Oh do you now?

As a bribe for children (and as a convenient snack for the stylists) we offer free dum-dum lollipops in a range of flavors. Generally the child will pick out their favorite flavor (or the brightest color), say thank you (after some prodding from Mom or Dad), and move on. One child picked out a butterscotch one. Knowing the yellow-orangey wrapper might be deceiving, I said “That’s butterscotch, are you sure you like that one?”

His reply: “I love butter and I love scotch!” I cracked up, and his mother was too embarrassed to speak.

I’m assuming of course, that this seven year old has never tasted Scotch Whiskey.


It is what it is

A man came in for a trim. Although his beard was pure silver, the hair on his head was brown without even a hint of gray. He had a very laid-back attitude, and kept a mantra of  “it is what it is.”

He told me a tale of another man (who had gone completely gray) that demanded to know what my client put in his hair to keep it brown. My client kept insisting that his hair was all natural and always had been. This went on and on until the other man became irate. My client ended his story with his classic “it is what it is,” and I couldn’t help but think that maybe it was this attitude that kept his hair from going gray.

yellow hair

As I brought a man up to the register to pay after his haircut, his blonde 4-year old son saw my rainbow hair and just stood there, mouth agape. His father said “Do you like her hair? Is that how you want yours?” The son just nodded, still motionless and speechless.

“He was actually just telling me on the way over here that he is sick of his yellow hair and he wants it to be rainbow.”

I bent down next to him and said “I was sick of my yellow hair too!” I don’t think he knew that it was possible to actually have rainbow hair, because even as his father carried him out the door, the boy still stared at me, wide-eyed and speechless. I’m pretty sure I blew that kid’s mind, simply by existing.

short hair reasoning

A lady came in to get her hair cut. and I mean ALL her hair cut. She was tired of long hair, and decided to get rid of it and donate to Locks of Love. As I cut off the 16 inches and styled her new sassy ‘do, she told me that her 8-year old daughter also has long hair. She figured that once the girl saw Mom’s hair, she would want her hair cut too. (ps- this makeover would be a surprise to everyone.)

Turns out that the girl not only has long hair, but it’s a really pretty shade of “strawberry blonde, with lots of extra strawberry.” People are always commenting and complimenting her on it, but she hates the attention. “Mommy, I wish I was brown like everyone else,” she has said. So the mom figured that her own newly short hair, plus the added benefit of (hopefully) less popularity, would convince the girl that she should go short (and donate) as well.

I gave the lady a coupon, and told her to bring her daughter on in, because I want to see this fabled hair.


Yet another pet peeve: Arriving on time. Now, you can arrive early all you want, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to take you yet. The thing with the service industry is that – wait for it – we’re performing a service. Services that take time. Generally we have an idea of how much time each service takes, and so can plan accordingly. If you’re late, chances are that you’re now forcing other clients to wait, and forcing the stylist to lose out on money. (You’ve heard the saying that time is money right?)

Case in point: We officially close the shop the same time the mall closes, but because of the aforementioned services, we stop taking clients well before actual “closing time.” Haircuts take less time than color, which takes less time than foils, and so on. When someone called today asking what was the latest we would take a client for foils and a cut, I gave her an honest answer. It just so happened that the cutoff time was 6:00,  about half an hour from when the person was calling. I made sure to say at the absolute latest, because I had no idea what kind of hair the person had (longer, thicker hair takes more time). The woman on the phone said she’d try to make it. Well, since she didn’t make an appointment, I was free to take other clients – ones that were actually in the shop.

The appointed time came and went, and the person was a no show. My coworker went to lunch, and I continued taking walk-ins. About 15 minutes after the specified time, a woman waltzes in and lets me knows she was the caller.

1. She’s 15 minutes past the absolute latest I said I could take her,
2. I’m alone in the shop, and my coworker won’t be back for half an hour.
3. I’ve got another client in my chair already. (Getting just a haircut, no color.)

By the time someone would be free, it definitely wouldn’t leave enough time for either of us to do the requested service.

I explained this to the woman, and she protested “You said you could do it if I got here by 6!” Ignoring the fact that she was twisting my words, I reminded her that it is now 6:15. That’s 15 minutes past 6. It might seem like a negligible amount, but every minute counts, and I said 6:00 for a reason. Well she got all huffy and stormed out. Maybe she could find another salon to do her color for her in the limited time before the mall closed, and if so, bully for her. But I knew nobody in my salon could do it (and do it well), and since she already showed her attitude, it was probably for the best.

(When I went back to my client, she had heard the whole thing. She assured me that I wasn’t crazy, and as the other woman had acknowledged,  it was indeed after 6.)

late life crisis

A lady of at least 70 years old sat in my chair, and said “I’m sick of my hair. I want it gone. I don’t want the curls anymore. I don’t want to deal with it anymore. Make it gone. Make it so I don’t have to do anything to it.”

So I did. Her hair wasn’t that long to begin with, and she had been coloring it a fiery copper color, which suited her personality. We got to talking, and it turned out she had gone to the roller derby recently, and quite enjoyed it. “I used to rollerskate in my day. I think I should join the roller derby. Show those young girls what for!”

I couldn’t even continue cutting her hair at that point, I was so overwhelmed by this lady’s spirit. Hopefully she wasn’t just going through a late-life crisis, but from talking to her, I don’t think that was the case.

buyer’s remorse

This story I didn’t experience firsthand: I was only a (distracted) observer as it unfolded in my salon with one of my coworkers, so some of the details are a bit hazy.

A lady came in for a cut. She was an older lady, and as such, had beautiful silvery white hair. The kind of white hair that people not only want, but drool over. Not gray, not salt and pepper, but beautiful, pure, snow white. Somehow the conversation got turned to hair color, and I’m not sure how or why it happened, but this lady and my coworker decided to make her hair darker. “To look younger.”

I hear my coworker say she’ll do a dark blonde, with brown-copper lowlights. And, in the corner of my eye, it appears that this is what happened. But then I hear them talking – Apparently it turned out darker than my coworker had hoped. I chalk it up to inexperience with white hair (you have to use a color 2 shades lighter then your goal), and continue with my own duties. But the client is unhappy. She’s not yelling or anything, only repeating “I never should have tried this.”

My coworker felt awful about it (turns out she had in fact made a mistake) but was doing all she could to rectify the situation. She did 2 separate color removal techniques, and all the while the client was lamenting her decision to put color in her beautiful white hair. I didn’t necessarily get to see all of the stages, only hear the discussions about it. They were all the same – the poor client was almost in tears because her hair was different, and my poor coworker almost in tears trying to fix it. They were both concerned about the integrity of the hair as well.

Eventually, they did all that could be done. I did see the finished product, and it really wasn’t that different from what she had walked in with.Sure, it wasn’t pure white anymore, but it was a very pale blonde. Still a pretty color, and had I not been there for the entire exchange, I would have assumed it was done on purpose. The client still wasn’t happy about her adventure, but maybe after she gets used to it she won’t regret it quite so much. But she kept saying things along the lines of “I never should have tried this. I am so stupid.” And so on.

I felt bad for her, but I also had missed that important turning point where she decided to go for the color. Clearly she had been thinking about it, as she was easily persuaded. (No offense to my coworker, but she’s not that great of a saleswoman.) Maybe they should have gone with something less drastic at first or something. As I mentioned, I was in no way involved, so I can neither judge nor offer counsel.

I guess the moral is something that all hairdressers already know: Nobody is happy with what they have on their head. But then again, that’s why we are in business.