too cute to grow

Every 2 years or so, a client of mine chops off her long hair and donates it to Locks of Love. Then she starts the growing process again, and repeats ad nauseum. When she came in last time for her cut, I of course asked her how she would like it styled. She said “I guess just a one-length bob.” I asked her if she didn’t want any layering in it, and she replied that everyone had always told her that she couldn’t have layers since her hair was so fine. I told her that was nonsense, and proceeded to show her.

Before I was even done, she was proclaiming “I love it! I love it so much!” I don’t know why she had been told she couldn’t have the hairstyle she wanted, but once she did, she was so happy about it. When we were done, she said “It’s so adorable, I don’t know if I want to grow it out again!”

Mixed feelings about that. I’m glad she loved her hair, but I also like when people donate their hair to those that need it.

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living life

A lady sat in my chair and wanted her hair cut short – no muss, no fuss. She didn’t care what it looked like, as long as she didn’t have to do anything to it in the mornings. She also wore no makeup. Her low maintenance appearance seemed to confuse her friends. “But what do you do in the mornings?” they would ask her.

“I sit on my porch and drink coffee. I live my life and watch the world go by. What do you do?”

They never had an answer to that.

wasted trip

A lady was in my chair, but visiting from Florida. She had planned her trip weeks ago, hoping to come to the mountains in time for snow. Thing is, today was 70 degrees. All week has been similar. I felt a little bad that her trip was for nothing, but not bad enough to give up my 70 degree days in December!

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.

Ghost cat

Because I am a master of small talk, often conversations with my clients go something like this:

them: “Do you have kids?”
me: “Nope. I have cats.”
them: “Oh! Me too! Let’s swap cat stories!”

which is fine because like any good cat lady, I have tons of stories. None beat this one though.

My client just moved into a new house, occupied by her now-roommate and the roomie’s cat. One night my client was sleeping, and she felt something cuddle up next to her. She assumed it was the cat, though she didn’t know how the cat got in her room. “Maybe I didn’t shut the door all the way.” she figured. The next night, the same thing happened. However this time, she distinctly remembered closing her door. She woke up and looked around a bit, but there was no cat. The next morning, she mentioned it to her roommate.

“Oh yeah, that was just Lacey.” the roommate explained. “She died a few months ago, but she still likes to cuddle.”

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.)

VIP

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.