I was at the hairdresser this morning. I made an appointment because that’s what I do. My hairdresser is a busy woman and I wouldn’t turn up just expecting her to fit me with no notice.
Apparently this is not what other people do.
I arrived just as she was opening (I was first appointment of the day). We had some chat and I’d just got into the washing chair when the guy from the shop on the corner stopped by to speak to her. (My hairdresser is Turkish, they were talking in Turkish.) She explained to me he broke up with his girlfriend a while back and she had been trying to them back together, but without much success. He’d stopped by to tell her that last night his ex had called him. So maybe something will happen there.
I’d just got from washing to the cutting chair and another woman popped in with her small daughter.
“Ah, you’re the one that called me this morning,” my hairdresser said. The woman wanted a haircut for her little girl, anytime today, she lives nearby, she can pop back at short notice. “Text me again and let me know your number,” my hairdresser said. “I’ll let you know when I have 15 minutes to spare.”
Alone again, my hairdresser popped to the kitchen to make me a coffee. In the meantime someone else turned up. This woman looked like she had just gotten out of bed. I don’t mean looking scruffy, I mean she was wearing pyjamas with a jumper and coat over the top. She and my hairdresser agreed that she would do her after me, as there was a cancellation later in the day, so she left to go grab a drink from the corner shop.
My hairdresser brings me my coffee and I finally start my haircut. Pyjama woman comes back with her Diet Coke from the corner shop, but sees me with my coffee and says, “Oh, I’d love a coffee. Could you make me a coffee too?”
So my haircut gets interrupted again while the hairdresser goes to make a coffee for Pyjama woman. Coffee delivered, my haircut is now underway, no more interruptions.
But Pyjama woman isn’t done yet.
“You said it would be (X) pounds for a straighten. How much for a wash as well?”
“Your hair is very long,” she said. (It was very long, down to her waist.) “It will cost (more) for a wash and straighten because it will take me a long time.”
“Can you do the wash and straighten for (X) pounds?”
“It’s (more) for wash and straighten, because your hair is very long. (long pause) Did you wash your hair today?”
“I washed it yesterday, I put a colour in it so it needs another wash.”
“What kind of colour?”
“Just a rinse, but it needs a second wash.”
My hairdresser didn’t respond, busy doing my haircut.
“You know me, I come here all the time. You’ll do the wash and straighten for (X), yeah?”
Beaten down by this strange non-logic, my hairdresser agreed to the lower price.
I was angry on her behalf at this woman’s gall to come in, not even bothered to dress properly, interrupt someone else’s cut to demand a coffee and then negotiate the agreed price down with the hairdresser. A hairdresser who has only a set number of hours to work each day. I bet when Pyjama woman said, “I come here all the time,” the hairdresser was wishing she wouldn’t. I’m also sure if someone who turned up and interrupted Pyjama woman’s haircut with demands for coffee, she would have been very vocal at complaining at the interruption to her time.
As my cut was finishing, someone else turned up. She and my hairdresser exchanged words in Turkish and her friend took a seat at the washing sink (as it’s a small salon, and my hairdresser works alone, there aren’t many seats available). So now there are two people waiting to be attended to, but only one (I’m assuming) had made an appointment.
When I finished and got up to pay and leave, I could see Pyjama woman had only drunk half of her coffee, which made me think she only wanted a coffee because she saw I had a coffee and she was just after free stuff. If I could have found a way to stay there longer I would have just to annoy her but my hairdresser looked like she was going to have a busy day so I didn’t want to occupy more of her time than I needed to.
Lesson from today: don’t give in to people who don’t treat you well, especially when their demands inconvenience you. You will only end up angry at yourself.