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The DOL of WA inspects all Salons and Spas annually

We had our first inspection a few months after opening. A wonderful guy we'll call Blackbeard (not his real name darnit) showed up, walked in, introduced himself and set about inspecting every room, every container, and of course our Manufacturer's Safety Data Sheets (MSDS sheets) for our professional strength products.

A "wonderful guy" huh?

He really was, he answered all of our questions, he was really nice about it and he took the time to orient us to some unpublished facts about Salon and Spa safety in Washington, which is the inspiration for this post.

Your right to great service is the law.

Ever heard of RCW 18.16.180 by any chance? It requires every salon and spa in Washington to post contact information for the Salon/Spa complaint form and hotline (360) 664-6645. We didn't have this information listed so we printed it and hung it up on the spot. Blackbeard was nice enough to let us fix a problem without assassinating us in our sleep.

That was nice of him.

We thought so. Blackbeard had previously been a foreign customs inspector (though all pirates say that) and had the military training to sneak past our security net. But he didn't, instead he told us we ran a nice clean shop and he looked forward to coming back again. He said he could tell in moments what kind of shape a Spa is in just by looking at the retail display, "If they don't dust their retail, they probably aren't cleaning anything else." he confided.

I am Jack's disinterest in your post, spill some dirt.

Yup, coming to it, see one of the best things about Blackbeard is that he'd answer questions so we asked him, "What was your worst case inspection? Your worst health violation? Where is the danger in the Spa/Salon?" and we were new enough to be a little surprised by the answer. The most dangerous service in his opinion, acrylic nails. The biggest violation, the unclean foot spa. What applied to us--we don't do nails, they're too dirty to do around skincare in our opinion--the waxing double dip. He's seen some very sad things in his day, a toe amputation from a case of flesh-eating bacteria caught in a nail salon and that brought him to his "worst case" salon.

YES! Gimme a horror story!

Had a pedicure recently? I hope they know how to clean their foot bath because peeps, Blackbeard's worst case involved a lovely, fancy, well-to-do-spa in the greater Seattle area, which had lots of clients in the 3-4 months before their first health inspection. They had no idea the foot baths had to be cleaned. Gack right? He thought so too, he said he was lucky because the Salon was otherwise spotless, they provided lots of services, their rooms were clean, their retail was clean. He was thinking, "Great place." until he asked the Owner if he could borrow a flathead screwdriver to inspect the foot spa filters, at which point the Owner looked puzzled, there wasn't a screwdriver anywhere on the premises, they'd been using the chairs for 4 months and hadn't cleaned them. Well Blackbeard found a screwdriver in his beard and opened up the chairs filter tanks and out came the bog of eternal stench, first from one pedicure chair, and then all the others.

So they had to close, Blackbeard raised the skull and crossbones and gave them 5 business days before his return. Upon his return, everything was fixed, there was a dedicated screwdriver affixed to every chair. The place got a clean bill and Blackbeard sailed on to new adventures. Be warned, the price of safety is vigilance and though Blackbeard targets the ne'er do-wells, and the conscientiously ignorant, you may wind up in the care of scalawags if you are unwary.

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