More than a Haircut…

After work this past Friday I just knew I wouldn’t be going home until I got a haircut. I couldn’t stand it any more!! I was way past overdue and didn’t want to go home without one. Determined,  I set out to complete this task. I thought that perhaps Friday after 5 might not be the best time but figured it most likely wasn’t the worst either so stopped in at a local cut and go salon.

I walked in, put my name on the list, and was told my wait would be about 10 minutes. As I scanned the salon, there appeared to be three stylists working with other customers so I thanked her, sat down, relaxed, and opened a National Enquirer which I figured would be fun to read while I waited…

I don’t know if it was because I was so thoroughly engrossed in my reading or just brain dead after a long week but by the time I looked up at the clock it was pretty surprising to see that my 10 minute wait had turned into 30. I looked around and could see that the three stylists were still with the same customers–a couple of them sitting down right along with them chatting away!

I suddenly felt a wave of invisibility come over me. Did I exist? Was I really there waiting for a haircut? What the heck is going on? I thought–how much effort would it take for one of those stylists to come over or even look my way to let me know they hadn’t forgotten me and that someone would be with me shortly…

But that didn’t happen–even after steadily looking their way hoping for some eye contact. A few more minutes ticked by. I decided I was going to make my move: I was either going to stand up and ask how much longer or was going to walk out. I concluded that given the current situation, I was past the point of feeling this would be a satisfactory haircut experience. Even if they came up to me in the next 5 seconds I would most likely not be a happy customer because I felt ignored. So I got up, crossed my name off the list, and left.

Back in my car, I wasn’t deterred. I still felt getting a haircut was possible tonight so pressed on. First I came to what I thought was a hair salon but turned out to be for nails only. Next I came to another cut and go type salon. I’d been there before and remembered they’d done a decent job so walked in prepared to put my name on a list…

The stylist smiled and greeted me and I told her I wanted a haircut. She said, “I’m ready if you are.” So I went over and sat down at her station surprised and relieved that my mission was almost complete.

As I sat there I noted that she looked like she was focused on me as her customer. She asked me how I wanted it cut and confirmed what I already knew–that I was definitely in need of some maintenance. She was pleasant, friendly, knew what she was doing, and gave me a cut that equaled any I had previously received at much more spendy salons.

And that was it. In just minutes, I was done.

I walked over to the counter to pay as she followed behind me. I gave her my card and she rang it up. I took the slip she handed me and zeroed in on the line designated for the tip. Without hesitation I put in a generous though not extravagant amount. She said, “Oh, you think that’s where the total goes?” I said, “No, that’s your tip.”

She beamed as I thanked her. I told her how much I appreciated not only her quick action to help me as soon as I came through the door but also the fact that she was gracious and did a great job!

The thing is, I wouldn’t have minded waiting at the first salon if there would have been something–anything to let me know I wasn’t forgotten.

At the second salon I was prepared to wait and would have but was quickly served.

I needed and wanted a haircut but this was about more than a haircut. It was about acknowledgment, communication, respect, and dignity.  How do any of us feel paying for lousy service? Sometimes, we don’t have as much control over what we pay for–like the toilet is leaking and the bathroom’s flooding. But in this particular instance, I did. If I can’t expect respect as a paying customer at a hair salon, how am I going to expect respect in my significant relationships? In the scheme of things this may seem like a small life event but it had a big impact on me and I’m betting it did on the generously tipped stylist as well.

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One Response to “More than a Haircut…”

  1. Love says:

    Thank you for sharing.

    Sometimes, I also notice that some people enjoy while they are having the opportunity to hurt others, like the first persons that were at the first salon you went.

    I do not always know how to deal with this. Of course there are different cases and different situations. One thing is to have Compassion toward them, and other very different is to let them walk over you. Of course they are not aware of what they are doing (if they Knew, they wouldn´t do it at all). And they exist because we are carrying them within. They are a reflection of our own unchecked darkness and monsters. They are there because our Painbody wants them to be there.

    We are also that ugly.