Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beware: The Flat Iron Con


My sister Geri was killing time at Ala Moana Shopping Center the other day while her dog was at the groomers.  When she passed by a Royale Professional Beauty Products kiosk the guy there asked her if she would agree to a demonstration. She said okay.

He proceeded to flat iron her hair.  They made small talk.  She found out that he was Russian. After he had done half her head, he told her that if she wanted the other half done, she would need to purchase one of their irons at a cost of $350.  !!!!!! 

Geri has beautiful naturally curly hair, and I know that if the guy only ironed half of her head, there woulda been a noticable difference between the ironed and the un-ironed portions.  She refused to pay his extortion price and left to do her shopping with half of her hair straight and the other half curly.

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The Royale Professional Crooks have at least two kiosks at Ala Moana Center, one on the bottom floor by the ABC store just before the food court and the other one on the second floor in front of the MAC store.  

A few days after my sister's unfortunate incident, I happened to walk past the kiosk that's in front of the MAC store.  As I was passing by, the girl there reached out to me and said, "Would you . . . ".  Before she could even finish her sentence, I made a big X with my two forearms and said in a loud voice, "UH UH, NO, NO, NO.  I HEARD ABOUT YOU GUYS. YOU DO ONLY HALF THE HEAD AND THEN YOU ASK FOR MONEY TO DO THE REST."  She shook her head and denied it.  I said, "YES, YOU DO!", and I walked away.  I think my sister Sweetie, who was with me, was embarrassed.  She said that I was LOUD.  I probably was, but I couldn't help myself.
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I wrote an email to Ala Moana Center and told them what had happened. I said that such criminal activity should not be allowed.  I never got a response.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if complaining to their management office by phone might be more effective. I also complained via e-mail about being hassled for money by homeless people while sitting by Assagio's and never got a response, either. Given the high-end image they want to project, they might really discourage the kiosk people from doing such a shady thing. Gosh, I feel especially sorry for all the non-English speaking tourists they musts victimize!

jalna said...

That's the first thing I thought of, Anon . . . the tourists!! Poor things, yah! And I think the crooks might have FOUR kiosks according to the Center's website. That's probably a lot of revenue for them. I wonder if I should call. I'm not so articulate verbally. I do better when I have time to think of the words.

Kalin's Mommy said...

CRIMINALS! That's all I can say...You should send this link to the corporation, LOL.

Kay said...

That is totally, totally disgusting! I hope you shouted it out so everybody heard. It makes me angry just thinking about it.

Kay said...

Hi Jalna! Now that I think about it... it irritates me enough that I would love to post your story on my blog with a link to you. Could I use your photo and a little explanation with a link to your post?

Anonymous said...

most of those kiosks are staffed by Russians. What's up with that???
Maybe we should all post in Facebook, Twitter and Yelp about these incidents to spread the word since GMC is so unresponsive.

Lorna said...

Good for you, Jalna. You had the courage to tell the scammer-jammer off. I usually just tell people I'm not interested and keep walking at these kiosks, because they all seem so . . . shady. But I never realized that actually ARE shady!

Anonymous said...

J: wow how sad for Jerri and yes, the poor unsuspecting tourists some who might not speak English well. $350 for curling irons? For that price it should be making coffee and surf the internet. Especially hair for women is so sacred.

Local style, no make noise, but sometimes you gotta.But hey! you ain't gonna see 'em again. Thanks for the 411 -N

K and S said...

that is not good! you should write to the management company, explain that you wrote to Ala Moana but didn't get a response. or contact KHON maybe they can pressure "someone" to stop this...just suggestions:)

jalna said...

I agree, Mich.

You have my permission, Kay!

Anon, I usually give kiosks a wide berth and now more so.

Lorna, I would normally not be so vocal, but I think I was still mad at what had happened to Geri and I wanted everybody there to know.

N, you can get um online for around $65.

Oooh Kat. KHON!! That would be awesome.


mmiissee said...

I always say "no" to them too, or just walk by like I don't hear them. My hair is thick and wavy. I have my own flat iron that I bought at a ridiculous price from my hair stylist and found out that Sephora was selling it $200 cheaper. But going back to the subject, I think it's annoying that they'll come up to you even if I'm not even that close to their kiosk to ask you if they could flat iron my hair. Unprofessional of them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jalna,

I called Ala Moana to complain. Gave them reference to your blog. This is terrible and hope Ala Moana will do something about this unscrupulous kiosk.

Mahalo,
Ryan

Nippon Nin said...

Wow! So expensive! I saw a similar item at some salon for less than $100. Thank you for the warning!

I'm little concern for too polite Japanese tourists...they have hard time saying no to such a encounter.

jalna said...

I dislike them even more now, Mmiissee.

Thank you so much, Ryan.

I worry for the Japanese tourist too, Akemi.

Susan said...

Your sister is a hero for not giving in to the scam even though she had to go around with her hair half done. I hope she bumped into a lot of ppl who noticed her hair so she can tell 'em about those criminals!

jenny said...

Yuck yuck yuck. They also run those skin care carts and you can tell they are trying to extort people. I smiled when you said Geri just walked away with half her hair did because that was so awesome of her. Ala Moana should realize this makes the mall look bad too - not just that cart.

jalna said...

I agree, Susan.

Jenny, I hope that the Ala Moana people could somehow see how bad this is for the Center.

Dd said...

sooo....do you know the rent for one of those kiosks at Ala Moana is like $10,000.00 a month !!!

jalna said...

That is unreal, Didi!!

Erick said...

They are a bunch of scammers. I just ignore them.

DeniseinVA said...

Hi, I am new to your blog and came via Kay at Musings. Maybe you could get in touch with the Better Business Bureau over this. The management should also have replied to the complaint. Thanks for the warning. It pays to be aware of these mall kiosks no matter what part of the world we live in.

gigihawaii said...

Hi Jalna, I came to your blog via Kay. How awful for your sister. I live in Honolulu and will definitely visit your blog again. Aloha and mahalo!

jalna said...

Hi Denise! Thanks for taking the time to comment here. What I would really like to do is stand next to the kiosk holding a warning sign . . . but I'm too chicken.

Hi Gigi! Thanks for dropping by!

Virginia Akopian said...

Same thing happened to me and my Mom last night! They flat ironed half our heads and wouldn't finish until we agreed to buy! These girls are relentless and shameless! The put clips in your hair and involve you in conversation in the meanwhile flattening your hair little by little and not letting you leave freely. When you tell them it's too expensive at $300.00 each iron, suddenly they offer you a two for one special! Then, when you still say it's too much they add a "military discount" even though you're not in the military!! They take up so. Ugh of your time when in the beginning they tell you they want to demonstrate the iron and it will on,y take 60 seconds! I was there 45 minutes or more which was the longest 60 seconds of my life as they kept going on and on about how great my hair looks. Gabriela, the salesgirl even told me the product was made in Italy which it is NOT! The temperatures advertised in pamphlet states the controls are 80c-230c as if it were a European product, which it is not. Converted, those temps are equivalent to 176f-446f. The temperature control dial starts at 140f-450f. So, that too is false advertising. At the end she threw in a free lifetime warranty which supposedly costs $89.00! Who knows what the hell it really covers should the product be defective but I do know its costs $19.95 to send it back! Go online and you can buy the product for $50.00. Be wary of FAKE reviews that warn you not to buy it on EBay or Amazon. Those reviews come from Royale to make you afraid to buy it cheaper for fear it won't work! Gonna call Ala Moana to complain! Scammers!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I'm glad I came by your post! This happened to me today while I was browsing the Ala Moana centre. Usually I don't bother stopping at these sort of kiosks, but since this is my first time in Hawaii I was feeling rather carefree and made the mistake of agreeing to allow the girl to flat iron my hair - she said she had nothing else to do - strike one! The first half of my hair she was very nice and chatty. Then as soon as she realised I was'nt going to make a purchase then and there, she very promptly turned her back and gave me the cold shoulder. I still had the hairclips she had used to separate my hair clipped in.... My hair's relatively straight so I didn't care so much about leaving with half of it flat ironed, rather I'm surprised by how filthy her treatment of potential customers was, it was a real dr jekyell and mr hyde experience! I'm not very familiar with American culture and tipping but this experience makes me question the sincerity of people I'm encountering here. What a souring impression. I almost feel sorry for the girl.

jalna said...

Hey Anon, I'm so sorry that you ran into those crooks. Please be assured that they are the exception and are not representative of the true spirit of Hawaii. Hopefully your further encounters here will prove to be much more pleasant and enjoyable. Much mahalo for taking the time to write about your experience.