what kind of bed he wants to tan in. (Stand up unit, or lay down)

He says: “How about a four-poster.”

Haley is silent but I look at him with a hard eye and say: “Dick. She’s in High School.”

Shut that fucker right down.

I see Haley like a daughter or a niece. Gotta protect the young ladies around us.

I told Achilles about the incident and he also gave them his own personal warning to the guy. I don’t know what he said or did, but we never had a problem with this asshole again.

One day told her that out of everyone I knew, she and my daughter Lorelei, are the only people I know who don’t use profanity, which I find very refreshing. Haley responded by saying that she doesn’t curse around parents. (Apparently this is the same story with my kid.) I like that!

Speaking of her parents, she said her dad is a bit of a curmudgeon, but her mom is a total sweetheart. Her mother would always drive up to the salon at closing in her truck with their dog and pick up little Haley. Her mom is kind of hot. But I love that she would always come and get Haley and make sure her daughter got home safe!

Haley went down the shore after graduating from high school with honors and went to work as a server at Mack’s Pizza in Wildwood, NJ for the summer. She told me they originally want her to work a bunch of hours but she told them she was down the shore to have fun, relax and enjoy her summer. She was still making around $800 a week slinging slices to the hungry tourists.

“It’s the most money I ever made at a job in my life!” she squealed to me today.

Currently she is in college and working part time at an Italian restaurant in South Philly.

Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.

Sure, she’s a great student and is a really well-behaved kid. But technology is much better than when I was a teenager. She has a fake ID that looks exactly like a DMV issued drivers license that says she’s 21. She showed it to me and it looks better than anything I’ve ever seen. That’s so she can get served and go into bars and nightclubs.

She’s a good girl and has a nice guy she is seeing, and she behaves herself. They play it cool and are careful when she and her friends go out. They mostly just like to hang out somewhere and drink beer like teenagers have done for decades.

I love the paradox of the brilliant, beautiful student that has a touch of. I can trust that in a woman.

I remember she would bring her laptop into work and do her homework sometimes. The customers didn’t know what she was doing, and could care less. They just want to hop into an available bed and get their tanning session, and get on with their day. But I know Achilles doesn’t like any of his employees focusing on anything but the clients and what’s going on in the salon. I get it. It’s his business and the salon is his livelihood. But Haley is such a good student with high aspirations, and I never said anything because she’d been working there off and on for three years. So I didn’t care what she was doing because at the time I didn’t know what his arrangement was with Haley after all of that time.

Besides she was always all business when it came to being on point in the salon every night. She made my life easier and I absolutely loved working with this lovely, lively girl. She’s so full of life and apparently I’m good at making her laugh.

When she worked the Saturday shift, (Which is from 11am to 6pm) sometimes her  classmate, Lia would come in and hang on the couch and keep her company. I get it. It’s a 7 hour shift and teenagers get bored easily. She’s a pretty black girl and she’d sit on the sofa and hang with Haley, bring her coffee and snacks to pass the time because weekends are slower than nights during the week. I mean, I’ve had friends come and hang at the salon and chat with me while I’m working. On any given night, Church will swing in and hang for an hour until we go to the bar after I close up shop. (See: Church – 2012 to Present – Brand Ambassador)

But Achilles found out this black girl was hanging out on Saturdays and wasn’t happy with it. Again… it’s a business and his livelihood and didn’t want a bunch of kids hanging around in his salon not doing anything. I get it. He’s right, but I went in once on a Saturday to make sure everything was cool, and to tan. (I like to tan on days I don’t work. It just feels better) I had the pleasure of meeting Lia. She’s a lovely young woman who has been accepted to Yale!

Yes. I said Yale. You don’t get into Yale being a crazy reckless youth. This girl is going to go on to do great things in her life. She’s sweet, charming, and obviously very intelligent and focused on her future.

So my girl Haley surrounds herself with great people and I’m really proud of her. She gives me hope for the future youth of America!

Oh, and she has the exact same birthday as my daughter, Lorelei! Haley is 11/17/97 and Lor is 11/17/96. Two  Scorpios. Don’t mess with my girls or you’ll get stung!

I was so happy to see my former co-worker today. It made my 10 hour shift on my feet running around on a very rainy day just a bit sunnier. Haley is a ray of light that I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with and have in my life.

Oh… one more thing. Haley isn’t on ANY social media. Just doesn’t see the point of it. Hope!

Seeing her today inspired me to write about her, and I am now going to publish another piece about our adventures at the tanning salon. I’ll give you a little hint: While we were working together we came up with official rules for the salon, based on some of the stuff Achilles would lay on me about how to run the salon. We also created lists of clients we loved and hated. But the funniest list we made was the “Things that Annoy Us.” You may not get all of them, and I will explain what they mean in this future post. But if you’ve worked in retail or the service industry, you should be able to relate.

I love Haley, and didn’t realize how much I missed her smile and laughter until today!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Daphne – 2014 to Present – Lovely Hostess – Hello Again

I felt a little tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the lovely visage of Daphne. I was still reeling from my sweet encounter with Lara, that seeing Daphne pushed me to the next level of euphoria.

I ran into little hostess Daphne from Square 1682 again, but first this little myth.

The story of Daphne is an example of an etiological myth, one that is strongly explanatory of why certain things in their culture were a certain way.

There are many examples of Greek myths that explain why certain religious rituals were performed, why some people’s may be named what they are, or even why varying objects, plants and animals were symbols of their gods.

The gods were known for punishing mortals for offending them, but occasionally they punished each other. The gods were a vengeful folk, and they did not take kindly to being insulted, by mortal or god. Apollo made the mistake of insulting one of his fellow immortal.

Apollo was a great archer, but sometimes he was a little full of himself. One day he caught sight of Eros, the son of Aphrodite. Eros was also an archer, and his arrows were responsible for instilling the twists and turns of love and lust in a person’s heart. Apollo teased young Eros, putting down his abilities as an archer, claiming that one so small could make no difference with his arrows.

Angry at this insult, Eros shot two arrows, one tipped in gold, one blunted and tipped with lead. The arrow dipped in gold had the power to create insatiable lust in a person, while the other created absolute abhorrence towards all things romantic and passionate. The unfortunate soul who was struck with that arrow would have no desire to love anyone. The arrow dipped in gold struck Apollo, but the arrow dipped in lead struck fair Daphne.

Daphne was the daughter of the river-god Peneus. Apollo chased down the maiden, desperate for her love, but she wanted nothing to do with him, and she ran from him endlessly. Soon, she grew weary in her running and that Apollo would ultimately catch her. Fearful, she called out to her father for help. As all gods of water posses the ability of transformation, Peneus transformed his daughter into a laurel tree. Suddenly her legs took root, and her arms grew into long and slender branches.

Apollo reached the laurel tree, and, still enamored with Daphne, held the tree in a special place in his heart. He claimed the tree as his special tree, and adorned himself with some of its leaves. And that is why the laurel was, and still is, a symbol of the god Apollo.

 

I had just finished chatting and flirting with sweet Lara upstairs at the salon. (See: Sun Stories – Lara – 2016 to Present – Tinderella) I came downstairs, locked the door and stood for a moment on Walnut street. Normally I would just head down the street and go home, but for some reason I just stood there taking in the sounds of the city at night.

I felt a little tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the lovely visage of Daphne.  I was still reeling from my sweet encounter with Lara, that seeing Daphne pushed me to the next level of euphoria. I chatted with her and told her this is where the salon was and that she should come tanning. She said she never had, but may want to try it. I told her about how it was important to get a base tan before she goes on her next adventure. (She loves to travel)

I described the benefits and handed her a free tanning card. I think when I told her I’d put her in the best bed in the house she was sold. In my heart I would love to take her to another bed that has benefits beyond her imagination.

I love Daphne. I have loved her since I first laid eyes on her over two years ago. That beautiful face and low voice just melts me.

But I don’t really love Daphne. I love her in the true phicklephilly sense. I’m in love with the idea of her and beauty. One is in my mind, and the other is simply good genetics on her part. She had nothing to do with that.

She’ll probably never come tanning. She’ll also never meet me for a drink or lunch or anything. I know she has time, but she won’t ever do it. It doesn’t really bother me, because we’re not romantically involved. If we haven’t met up for even one drink in the two years I’ve known her, it’s not happening. She’s young and beautiful and I’m sure being hit on by dozens of suitors of both sexes on a weekly basis.

I’ll keep getting butterflies in my stomach and my heart will flutter when she appears, but I’ll just have to settle for that. She may as well be an elegant tree that I can occasionally stand beside, but can never take her away with me.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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