DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend opened a spa business in our town. I was one of her first customers. I had an excellent massage and pedicure; however, my triple-digit bill was not what I expected. I haven't gone back.
My friend phoned me recently saying she has barely any customers. Honestly, her prices are too high for the small town we live in. Do I give her honest criticism or hope that this failure will help her future business endeavors? -- No Bang for Your Buck, Outside Memphis, Tennessee
DEAR NO BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Your friend called to share her worries about her new shop. Consider this an opening for you to share your thoughts with her, keeping in mind that she is extremely sensitive right now. Be kind as you tell her your perspective. Start by asking her if you can freely offer your opinion. With her blessing, tell her you feel these services are too expensive for where you live, and then tell her what people there expect to pay.
Point out that the services were excellent and that you would certainly return for more if the price were lowered. Suggest that she advertise a spa special featuring particular services at discounted rates. Encourage her to revamp her price list for your town, and then try again to get folks to come.