Went to get my haircut today. The main street in my smallish town has an old fashioned barber shop. Two old guys share it: a white dude and an Asian dude. Last two times I’ve gone in, the Asian dude has cut my hair, and I’ve been pretty satisfied with it. Not perfect, but alright. Since I can’t remember the last time I’ve been completely satisfied with a haircut, I take alright as a win. This time the white dude cut my hair.
I told him, “Trim up the sides and the back, but I want you to leave my bangs and the top pretty much alone.” He proceeded to tell me that I part my hair on the wrong side (shoulda taken that as a sign) and then went to work with a pair of clippers.
The white dude butchered my haircut.
At first, when he took the clippers to my bangs, I thought his was just evening them out to match my the trimmed sides and back of my hair. Then he gave me a mirror. My hair is now shorter than I’ve any time I can remember since my time in Marine JROTC during high school.
I was livid.
I asked, “So what part about I didn’t want you to do anything to bangs and top did you not understand?” He said, “I guess I didn’t get what you meant.”
You think, Captain obvious.
He didn’t charge me for the hair cut. If he had tried, he would have been the first victim of my awesome new insult. The one I posted about on Facebook as being highly offensive and NSFW, though it still has a sort of vulgar poetry. At least he did the professional and didn’t charge me for a haircut completely not what I was looking for. This saved him from my verbal assault.
Still, as it stands now, I get to wait a few months before I start feeling like myself again.
This is why I always let my hair grow so much between haircuts. I almost always have a bad experience with barbers/stylists. I have a very specific cut I like. I’ve had a few barbers/hairdressers able to manage it, so I know it can be done. Problem is, even though I know it can be done, and that it seems that it should be a pretty simple hair style to do, so many hair cutting professionals screw the pooch on it.
Here’s the thing… and this applies across all industries, not just about my hair. If a customer asks for something, give them what they want, or if you can’t, whether it’s a product that does almost everything they want, but doesn’t have all the features, or a service that you can’t provide, tell them it isn’t something you can do for them. You get more respect from them, and possibly recommendations from them for your honesty. Remember the lessons from Miracle on 34th Street? In my case, if the style of hair cut it’s not that simple, or if the specific person who is cutting my hair can’t do what I want, that they’d tell me straight out. I’d rather do a little searching around for someone who can do it than have to suffer not feeling like myself for a few months. Also, if you’re that barber/stylist, you’d rather that than all the bad press I’m going to give you for butchering my hair. As a close friend said about me this last weekend, “You are the most out-spoken, opinionated person I’ve ever met.” I like to rant about things that tick me off.
The trouble is, more people look at the dollar signs coming in at the moment than they do about building long-term relationships with potential clients or business partnerships. Just know that should you be one of those people, you might very well end up in someone’s rant. It might not be mine. It might not happen the first time, or the second, but eventually, if you treat customers like dollar signs, then you will eventually have people ranting about it, and costing you even more business than just theirs.