I sat outside the building for a long while before gaining the courage to go in. I knew I was going to get taken advantage of again, despite the fact I had given myself a million pep talks, telling myself that I was smarter than this!!
This is the third February in a row that I have prepared for a “girls trip” to Mexico. Since I know I will spend my entire trip burned to a crisp, due to my pasty fair skin, and regardless if I wear 50 or above sunscreen (which I do anyway), I have taken it upon myself to hit the tanning bed for a few sessions prior to my trip.
Three years ago, when I made my first trip to Suntan city, I was feeling a little nervous about it. I hadnt been to the tanning bed for about 15 years prior to this, so I honestly didnt know what I was doing. What I can tell you, if you havent been for awhile yourself, is that alot has changed. I remember when I would just pay my $20 for the month, and I could tan every day for 30 days if I wanted to. You didnt need eyewear, or lotions, or intensifiers. The only extra thing you may have needed was a playboy bunny sticker, to leave a faded white spot on your body…proof that you were actually tanning.
Well, times have changed, and I was completely overwhelmed. First of all, all I needed was 8 to 10 sesssions at most. I thought, if I paid about $2 a session x 10…Id be out about $20 bucks plus tax!! As you may have guessed, I was wrong. So wrong in fact, that I felt like I had been physically raped upon leaving there. My head was down in shame.
After the teenage Barbados looking girl at the counter, talked me into becoming a member for a low fee of $30 (because it was a better deal), and even though I thought I had made it clear that I would only be attending 10 sessions, the REAL raping began.
GIRL: “Now do you have eyewear”?
GIRL: “Its required by law. I can sell you these large goggles for $2.99 that will show a line across your nose and sides of your face, Or for $6 I can sell you these small compact goggles that fit in this tiny case with ease, and show no tan lines on your face at all. Its up to you”! (smiling cheerfully)
ME: “UH….I need the ones with no lines I guess”!
GIRL: “What color? We have a bunch of kinds. Purple, sparkly, glow in the dark….. Which do you like”? (smiling cheerfully).
ME: “UH…..Green I guess.”
GIRL: “I can sell them to you on this lanyard for $8.50″? Do you want the lanyard”?
At this point, I was growing a little aggitated. I just wanted to get in and out of this place. I knew I wouldnt be able to even stay in that bed longer than 5 minutes, and this process was unbearable. Who the HELL carries their fancy sun tanning goggles around their neck, on a lanyard???
ME: “I wont be needing the lanyard”! (rolling my eyes in a passive aggressive manner)
GIRL: “Ok. Now, what kind of intensifier and lotion would you like to purchase? We have some really great deals running right now.”
ME: “I dont need any of that. Im just going to be going the 10 sessions”.
GIRL: “We strongly encourage you to utilize these products. With your fair skin, you will be likely to burn easily, and we want to prevent this at all costs. Your skin is important to us, and Im sure it is to you as well (giggling). Now, with your membership, I can give you extra deals. This one here is one of my favorites…Smell it”!
ME: “How much is it”?
GIRL: “$115, but I can get it for you for $90, with your membership”! (smiling uncontrollably)
ME: “UH…Thats not going to work out”.
GIRL: ” OK.. I can get you this intensifier and lotion for $60 with your discount, plus its a great deal….Its like over half off as it is”.
ME: “Is this really necessary”?
GIRL: “Its very important to keep your skin moisturized”.
ME: “Ok. Sounds like a good deal…Ill take it.” (smililng because I got a great deal).
Next was the style of bed, and type of bulb I wanted. I cant even go into all the different styles and prices that went along with that, because it gets me riled up again. I just wanted the old style bed from the nineties…with the bulbs that burnt your flesh right off. After all, I had just bought the “good” moisturizer! However, just like the rest of the conversation, it took a wrong turn again. The bronzed teenager had talked me into a level 3 bed, which meant nothing to me except for apparently it gets me less burned and costs more money….and then she carried on about loving and caring for my skin and so forth…..as she collected my money, and as I just stared at her in a catatonic fashion. To make this long story a bit shorter, I will just say that my 10 sessions cost me roughly $200!!!
To make matters worse, Im extremely allergic to the intensifier. Regardless, I have used it for the all of my 10 sessions in the last 3 years. It was liquid gold in my eyes. I only itch for about the first 45 minutes after the visit, and the raised welts go away after 2 hours or so. It seems like a small price to pay for what I was talked into doing all those years ago. Also, I never once have made it for the entire 20 minutes…my skin is too fair.
I think about all those people that pay their $200 dollars and get so many more minutes than I do, and feel taken advantage of again. Today, after finally making my way in, paying my $140 for 10 sessions, tanning for 6 minutes, and making my way back to my car, I feel no less shame. Its true that I was strong….I didnt become a member, I didnt buy the lanyard, and I didnt buy any creams, but how did I ONLY save $60 from the last visit, when I bought up the store???
SOMETHING AINT RIGHT!!!