Response to a 2-Star Review

Two Stars

Thank you for joining us for the longer response to our first less-than-outstanding review. Yelp, sadly, limits responses to 5000 characters, which I blew away before my third point. Therefore, I present to you the full response to this review as posted on YELP:

FROM: Lisa P.
Shenandoah, IA
When I made my appointment I requested a deep tissue and told the receptionist I wanted a male or strong women because I liked a lot of pressure. My therapist was a small women who was not physically capable of giving me the massage I wanted. The massage also was a few minutes shorter than the scheduled 60 minutes. When paying a premium for a service I would expect far better treatment than I received at That’s the Rub. Overall I was dissatisfied and feel I was cheated. I will never go back.

Dear Lisa:

There’s a lot to respond to here, so I will be responding twice:


1.       If you are unwilling to come in on a day where we have male therapist available (which you were made aware of when scheduling) you will have an appointment with a female or no one. We only have those two options.

2.       Pre-judging the quality of a massage based on the size and gender of the therapist is shortsighted, and your open distain for her physical stature when she picked you up in the lounge may have colored your ability to receive a quality massage. In the case of the therapist you saw, she is more than capable of extreme deep work if you allow her to properly warm-up your cold, hard muscles before demanding she go bone-crunchingly deep.

3.       Arriving late (or even on time) when you were informed at least three times to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to fill out the required first-time paperwork means you get less than the full hour. You signed a document that clearly stated this. As much as we would like to accommodate clients who arrive late, we must remain on schedule out of respect for all our guests.

4.       Addressing the front desk staff with contempt, and the therapist with open hostility because she is a “short woman,” is not acceptable at That’s the Rub where you were warmly welcomed.

5.       When the front desk manager attempted to address your concerns, you scoffed at her offer and stormed out, which is no way to get your issues resolved.

Good luck in your future massages elsewhere.

THE LONG RESPONSE: (We here at That’s the Rub take great pride in our staff, their amazing skills, their professional demeanor, and their welcoming presence, and while a greater man may be able to set pride aside, when I think about how poorly my staff and friends were treated by this person who came into our house as a guest, I am left with no recourse other than to release the Papa Bear and respond in kind. If only for my own closure, and for those of you who know me and my predilection for words, or for those who support That’s the Rub and are flabbergasted by the above review, or for the few who delight in the gossipy drama as presented on the anonymous InterWebz, I humbly offer this more detailed, pride necessitated, response. – Jim)

Dear Lisa:

Thank you for writing. As I’m sure you understand, anything less than a stellar review certainly gets my attention and I have conducted a full investigation into your concerns over the last 24 hours. I have interviewed the staff you interacted with, and I had our treatment director review the SOAP notes created during your session. I will address each one by one in the order you have raised them:

1.       “When I made my appointment I requested a deep tissue and told the receptionist I wanted a male or strong women because I liked a lot of pressure.” This is a very reasonable request. Your appointment on March 18th, 2017 was made on March 1st at which time you were informed that we did not have availability with a male therapist that day and if having a male therapist was important to you, we’d be happy to schedule you on a day one was available. You insisted your massage had to be on that day, and were scheduled with a therapist who not only specializes in deep tissue massage, but also therapeutic massage. The therapist in question was, and still is, female. At this time, That’s the Rub employs only males or females, and therefore we do not offer a third option. Therefore, when booking, if there is not one available, you will receive treatment from the other. In the future if a third option becomes available, we will issue a press release.

2.       “My therapist was a small women [sic.] who was not physically capable of giving me the massage I wanted.” I believe you have a mischaracterization of the capabilities of a “small woman”, as the therapist in question has devoted, repeat clients who are professional dancers and athletes who are extremely discerning about massage and the quality there-of, therefore, I must respectfully disagree with your portrayal of her. Instead, may I suggest you may not be familiar with what a deep tissue massage actually is (this is very common, and nothing to be ashamed of). Many people mistakenly believe deep tissue massage is synonymous with pain, but it shouldn’t be. In fact, deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. Our therapists are trained and well-versed in warming-up a muscle first, which allows proper pressure, regardless of depth, to be applied correctly and most effectively, while at the same time not hurting our therapists from working on cold, hard muscles. This is, I’m sure you’ll agree, common sense. However, during your session you insisted on the therapist using intense pressure from the get-go, forgoing the myofascial friction over your levators (where the neck and shoulder meet) which she had just begun. By not allowing her the time necessary to correctly prepare your muscles, she could not only not go deeper, but if she had somehow figured out a way to force the issue, she would have likely injured you. Like the Hippocratic Oath, our Code of Ethics as Massage Therapists prevents us from causing harm. But you insisted she not bother to prepare your muscles for deep work, so she acquiesced to your superior understanding of your own body and pushed, despite the fact your muscles were not ready to receive her. Of course, I understand that some people enjoy pain, and the field of psychology has many books written on this condition. Additionally, I believe there is at least one private club in town that offers such services if you’re interested. However, we are a legitimate therapeutic practice, and do not cater to those desires.

3.       “The massage also was a few minutes shorter than the scheduled 60 minutes.” Yes, I’m sure it was. When you booked the appointment, you were told by our front desk staff you would need to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork. When you received your booking confirmation email a few minutes later it stated to arrive early to fill out paperwork. When you received your reminder phone call on Friday, March 17th you were reminded to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork. This paperwork is very important, legally required, and we’re insistent on it in order to ensure our guests are receiving the care and treatment they need. However, you chose to arrive two minutes before your appointment was to begin. This means you were still filling out paperwork when you should have already been on the table, and the therapist had to complete your intake during that time as well, which means it cut into your hour. It is common belief that massage therapists have a time-machine that allows them to start late, end on time, and still give a full one-hour service, but sadly, that is not true. You, of course, knew about this policy because the fourth bullet point on the paperwork you signed reads “Appointments will end at their scheduled time. If you arrive late your session will be adjusted to ensure it ends on schedule. You will be charged for the full session.” It’s very near the top of the page in a large, friendly, easy to read font to ensure it isn’t easily missed.

4.       “When paying a premium for a service I would expect far better treatment than I received at That’s the Rub.” I couldn’t agree more about how people at That’s the Rub are to be treated. Our front desk staff welcomes each and every guest with a smile, civility, and respect as they enter our boutique, our massage staff is very mindful of their clients’ needs, their time, and their expectations as evidenced by the detailed intake we conduct 10 minutes before an appointment with a new client (assuming said client shows up on time). As management, we proudly curate a culture of welcoming inclusiveness that has won us accolades, awards, and thousands upon thousands of devoted, repeat clients and fans. However, when you came in the front door you snapped at our front desk manager, you were hostile and condescending to our therapist, and when you left you even cursed profanely at the tea for daring to be hot, despite the fact it had just been poured for you and the therapist, as she placed it on the table in front of you, she clearly said “be careful, this is going to be very hot.” The tea did not deserve that.

As a perpetual student and consummate researcher, I decided to check in with The Laws of Thermodynamics to see if there’s any precedent for the use of profanity and the cooling of tea, in a similar vein to how speaking kind words have been proven to promote plant growth. If you are not a physics geek, allow me to refresh your memories from junior high school science class: The First Law of Thermodynamics states energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system, The Second that entropy always increases, and The Third that the entropy of a system approaches a constant value as the temperature approaches absolute zero.

I submit to you that a cup of tea is not an isolated system, and therefore The First Law does not apply under any circumstances. The Second Law is more far-reaching, and while the tea, like all other matter, is certainly increasing in entropy, and therefore cooling, swearing at it seems unlikely to speed up the process. As to The Third Law, it is reversible, and therefore by approaching absolute zero, the increased entropy would cool the tea, but I would suggest your cold, cruel words towards the tea is not cold enough to reach absolute zero. In short, I have no idea what you expected to happen as a result of your profanity, but according to science, after swearing at the tea it did nothing but remain hot and have hurt feelings. However, I am inspired by this idea, and have therefore placed a hot cup of tea in front of my home stereo playing an endless loop of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words. If it proves effective, I plan to publish.

5.       “Overall I was dissatisfied and feel I was cheated. I will never go back.” When you checked out of your appointment and presented my front desk manager with your gift certificate, you hostilely informed her in no uncertain terms you were unhappy with your service. My front desk manager, not having yet spoken to the therapist, was eager to make it right for you and immediately offered you a discount on your next service to come back and try someone else who may be a better fit for you – we know high quality therapeutic massage is subjective, and sometimes a professional relationship is not a good fit. However, you scoffed at the offer and stormed out the door without so much as a “toodles.”

Had the front desk manager been able to consult with therapist about your treatment of her, or me about my expectations before offering you a discount, I have no doubt she would have handled the situation very differently. For example, she might have, suggested that our therapists are NOT here to be verbally abused by the clients. She might have offered that our therapists are NOT here to damage themselves while giving a massage on cold, hard muscles, but rather are highly trained professional healers who shouldn’t listen to hot-tempered clients who don’t understand how muscles work. She might have reminded you that if you had bothered to show up on time as you were repeatedly reminded to you would have received your full service instead of spending a portion of it doing the legally required paperwork. She might also have informed you that cursing at your tea will not make it cool down any faster and, in fact, needlessly upsets the tea who only wants to be loved.

Finally, had my front desk manager known how you had treated the therapist, she would not have offered you a discount, she would have offered to hold the door for you as you walked through it for the last time and she informed you that you are no longer welcome at That’s the Rub because we value and respect our staff and expect our guests to do the same.

Once again, thank you so much for writing and allowing me to address your concerns one by one. I look forward to reading your five-star review of whatever therapist you end up with, who is willing to suffer your verbal abuse and break his hands on your cold, hard muscles. I am delighted to know it will not be at That’s the Rub.