“My facial should be cheaper today, it’s GST day!” the lady in the chair next to me at the beauty parlour cried out loudly. I turned around to look at her in surprise. Her face was covered in green and three salon attendants were tending to her nails and hair. Two eyes sparkled at me through the green goo. I wasn’t sure whether to smile at her since her mouth hadn’t moved. Possibly to avoid getting wrinkles. Still, I decided it was safer to nod at her in return.
The three attendants perked up from their duties and stared at her with interest. “Oh ho, GST Ma’am,” the wiry chap filing her nails said knowledgeably. “Woh Shuru ho Gaya?” (has it started already?)
“Of course,” the lady sighed and slumped back in her seat. “It started from midnight last night. The parlour should charge less now with the Good Tax, isn’t it?” The three men exchanged glances. I suppressed a giggle.
“There are different taxes for different things, isn’t it Madam?” the hairstylist paused with a strand of coloured hair in his hand. “18 %, 28 % …” The chap had done his homework well.
The lady looked at her reflection in the mirror. The eyes under the mask were round, incredulous. “Yes, yes,” she said quickly. “Different rates.” Her eyes met mine in the mirror. I could tell that she didn’t have a clue about the different rates or the tax! Or the fact that salon services would cost more.
Hours later, I could hear her arguing with the receptionist about the bill. “Arre, no change in your bill. You haven’t given any rebate for GST. This is not done!” before storming out in a huff vowing never to return.
I wonder what the poor woman had been expecting. With all the personal grooming services that she opted for, I’m not surprised she was served a huge bill. It’s a tax for god’s sake, not a discount for looking good.
Like all things, beauty too comes at a price!