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I walked out of the back room of the salon to find a customer sitting at the sink. She said “Well, I’m ready!” This was the first I’d seen this customer, so I asked “ready for what? Have you been checked in already?”

*heavvy sigh* “A shampoo and a blow dry!” Everything she said to me had the distinct tone of  “you’re such an idiot” even though this woman had just come into the shop and sat down at the sink. I looked quizzically at my manager, who was in the middle of doing a haircut, and she told me to just use the one-time check in. That uses only the client’s first name, and does not track her for future visits. So I asked the customer her name, and exasperated, she said “Sister.” So that’s what I put.

I started the shampoo and was still wondering who this person was. In the middle of it, she suddenly sat up to answer her phone. It was so sudden that I was in the process of  rinsing her out, and ended up spraying myself because my target was no longer there. When she got off the phone, she looked back at me (still annoyed of course), and said “are we done here?” I said no, and explained that she was the one that had stopped the process. She sat back down and I continued. She reminded me to use conditioner, which not only is standard procedure both inside the salon and at home, but at that point was already done. .. I was toweling off her hair.

We went back to my station and I asked her how she wanted it styled. She gave a bunch of vague answers that somehow contradicted themselves, so I still didn’t really know. When I asked for clarification, the lady decided I was a deaf, retarded, 3 year old and shouted “UP, BACK, AND UNDER” all while miming the movements with exaggerated gestures. So I started styling it and the person got on her phone, because she was clearly too important for anything else. When she ended that call, she asked if I’d ever used a round brush before. When I said yes of course I had, she demanded that I use a different brush, because apparently when I said “medium size” she interpreted it as something other than the three options I gave her (small, medium, or large brush).

She got back on the phone, occasionally pausing to order me to get a curling iron, and then to get her a pen and paper. I didn’t have any paper, but I brought her a pen. Again, she was annoyed, and in her search for something to write on, she tore a paper neck strip out of the dispenser, sending many others falling to the floor, rendering them useless (since their entire function is to keep you sanitary). And of course, they are paper but not the kind that you can easily write on, so she threw it on the ground when her (my) pen didn’t work. During all this, she is moving around all willy-nilly, which is making it darn near impossible to style her hair. When she decided she didn’t like the job I was doing and told me to use the curling iron. Then she was annoyed that I had to go get the proper comb. Still, she yakked away on her phone, which were clearly very important business calls, and continued moving around. Once she put her feet on my counter and pushed the chair around. While I’m trying to curl her hair. With a hot curling iron. I had already asked her to stop moving, which of course she ignored, so this time I said “Ma’am, you need to stop moving while I have this curling iron next to your face, or I’m going to burn you!” It wasn’t meant as a threat – just a fact. That made her put the phone down and say “just do this side and I think we’re done here. I’m in a hurry. You have 10 minutes.” She got back on the phone and didn’t hear me remind her that she came to me for a service. 

When we finally finished, she threw the cape and neckstrip she had been wearing onto the chair and stormed over to the register. I gave her the total, which was $18, and she threw two crumpled up ten dollar bills at me. Literally threw them. Luckily when they hit me and the counter, they were only paper so they didn’t do the damage that she had intended. Then she stormed out the door, back on the phone. I took her $2 change as my tip and went back to clean up. Both of the other stylists in the salon took a break from their clients to come make sure I was ok. They had heard her be so rude (one could even hear her all the way from the bathroom), and were ready to cover me in case I needed a break. I appreciated that, and I also appreciated that my manager had heard me threaten her with the curling iron and was silently wishing I would burn her. (I did my best to avoid it, but to be honest, if I had accidentally burned her, I would not have felt badly about it.)

And to think, she will probably tell all of her important business associates about the awful service she received.

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