18 August 2009

"You oughta know..." -Alanis Morissette

On a completely unrelated topic, is anyone else disturbed by the news that they will bury Michael Jackson on August 29th when he died on June 25th? Ew.

Note: You might want to get some Pecan Twirls to fortify you: this is going to be a long one.

Saturday, I wander into a new place to inquire about getting a haircut. I encounter two women behind the counter.

Woman behind counter #1 (WBC1): Hi! Welcome to _____!

Me: Thank you. I'm interested in getting my hair cut. What are your prices?

WBC1: It varies.

Me: Can you give me a ballpark figure?

WBC1: Not really. It depends on a lot of things.

Me, wondering what the problem is: Okay... What is the range?

WBC1: $55 and up.

Me: Okay. Can someone see me today? ... Now?

WBC1: Yes!

WBC2, in a stage whisper, pointing: No! See on the computer...

WBC1: Oh, ... well... the earliest someone could see you is 12:30.

Me: Okay, and what would that person charge?

WBC1: $50.

Me: *blink*

WBC1: Well, it's a range. I gave you an estimate.

(I know my math skills are weak but since when is $50 in the range of $55 and up?)

Me, backing out: Okay. I'll think on it.

WBC1: Here, take our brochure!

When I get home I look in the mirror at the dead marmot my hair has come to resemble, suck it up and call them back.

WBC1: _____, can I help you?

Me: Yeah, I was in earlier inquiring about a haircut. I have lunch plans but could I get an appointment later in the day?

WBC1: How about 3:00?

Me: Yeah, okay.

WBC1, takes details: Okay, we'll see you at 3:00 for a haircut with Janice.

Me: How much is that going to run me?

WBC1: I can't say. It depends on the stylist and your hair and what's involved.

Me, slowly: We know who the stylist is, right?

WBC1: Janice is doing your haircut. She's the woman who was standing next to me when you came in.

Me: And how much does Janice charge?

WBC1: I couldn't tell you exactly.

Me: *pause* You can't tell me? What's her range?

WBC1: It depends.

Me: Can you tell me the maximum?

WBC1: Well, it won't be more than $75.

Me: I'm not ready to spend $75 for a haircut.

WBC1: It's probably not going to be that much.

Me: But you can't get any closer to what it will be...

WBC1: No.

Me, beyond exasperated: Can Janice tell me when I come in?

WBC1: Yeah, Janice should be able to tell you.

Me: Okay.

So, question # 1 for you, Gentle Reader:
Is it unreasonable to expect the receptionist to provide you with a price once you've locked in on an appointment with a particular stylist?

I come in at 3:00 and Janice and I chat about the possibilities. I basically give her carte blanche. Really. She could have gone Susan Powter on me and I would have been okay with it. She proposes something she thinks will look good and I inquire about the price. She eyeballs me and says "$60". She tells me that since I'm new there, I'll get a one time, 20% discount. I tell her to do it.

All this and I still wind up looking like Carol Brady, but with much less style.

She can tell I'm not happy. Maybe it's the dead look in my eyes. Maybe it's the way I'm talking slowly with long pauses. Maybe it's my saying "Am I supposed to look like Carol Brady?"

She tells me she doesn't want to cut into it more right now. She suggests I go home and see if I can get used to it, maybe style it differently. She assures me that if I'm not happy after a few days, I can come back and she'll cut it more.

It's now been a couple days. I've yet to get it to look good. I'm not inclined to go back and give her another chance to mess with my hair when she didn't do a good job the first time. Question #2 for you, G.R.: Would you?


Lemmonex said...

I would not go back; I am a freak about my hair though. I am unlikely to trust again.

Do you need a good stylist? I have some names; feel free to email me.

Oh yeah; of course they should be able to tell you a price. The only service I can think of where they may have to give an on the spot pricing is highlights. Sometimes folks just need a few and sometimes you need high and low lights.

Jamie said...

This is one of those situations, like having to pee while in a traffic jam, that it's really good to be a guy.

urban bohemian said...

I've seen a few victims of the "horrendous cut" who were able to walk away and make it work, but not many. Even so, I'm sure a quick informal poll of the women around the office would result in "don't go back."

From a dude's perspective, I'd never accept a stylist or barber saying "see if you can get used to it." Being that "style" is in the chosen name for their profession, that's what you go to them for. If they can't provide it, why go back?

Oliveira said...

"Style it differently and see if you can get used to it" translates as "oh shit, I really screwed up, haven't I?"

Anonymous said...

I know someone that paid $150 for her haircut but she was there for 2 hours and the hairdresser practically cut each strand at a time. She has curly hair and she said she never had a better haircut and she doesn’t have to go back for another 6 months.
When I don’t like my haircut, it usually takes 2 weeks to grow in a little and then it looks better. I am sure it looks great but don’t go back. Next time ask for a smidgen to be taken off. Thank goodness you have beautiful hair that grows fast.

Rose said...

I'm dying to know where you went because I once had a very similar experience. They should be able to tell you the price of each stylist. Simple as that.

Liebchen said...

They should *definitely* be able to tell you a price.

Also, I would not go back. You may have given her carte blanche, but it's her job to make it look good and make sure you're happy with it.

HP said...

As an EXPERT on hair disasters (ask me about the summer I rocked a crew cut) what I will say is this: Don't let anyone touch it for at least a month. Make friends with headbands and barrettes. See how it's growing out. Then book an appointment at a well rated salon (see me for a list or refer to the Washingtonian's Great Hair article from a couple of years back) and be prepared to drop a little dough. And use this experience as a lesson. If you're not getting satisfactory service at the front desk, consider that an indication of the quality of the salon as a whole and skeedaddle.

LBluca77 said...

I would not go back. That is why I have kept the same hair dresser for years. She knows my head and it is worth the 40 minute drive.

Bowie Mike said...

What a crappy experience! I think if you are able to tell them what you want, they should at least be able to give you a $15 range.

The last time anyone "cut" my disappearing hair was in 2002. The lady told me I was wasting my money, and that I needed to go buy a $17 trimmer. I've been a do-it-yourselfer ever since. There are some advantages to being a member of the bald class.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Personally, Jamie's comment had me laughing. However, wish I could say the same about your story.

You're a better person than me. I wouldn't give any salon a chance that couldn't give me a price.

I'd wait a week or two and then go to a good place for a cut.

If there is any consolation to this story - many a boy had a crush on Mrs. Brady in the 70's - oh wait, wrong century.

Kate said...

Yes, I'm very disturbed about MJ's burial date. EWWWW.

Re: question #1: It is not at all unreasonable. A business should always be able to quote you a price for services. If they can't, I seriously questions their business practice and ethics.

Re: question #2: There is NO WAY IN HELL I would go back. As a curly-haired person, I'm scared of what most stylist's are going to do to my hair anyway. If they've already jacked it up? I'm staying as far away as possible.

HKW said...

#1 Yes. What is this, health care?
#2 No. Sorry, I wouldn't go back. If only because it would be really awkward and I avoid those situations.

Titania said...

I don't trust that Salon, there is something really screwy with it given what you say. I wouldn't go back. If you need recommendations, I really like my salon and my stylist... let me know.

repliderium.com said...

I might have slapped the receptionist.

f.B said...

i've seen used car salesmen give more precise figures than that. "how much?" is a pretty simple question. they even could've lied. at least that would've been a direct answer.

HannahBlue said...

Talk about a horrible salon!
Answer to #1: No, its not unreasonable to expect a straight answer about the price. And call me crazy, but the price should be same for all the stylists.

Answer to #2: Nope! I'd go to a place where they actually know what their doing.

Tina said...

I'm sorry but I have to ask - why in the hell did you let those nimrods touch your hair? Yes yes I read the whole marmot part - but what that place is the only one around? Really - you couldn't have just like drove a little further?

Mike said...

We want pictures!!! And I looked up Susan Powter. Go for it!

Barbara said...

The good news is hair grows out...always.

The bad news is you have to look at it every day while you wait.

Don't ever even think of going back to that place.

I go to a place where I pay a fortune for a haircut. But I never have to worry that I won't like it. The price never changes. And I get the best recommendations for restaurants in the DC area anyone could ever ask for. My stylist is a genius. I found him through Reya and I will only look for someone new if he moves away or something happens to him (God forbid). Want his name?

Jill Pilgrim said...

Oh, I would so not go back. If she messed it up once, I wouldn't give her a second chance.

restaurant refugee said...

I spent a summer with a shaved head once because of a woefully inept barber.

No way, no how should that woman get anywhere near your hair again. A call to the owner, however, would not be out of line.

Reya Mellicker said...

It is totally clear that this is not the place to have your hair cut. Clear as a bell!

Too bad you won't pay $75 for a haircut. If you were willing I'd suggest my hair guy at Axis on Dupont Circle. He is a genius, an artiste, the hair guy with the mostess.

But everyone at Axis is very coherent and your experience would not make for a great blog post ... so ...

lacochran said...

Thanks, everybody for weighing in, and to those of you who sent me recommendations for stylists.

LiLu said...

It's such a catch 22. If you go back, they (should) fix it for free, but you already know they don't really have the skills to do it.

Maybe you can find out when her day off is, and go in then, and be all "Janice effed up my hair" and someone ELSE will have to fix it. Less of a gamble than Janice, still free?