the 10- minute knot

A 7 year old girl and her mom came in to get the girl’s hair cut. I had to spend several minutes combing out all the tangles before I even asked how much we were cutting. The little girl wanted it off. ALL OFF. She had shoulder-length hair and wanted it taken down to a stacked bob. I verified that this was ok with the mom, and proceeded.

During the cut, the little girl explained that her hair got tangled very easily and she didn’t like brushing it, so that’s why she wanted to cut it short. I agreed that it had been a challenge to keep knot-free. In face, she said “just this morning, I had such a big knot in my hair that it took us about 10 minutes to even get it out!” That seemed like a little much, but the mother verified it.

When the cut was done, the little girl absolutely loved it. The mom didn’t seem too pleased with the new ‘do, saying only “it’s short. It’s really short.” But when the girl and I reminded her of the 10-minute knot, the mom couldn’t argue with results.

Punctuality

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.)