Coco moving the massage table
Recently Coco, a shy Chinese woman, sublet the Chinese massage studio and its contents located across the hall from my studio. We had to communicate with lots of smiling and her phone translator app. This went on for weeks as she tried to establish herself here. We tried to talk about the building rules. We have a microwave and coffee pot and occasionally plug in a crock pot in the winter. It was an awkward situation since she wasn't supposed to be cooking food on the premises and always did. I was stressed about food smells lingering when my students arrived and my fabric stash.
However she made some awesome dumplings and knocked on my door to share them with me even after I just as I asked her to stop cooking. Customers came and went and she spent many hours waiting for more.
Consequently in her spare time. Coco became interested in my quilting and popped into my studio as soon as I arrived.
I was happy to explain a little bit about the process and invited her to see what was happening in my studio and classroom. She said hello and smiled back at my class. Note: there are few words in Chinese that translate correctly to our quilting terminology. She liked to look at all my quilts. I think she wanted me to give her one.
English was still a problem as she managed to tell me a couple of her male customers shortchanged since she couldn't argue about the numbers of the payment accurately. The woman who sublet her the business was supposed to share her client list and advice didn't come through. To help her business keep going I drove Coco around town and put up flyers In English and Chinese at all the local small businesses in the area. I'm not sure if it helped. I was trying to balance helping another woman in business, her habits of doing whatever she wanted when cooking, or interrupting my coveted studio time.
The situation abruptly changed itself. That morning a male customer arrived asking for more than a massage and said he had several friends who would also be interested in her services. Her translator was smoking as she tried to explain.
She sprung into action. She was done with this business.
We went to our landlord and reported the situation while demanding her deposit back. I piped up "in cash today".
He agreed and suggested she just leave everything the way she found it. I assumed he was thinking of renting the space again.
By end of the day Coco had deposited everything except the massage table into the dumpster. She was complaining that someone could easily drag the massage table back into the space and start this bad business again. What else could I do? Without a word, I mindfully handed her my sharpest scissors which, without a word she slashed the massage table beyond repair and dragged it off to the dumpster.
When her ride came to collect her and her belongings she
winked, embraced me and sweetly, then whispered in my ear in perfect English, how much she enjoyed my company and all of my help. She also added our landlord was a jerk, I needed to learn how to look out for myself, I was too nice, and lock the door.
The previous owner returned to find not only an empty business which she had to refurnish and establish again but Coco refused to give her the phone number of her business back.