The Repercussions of Asking for Help

I’m still pretty new to the profession of hair, but I think in general I do pretty well. Luckily, if I need help, the girls I work with are there for me. That happened today. I was doing  a cut on a 9-year old girl, and there was one piece that was giving me trouble. So I called over one of the girls that wasn’t busy and asked for advice. She showed me how to accomplish what I wanted, and it was nice to see this cut done rather than try and guess.

However, I could tell that the parents weren’t pleased that I asked for assistance. Though that doesn’t make sense because wouldn’t they rather leave happy – even if I have to ask for help – than me just keep hacking away, ruining their daughter’s haircut, and probably causing them to make another trip (either back to my shop or to another one altogether)? I’m not ashamed that I asked for help. Life is about constantly learning.

But when it came time for them to pay, they went to the effort of marking a big fat ZERO for the tip. I was going to give the tip to my coworker anyway, but thankfully they saved me the trouble by making sure I knew they were unhappy. So even though I didn’t get any financial gain from the experience, at least I learned how to the cut, which I’m sure will be more useful in the long run.

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Why would you lie?

Even though his hair was already barely existent, the big redneck dad insisted his redneck son needed a haircut. During the usual struggles (including using actual brute force to hold the child’s head in a useful position – i.e. looking straight forward – while the dad played what must have been a thrilling game of Words with Friends), I asked the child how old he was. I do this not only to make small talk, but because children under ten years old get the discounted rate.

“Six” the child answered, meekly.

“Tell her how old you really are, son” said the dad.

Silence.

“He’s twelve.”

That was a little bit of a shock. I’m horrible at guessing people’s ages just by looking at them, but I’ve never had a 12-year old act like this. But I keep on keeping on, and when I go to get paid, I ask for the standard $21. Well the dad just pitches a fit, and I say “didn’t you say he was twelve? That counts as a standard adult haircut.”

“What? I was KIDDING! He’s SIX. Does he look twelve to you?” He accuses, as he shoves the child for emphasis. You know, in case I thought he was talking about someone else. I said “honestly sir, I have no idea how old your child is. That’s why I asked. You said he was twelve, so that’s all I have to go on.”

I void out the transaction, which requires me to fill out paperwork to be signed by my boss. The man is hovering next to me, on my side of the register, intently staring at the computer screen to make sure I don’t try to swindle him again. He gets charged the correct price (which is $7 cheaper, btw) and storms off without leaving a tip. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised at that last bit. And also frankly, I’d be fine if they never came back.

Incidentally, my coworker was there for this whole exchange, and as soon as they were gone, she turned to me and said “What a dick!” I couldn’t agree more. Also, on the paperwork I mentioned there is a space to explain why the transaction was voided. I wrote “the customer lied to me. But he was “only joking.” Can’t wait for corporate to call me about that one.

/eyeroll

Oh, Mother

I’ve found that children’s haircuts are among my least favorite to do. Young children tend to move around a lot, making my job (which involves very sharp scissors next to their ears) darn near impossible. Even if they do stay still, that is a relative term. More often though, the child is a sweet little angel who holds still and is quiet, possibly from fear of a stranger holding the aforementioned sharp tools. BUT the parents can be a chore. They can be way too picky, as in “get his hair out of his eyes, but don’t cut off his curls, but don’t make him look like a girl, but make his hair a lot shorter.” Or they can be too demanding, not understanding that when their child is crying and/or squirming more than a worm full of itching powder, they may not come out with a perfect haircut. Generally, kids’ cuts take longer. Yet for some reason, children’s cuts are cheaper than adult cuts.

So far, the worst I’ve had is a lady that wanted her daughter to have the “Posh Spice.” You know, short hair, stacked in back. This cut is difficult to make perfect even on a motionless adult, let alone a sleepy 6 year old. It was taking a while, since the child’s head kept drooping. I was almost done when the mom started to get impatient. My shears were on the table and I was dong one final run through with my fingers to check for evenness. The mom, exasperated that the cut wasn’t done in 15 minutes (impossible, btw) said “let me show you how I do it at home” and then proceeded to pick up my shears to use. I said “actually, I’d prefer if you didn’t touch those” and took them back out of her hand.

There are so many things wrong with this. You never, ever touch a professional’s tools, be it a hairstylist, baker, doctor, mechanic, whatever. Chances are, these tools are very expensive, and the company’s insurance does not cover untrained civilians playing with them. Secondly, if you do it at home so well, why did you tote you child(ren) into the mall so you could pay money to have someone else do it?

Needless to say, the lady was not happy with her daughter’s cut. I admit, it wasn’t perfect, but it was good as it could be with a helicopter mom and a squirmy child. I didn’t get a tip, but I got a story to tell.