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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Today At The Hair Salon ...

I needed a haircut. No, really, just a trim, so I checked out one of my usual salon options ... a nationally-recognized chain. Might be named after a day of the week ... really couldn't say. I often bounced between three different haircare businesses, but the parking lot of the establishment in question was pretty open, so my decision was quickly made. I parked, signed in, and took a seat.
After maybe five minutes, a sassy little redhead with an elaborate nose piercing called my name and led my to her station. I gave her a somewhat-detailed description of what kind of cut I needed and even showed her a picture of a celebrity sporting a similar 'do. She acknowledged my goals and set to work.

Just shy of seven minutes later ... 7 MINUTES ... I was at the counter where my stylist rung up the damage with a smile. $24.99. I opened my wallet and handed her the cash, adding in a close to 15 percent tip because I am a worldly sort. She thanked me, made a half-hearted inquiry about my need for any product, and grabbed the sign-in clipboard to announce her next conquest.

Once in my car, I performed a cursory inspection of my hair in the rearview mirror. It looked good but I thought, "damn, that's good money for very little work."

Now don't get me wrong. I think hairdressers and stylists work hard, but I also think that maybe simple styles or shorter hair should warrant lower prices. Like any service, the fee should reflect the time involved and the skills needed to complete said service. I've seen stylists put in carefully-layered extensions. And I've seen color treatments and other processes that seem to employ special chemicals and careful timing. Those services deserve top dollar when top results are achieved. But my recent romp in the cutting chair consisted of no shampooing (that costs extra now), less than a minute with clippers and a No. 2 blade to crop the back and sides, close to two minutes of scissor work for good blending on the top, and then some fancy scissors/comb/clipper combo maneuver that made a strange vibrating sound but apparently put a cool edge on my haircut.

And, I must admit, the customer service aspect of the actual salon experience doesn't seem to equal the pricetag anymore. The salon personnel are always pleasant, but usually the stylists talk to each other about their kids and their work schedule ... they maybe have one or two comments for me like "how is your day going?" or "where do you work?" At some point, I usually try to offer a personal tidbit about myself or try to join the stylist-to-stylist banter because I feel like I'm being too quiet. And when they wet my hair, they often overspray leaving me sopping. I think it usually happens because my stylist is too engrossed in conversation with a heighboring cutter ... or maybe she thinks hydraulic salon chairs get my emotions going and me "crying" is a normal reaction.

Once again, at a stoplight, I admire my haircut. I also vow to shop around and see if a more reasonably-priced trim can be found. But my search will be within reason ... I don't want to go back to trying my own hand at electric trimmers in the shower (not very good results) or repeat the experience where my college roommate cut my hair while we were downing a "Silver Bullet" 12-pack (never a good idea). Maybe I'd just budget things so my hair wasn't an issue.

POINT OF RANT: In many things in life, you simply get what you pay for.

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