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Maybe it’s just me, but ever since the little nail kiosk appeared in the mall, walking from store to store has become more an obstacle course with one mission: Avoid the girls at the nail kiosk at all costs.

Maybe you’ve run into them. They’re the ones who hunt down every person who passes by their booth with a seemingly innocent, “May I ask you a question?”

Memorize this word, dear readers: No.

Because should you answer in the affirmative, or even acknowledge their presence, you’ll be sorry. Just ask my daughter Hannah.

She and one of her friends were spending the afternoon at the mall, with pockets full of birthday money and mall gift cards – a teenager’s paradise. All was well with the world.

Until they passed the kiosk from you know where and made eye contact with their new stalkers.

“Do you have acrylic nails?” they asked.

“No,” she answered.

“Good,” they said. I imagine they were cackling with delight as they grabbed her hand and began shining one of her nails with their “magic” buffer pad.

Within seconds, they revealed her nail that looked as if it had about 20 coats of super shine on it.

Then, they went in for the kill, and began writing up a receipt for the cost of the item, adding how they “usually charge $40 for the nail kit,” but for her, they’d knock off 10 bucks.

Next thing my daughter knew, she had a brand new nail kit, which included a buffer pad, cuticle oil and a bar of soap. She also had a receipt that carried the words, “All sales are FINAL. No exchanges or refunds.”

Of course, Hannah was crushed – mad at herself for being sucked into their evil little scheme, and mad at them for taking half her cash. Granted, it was a learning experience for her, albeit a bit pricey. It was also an eye opener for us both.

I called the mall after she arrived home, practically in tears over the whole episode. Apparently, they get hundreds of calls complaining about this kiosk on a regular basis. And for whatever reasons, no one does anything about their “business practices.”

I mentioned the incident to my neighbors, and the husband admitted to having fallen prey, as well. In fact, he’d purchased four (yes, four…) kits one day.

“She was hot!” was the only defense he could muster.


Anywho, since that day, we’ve developed a tried and true system for avoiding the nail girl plague. For the benefit of you, our readers, and your loved ones, here are the Top 10 ways to just say no:

  1. Hold your cell phone to your ear and pretend to be carrying on a conversation.
  2. Talk non-stop to the person you are with.
  3. If you are shopping alone, grab the nearest shopper and start a conversation with them.
  4. If the above methods fail, send a text message. Even if you run head first into another shopper, it’ll be better than getting sucked in by the nail stalkers.
  5. Focus on the stores on the exterior walls as you walk, pretending to be interested.
  6. Duck into one of these stores, wait for the stalker to reel in another unsuspecting shopper, then make your get-away.
  7. Pretend like you don’t hear them (one of my favorites, which shouts, “You don’t exist, evil nail people.”
  8. Know the kiosk locations (in our mall, there are at least two such kiosks, and strategically map out your store-to-store plan to avoid running into them
  9. Don’t go to the mall.
  10. Look them in the eye when they say, “May I ask you a question?” Just say, “No” – and whatever you do, keep walking!


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