Great Neck, NY (August 16, 2020) – Shelly Steinstein, Long Island’s self-proclaimed “Lice Lady” should be needling through children’s scalps searching for microscopic white bugs but instead is sitting on her couch wondering how she is going to make up for the tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue from the sleepaway camp closures throughout the Northeast. Her business has already taken a massive hit from remote learning due to the COVID pandemic and with a majority of schools beginning the year in virtual mode, Steinstein has no idea how those beautiful tiny blood-sucking head-hoppers will infiltrate the youth of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Parents typically will take their children straight from the camp bus seconds after it arrives at a local mall or municipal parking lot to the Lice Lady to ensure that since there may or may have not been a lice outbreak at another camp three or four states away, the lice have not made their way to the scalp of the child who will likely be going to a non-refundable keratin treatment appointment days later. After forking over upwards of $400 for a ten to twenty minute session, the Lice Lady will give the child a bracelet signifying that his/her scalp is lice-free and the child can go meet up with home friends who attended similarly over-indulged camps and have also been certified as lice-free by an American Camping Association-approved lice specialist.
“This has been a real hardship for me, this Covid. I’m bringing my daughter back up to Syracuse this week and I don’t know how to tell her that the Gucci-inspired wall covering just isn’t in the budget this year,” Steinstein explained. “I just hope that if her sorority sisters see the bare wall in her room, they don’t ask her to turn in her letters.”
In addition to the initial appointments upon the mass exodus from the Pocono and upstate New York regions, Steinstein will often plant a few grains of salt in a child’s hair in order to procure several follow up visits and will then start a group chat with a few gossip-mongering friends to start the rumor mill about the camps where kids contracted lice leading to an influx of new clients from worried parents. This strategy helped pay for the first semester of her daughter’s freshman year.
Steinstein is praying for a COVID cure as soon as possible so lice can run rampant in elementary and middle schools throughout the tri-state area. “I know my motto is that ‘It’s twice as nice if you don’t have lice’ but a little lice isn’t too much to ask for, is it?”