As I’ve mentioned before, we give out lollipops as bribes for children that sit still and don’t cry for their haircuts. We also have stickers and temporary tattoos, but those don’t have quite the draw that free candy does.
However, I never realized how important the candy was until the day we ran out.
Repeat customers have come to expect the treat at the end. Often, as soon as they get out of the chair, they run to the counter where we keep the stash. One child did exactly this, but when there was nothing there, his little heart broke. I saw it, my coworkers saw it, his parents saw it, everyone in the salon saw it. Nay, felt it. That child’s world had just ended. He sat through a haircut, perfectly still and not making a peep, and all for nothing. NOTHING! His whole world was a lie. Never would he enjoy getting a haircut again.
In that moment, none of these words were expressed, but we could see it all on his little face. He didn’t cry. No, he took a deep breath and silently walked away. But it was such a heavy moment that I wouldn’t be surprised if he went home and wept quietly into his pillow.
None of us ever wanted to repeat that moment, so we made sure to restock on the candy as soon as possible.