Posted by: mariabro | September 26, 2012

Manicures and the Eurozone crisis

I love reading the news and then actually living it. For example, we have all been reading about the European financial crisis. The somewhat offensive acronym PIIGS – refers to countries who have been suffering financial difficulties – Portugal, Ireland and now Italy, Greece, and Spain. Apparently they have some issues, much like a first year university student does when they realize that new credit card has to be repaid at some point.

I like to assume the southern European nations are just suffering the fallout of the global financial crisis. It’s not their fault. But I’m actually in Italy right now and experiencing the crunch. Let’s bring it down to the LCD ( lowest common denominator), the manicure. (I’ll give you my night club/political theory later)

I tried to book a manicure on a Monday at 5:00. You would think I asked them to give me the keys to the Pope’s bedroom. “Alora, Maria, scuze but no time for manicure today-a. We close-a at 6:00.”
Milan, the business epicenter of Italy seems to close at 6:00…and many places are closed all day Monday as well.

I couldn’t help but reminisce about my days in the ultra-convenient Tokyo. I wanted my hair done at 11:00pm, before I hit the clubs? No problem. Champagne brought in courtesy of the Bar next door. No problem. You need a dress shirt for work because you didn’t make it home last night? No problem. You can buy a cup of sake and an iPhone charger at the corner store. Europe needs to learn a little about convenience. I’m not talking about having big box stores in every suburb. I’m talking about giving people what they need. When they need it. Every country has their niche. Japan has a combini on every corner, Canada has a bank on every corner, America has drive-through donut stores, Italy has great cafes, if only globalization allowed us to have a country with great combinis/banks/donuts and coffee on every corner! Utopia.

The issue is productivity. Some people work long hours and don’t produce much. Other people seem to work fewer hours while producing more. The holy grail will be when we can all work fewer hours while still producing more. There is no easy solution. And no free lunch. Bringing it back to the LCD, if I want a manicure at 5:00 and you close at 6:00, it should be a no-brainer. But if I want a $10 manicure at midnight, this would not be a productive business opportunity…unless you are in Bangkok where you can get almost anything at almost any time.
Countries that don’t offer no-brainers will be left behind. But there needs to be a balance between convenience and productivity which allows citizens to achieve a work life balance. Whoever figures it out first, wins. And will have great nails in the process.



  1. You just go to Bombay.

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