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Help please, perm didn't go to plan!

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HairbyJess

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Hi Everyone,

So I have a nightmare and need some help.

Last week I did a perm on an elderly lady with severe mobility issues. When they first got in touch they said she had a wheelchair - no problem as my portable basin can still be used with normal weelchairs. However when I got there I discovered the chair had a high back. There were carers there when I arrived and for the first shampoo they put the chair back for me (it's a high tech chair able to be reclined) so that she was laid back enough to slip the basin in. Shampoo, cut and wind went smoothly. Then the carers left. I applied the perm lotion. About 10 minutes later, my client starts complaining of severe back pain that can only be alleviated by standing up. However... she needs help of two people to stand up. I called her son who said he'd be home from work in half an hour. So we continued with the process. 10 minutes later I did a test curl and the perm was ready. So I filled my clean water bucket for my portable shower and followed instructions on back of weelchair to recline it. By this time my client is in a lot of pain from her back. However when I reclined the chair, it only went so far - the closest I could get the basin was a good 6 inches away from her head. Turns out there is another thing you have to do to recline the chair further, that the carers obviously knew, but the hand written instructions don't cover. So I call the son again, who doesn't know either. He said she might be able to go forwards. So I put the chair up, put the basin in front of her, waterproof her with gowns and towels and ask her to lean forward - and she can't. At this point I'm questioning why I ever chose this career. All I can think about is getting the perm lotion off before it over-processes. I can't rinse with a flow of water. The client is crying out in agony from her back and repeatedly asking when her son will be home. I decided that the integrity of her hair was more important than the perm so made the decision to take the rods out. I then used my water sprayer and a towel to try to rinse as much as I could. The son still wasn't home so I put the neutraliser on, left it and sprayed to rinse and finally a liberal amount of anti-oxy in the hope that it would stop reaction of anything I couldn't rinse. At this point I knew the perm wouldn't take but I'd prefer that to fried cotton wool hair. I thought that at least I had completed the chemical process, so hopefully her hair condition wouldn't be too badly affected. Just as I finished spraying and towelling the anti-oxy, her son came home. He helped her into bed and I set her hair from her bed.

So I did explain to the son what happened, he was very nice about it and reassured me that it wasn't my fault. I explained it might not have taken because I had to remove the rollers to protect her hair. However he seemed quite stressed with everything that was going on so I don't know if he fully understood (I think I'm over-analysing). They paid in full with no complaints and were grateful. As a side note, they happen to be our neighbours from round the corner.

So a couple of days ago this lady's granddaughter knocked our door. I wasn't there so she spoke a family member. The granddaughter very nicely explained that the perm hadn't taken. Mum said she wasn't upset or cross, thankfully. But now I have to deal with it. To be honest just thinking about it is making me feel ill. I don't think I'm up to the stress of re-doing it - last year I was very unwell and I have to watch my stress levels so I don't burn out again. Should I offer a refund? At the end of the day it wasn't my fault, but it wasn't really her's either. I shouldn't have been left alone to be carer and hairdresser, however I often work alone with other elderly clients so didn't think it would be a problem. Also I should have asked about the type of weelchair - I just presumed it would be a normal weelchair. Do I:
- Offer to redo (least favourite option). If so how much? For free? And stipulate that someone else needs to be there who can attend to the client's needs.
- Offer a refund and politely explain I'm not in a position to re-do. If so should it be a full refund (£67) or a partial goodwill (£35?)?

The thing is they know where we live, so if offering a full refund would keep the peace and put and end to the matter I'd happily do it. It's just my family would not be happy that I'm underselling myself. £35 refund would still leave me enough to cover cost of her cut and set and products.

What shall I do guys? Any suggestions gratefully received. Please bear in mind it's more complicated because we're neighbours so I have to tread more carefully than I would with other clients. Any genuine suggestions gratefully appreciated.

Thanks is advance 😢
 

ronray

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South Wales
Hi Everyone,

So I have a nightmare and need some help.

Last week I did a perm on an elderly lady with severe mobility issues. When they first got in touch they said she had a wheelchair - no problem as my portable basin can still be used with normal weelchairs. However when I got there I discovered the chair had a high back. There were carers there when I arrived and for the first shampoo they put the chair back for me (it's a high tech chair able to be reclined) so that she was laid back enough to slip the basin in. Shampoo, cut and wind went smoothly. Then the carers left. I applied the perm lotion. About 10 minutes later, my client starts complaining of severe back pain that can only be alleviated by standing up. However... she needs help of two people to stand up. I called her son who said he'd be home from work in half an hour. So we continued with the process. 10 minutes later I did a test curl and the perm was ready. So I filled my clean water bucket for my portable shower and followed instructions on back of weelchair to recline it. By this time my client is in a lot of pain from her back. However when I reclined the chair, it only went so far - the closest I could get the basin was a good 6 inches away from her head. Turns out there is another thing you have to do to recline the chair further, that the carers obviously knew, but the hand written instructions don't cover. So I call the son again, who doesn't know either. He said she might be able to go forwards. So I put the chair up, put the basin in front of her, waterproof her with gowns and towels and ask her to lean forward - and she can't. At this point I'm questioning why I ever chose this career. All I can think about is getting the perm lotion off before it over-processes. I can't rinse with a flow of water. The client is crying out in agony from her back and repeatedly asking when her son will be home. I decided that the integrity of her hair was more important than the perm so made the decision to take the rods out. I then used my water sprayer and a towel to try to rinse as much as I could. The son still wasn't home so I put the neutraliser on, left it and sprayed to rinse and finally a liberal amount of anti-oxy in the hope that it would stop reaction of anything I couldn't rinse. At this point I knew the perm wouldn't take but I'd prefer that to fried cotton wool hair. I thought that at least I had completed the chemical process, so hopefully her hair condition wouldn't be too badly affected. Just as I finished spraying and towelling the anti-oxy, her son came home. He helped her into bed and I set her hair from her bed.

So I did explain to the son what happened, he was very nice about it and reassured me that it wasn't my fault. I explained it might not have taken because I had to remove the rollers to protect her hair. However he seemed quite stressed with everything that was going on so I don't know if he fully understood (I think I'm over-analysing). They paid in full with no complaints and were grateful. As a side note, they happen to be our neighbours from round the corner.

So a couple of days ago this lady's granddaughter knocked our door. I wasn't there so she spoke a family member. The granddaughter very nicely explained that the perm hadn't taken. Mum said she wasn't upset or cross, thankfully. But now I have to deal with it. To be honest just thinking about it is making me feel ill. I don't think I'm up to the stress of re-doing it - last year I was very unwell and I have to watch my stress levels so I don't burn out again. Should I offer a refund? At the end of the day it wasn't my fault, but it wasn't really her's either. I shouldn't have been left alone to be carer and hairdresser, however I often work alone with other elderly clients so didn't think it would be a problem. Also I should have asked about the type of weelchair - I just presumed it would be a normal weelchair. Do I:
- Offer to redo (least favourite option). If so how much? For free? And stipulate that someone else needs to be there who can attend to the client's needs.
- Offer a refund and politely explain I'm not in a position to re-do. If so should it be a full refund (£67) or a partial goodwill (£35?)?

The thing is they know where we live, so if offering a full refund would keep the peace and put and end to the matter I'd happily do it. It's just my family would not be happy that I'm underselling myself. £35 refund would still leave me enough to cover cost of her cut and set and products.

What shall I do guys? Any suggestions gratefully received. Please bear in mind it's more complicated because we're neighbours so I have to tread more carefully than I would with other clients. Any genuine suggestions gratefully appreciated.

Thanks is advance 😢
I don't think you need to refund, and you certainly don't need to put yourself in that position again!! There's nothing that would make me go back. I know it's not nice for the client, but neither is all that stress and pain. I would maybe go and speak to the son and explain how the proces is normally done. If he doesn't think that anything can change e.e wheel chair - basin - no helpers then obviously I wouldn't agree to do it. If there's a another chair that she can use on the day, and you have somone to help you then I'd consider it. But if you don't feel comfortable with it - don't do it!
Don't beat yourself up or question yourself! I'm sure you did everything you possibly could have considering the circumstances! Sounds like you did a great job!
 

vividamnesia

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Well it's tough when they are your neighbours & all but personally If it happend to me.....I would opt to explain to the daughter the entire event. Males (her son) in General, don't, won't get or register the process of women's beatification rituals so I bet you anything he neglected to mention that which you stressed specifically to him. If you are uncomfortable re doing the permanent wave, explain that some time is needed before another chem service can be applied to maintain the health of the hair.

Now you can have some time to either do it at a future time or state your not equipped to accommodate her unique enviorment at present & maybe she should look for a different stylist. If you will do a future date redo or not.....offer a partial refund of £30 that can be repaid to you up on completion of the perm in the future. Explain that the remaining amount paid covers the cut & product used but not your time spent doing the botched perm. I would also stipulate that there be herself or a caregiver present for the process to aid the woman to accommodate her stylist.

Be sure to stress that a permanent wave is a precise procedure governed by time & proper access to remove chemicals that can severely damage her hair & or scalp quite easily if not followed to the T!
Good luck!🙃
 

HairbyJess

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Thank you ronray and vivdamnesia for your replies. I went to see her today and was able to resolve it with her. Thanks ronray for the reassurance, it helped me feel confident to explain that there was nothing else I could have done. Yes vividamnesia I did end up giving her a goodwill partial refund of £30, I felt from the tenure of the conversation that this was the best way to keep the peace between us. She thought I hadn't put any perm lotion on at all so I explained how a perm works and therefore why it hadn't taken and she understood. She said she wasn't cross and felt guilty herself, I reassured her that she couldn't help being in pain and I was sorry that due to the unforseen logistical problems it hadn't turned out how she envisioned. I've encouraged her to contact another hairdresser for a re-do, and we ended the conversation very positively with no hard feelings. Phew! It's a massive weight off my shoulders. Thanks guys for your help, it's much appreciated 😊
 

ronray

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Thank you ronray and vivdamnesia for your replies. I went to see her today and was able to resolve it with her. Thanks ronray for the reassurance, it helped me feel confident to explain that there was nothing else I could have done. Yes vividamnesia I did end up giving her a goodwill partial refund of £30, I felt from the tenure of the conversation that this was the best way to keep the peace between us. She thought I hadn't put any perm lotion on at all so I explained how a perm works and therefore why it hadn't taken and she understood. She said she wasn't cross and felt guilty herself, I reassured her that she couldn't help being in pain and I was sorry that due to the unforseen logistical problems it hadn't turned out how she envisioned. I've encouraged her to contact another hairdresser for a re-do, and we ended the conversation very positively with no hard feelings. Phew! It's a massive weight off my shoulders. Thanks guys for your help, it's much appreciated 😊
Well done you! :)
 

fab fingers

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I would have suggested you explained you were not able to complete the perm as usual, due to the unexpected circumstances, which you were not made aware of. If they asked for a refund, I'd explain that as you had spent your time and used ur products, unfortunately you could not offer a refund....in fact you actually must have spent longer than your typical time by the sounds of it! I would have suggested to her, as an interim measure, until she is in less pain, you suggested she opt for a 'shampoo and set' kinda thing....whatever would b easily managed by you or another hairdresser, and managed by her....either they could schedule for just after she had hair shampood in shower or bath by carer, or you could shampoo with your basin using a suitable chair. You could then blow dry/set it. This could be done weekly, with a view to discussing a perm at a later date. This way, even if they don't fancy doing this, you look willing to try to find a resolution to this personal problem.
 

BARBERsammi

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Omgoodness what a horrible experience... I think you handled it really tbh, Id try not to be stressed or let it knock your confidence... One day you'll tell the story and laugh
I had similar years ago where the old lady had a funny turn and I had to call an ambulance.. I was desperately trying to take the rods out before the ambulance arrived... I too went to see her aftewards and she offered to pay! Bless her... Keep smiling and doing what you love x
 

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