How to Not Piss Off Your Barber
Your barber can be your best friend, your therapist, your doctor — hey, even sometimes a magician. But they can also be the devil if you make them mad. Now I am not suggesting they might accidentally gouge you in the side of the head with their clippers or that they would even dare take a chunk out of your ear, but, if you want to guarantee a good haircut, keeping your barber happy is the best way to achieve this outcome.
So here, in no particular order, are the top 10 ways to keep your barber happy. Whether you have a barber you see regularly or you go to a different one each time, this will ensure a good experience for both you and your barber.
1. Don’t Be Indecisive
Barbers will see several people during their shift. Typically, they work off commission so the more haircuts they do, the more money they make. They don’t want to rush you through your haircut, but they also don’t want to spend a half hour with you while you try to decide what kind of haircut you want. If you know what you want, state it and let’s get down to business. If you are looking for a suggestion, ask them for their advice, but don’t ho and hum and take another 30 minutes to decide if what the barber suggested is the best style. It probably is since they know what is currently in style and with their experience, can probably tell you what will look good on you! On another note, if you already know how you want your haircut, know how to explain it. When the barber asks you the question, “How do you want your haircut?”, shorter is not an acceptable answer!
2. Take a Shower
I am going to say this again: TAKE A SHOWER! Practice good hygiene. There is nothing worse than having a person in your chair whose head feels like it has had an entire puck of pomade rubbed into their hair. And by pomade, I really mean grease. Most people who can afford a haircut can afford a bottle of shampoo. Even if you only use it once a month, use it before you come in for a haircut. We don’t want to put our hands through the greasy, slimy hair. Also, make sure you use deodorant and apply liberally. If you suffer from bad body odor, I don’t want to smell it. I definitely should not be able to smell it from across the room. Yes, the cape will hide some of the smell, but it will linger in the shop long after you are gone. In addition, I don’t suggest coming in for a haircut after you have just had the workout of your life. Obviously you care about your body, please take the time to wipe off the sweat before you come in. Besides the shower, make sure you brush your teeth as well. If we are washing your hair, we should not be able to smell your breakfast, your coffee, your lunch, or your last beer. If brushing your teeth is not available, please pop in a piece of gum.
3. Don’t Tell Me How to Do My Job
Last I checked, I went to school and I got licensed to cut your hair. Tell me what you want, but don’t tell me how to get there. If you know how to cut your hair so well, do it yourself. Then afterwards, I will laugh at you because of how bad it is and then I will fix it!
4. Don’t Judge Me on Your Past Experiences
Just because you got a bad haircut the last time, doesn’t mean I will do the same thing. I can not guarantee I won’t have an off day, but I will give you the best possible haircut I can. I might possibly start having a bad day if you don’t adjust your attitude. So don’t judge me and let me do my job! Just remember, every barber and every stylist has a different way they cut hair. While none of these techniques are wrong, they do produce different results. If you are always receiving a bad haircut, try finding a stylist who works well with your hair. This will give you a better haircut experience and probably a better attitude toward your barber.
5. Don’t Expect Miracles
I am a barber, not a magician. If you have cowlicks, I can not change that. I can cut your hair so it lays as nice as possible. But if your bangs stand up straight because of a cowlick, I can not cut it so it lays down flat. Work with what kind of hair you have. There is no use in fighting against your hair because ultimately you are fighting with yourself. This is a fight were you will always lose! If you have thick, course hair, chances are good a shag cut will not look good on you. On a final note, if you are balding, I can offer you suggestions on how to make your hair look thicker based off the type of haircut, styling products, and alopecia prevention techniques, but I can not put hair back on your head. If you would like that, I will start chewing massive amounts of gum, stick it on top of your head, and use the hair I just cut off to reapply. I can guarantee the results will not last.
6. Adjust Your Attitude Before You Sit Down
If you are having a bad day, I will be your therapist. Talk to me and I will help cheer you up. Please, don’t take it out on me. I am not the reason you are having a bad day, but I can hopefully make it better. A smile can be contagious; a grumpy mood can be equally contagious. If your are in a pissy mood, it is almost certain that you will put me in a bad mood. If I am in a bad mood, I might accidentally snip your ear (just kidding)! Either way, it is unfair to growl at me because you had a bad day or because you are naturally just an irritable cranky person who walks around with a chip on your shoulder. I once had a client who came in complaining that no one in this world can drive decent (except obviously him). People like this need to take a chill pill. He ruined my night! So, next time, try growling a little less. Last time I checked, a lack of growling and an occasional smile has never killed anyone.
7. Try to Be Sociable
The most uncomfortable 20 minutes is having a guy in your chair that won’t say a word to you. It is even worse when you can barely get out how they want their hair cut. Answering every question I ask with a flat “Yes” or “No” when I am trying to start a conversation is just as annoying. Where I work, the guys get to watch TVs while they get their haircut. While most guys will talk to me, some prefer to just watch the TV in silence. Usually this is the time the commercial for Hemorrhoids, Erectile Dysfunction, or feminine itching airs on the TV. This can be rather uncomfortable. I would prefer having the conversation.
8. Sit Still and Sit Tall
Unless you are a young child or you have a disease that makes you uncontrollably shake, you have no excuse! It is difficult enough to give someone a haircut if they have difficult hair to work with, or cowlicks, or thick hair, but when you add a moving target that is a recipe for disaster. I have cut several children’s hair, and I will admit, it has tuned up my fast clipper and scissor reactions. On the other hand, people understand if a child has a bad haircut. They usually peg it on them not sitting still. How do you explain a bad haircut on an adult who shook their head resulting in a divot from the clipper? You blame it on the barber! So do me a favor and if you are sitting in my chair, please sit still. I promise if you do, the torture will be over before you know it. On another note, sit tall and sit straight. This will help us make sure you have the best haircut possible. If you want to look good, this is sound advice to follow.
9. If You Are Suffering From a Communicable Disease, Don’t Get a Haircut
The definition of a communicable disease is any infectious disease that can be transmitted from one person to another. Therefore, if you have called into work because you are too sick, do not use this as a prime opportunity to get your haircut. First off, while I have built up an immune system because many others have come in and tried to pass me their colds, I don’t want you to be the one who can break my streak. Second off, if you have a child who was called in sick from school forcing you to stay home, that also is not a prime time for you to get a haircut. Bringing your sick child with you is no different then you being sick. In fact, if you do this, I will give you the parent of the year award. Go home and take care of your kid, like you should have been doing before you came in. Third off, chances are high that it is frowned upon for me to call in sick to work without finding someone to cover my shift. This is difficult. No one wants to come in on their day off and it is also hectic to move around my other request appointments. Therefore, I need to stay healthy. Therefore, if you are carrying something that could make me ill, stay home.
10. Tipping is Not a City in China
Believe it or not, people who cut hair are in the service industry. This means it is an industry which usually works for tips. While I am not saying you should tip someone who is grumpy or screwed up your hair, or in other words gave you poor customer service, you should however tip appropriately to the job they have done. Tipping is a way to say thank you. If they go above and beyond and absolutely made your day, reach a little deeper into your pockets and treat them right. Believe me, they will remember you the next time, and they will treat you like a king every time. On the other hand, if you are a bad tipper or a no tipper, you will also be remembered. Now if you don’t give a tip because you didn’t have a stellar experience, 95% of the time, the stylist will already know they screwed up. The messed up fact is, those who carry a wad of 100s, 50s, and 20s in their wallet, are more likely to be a bad or no tipper than the person who can’t afford the haircut in the first place. So remember, if you had a great experience and got a great cut, tip your barber appropriately (this does not mean $1). And if your parents didn’t teach you when it is appropriate to tip, I am telling you now, tipping your barber is appropriate. Now make sure you teach your children the right thing to do.
Now that I have gotten this off my chest, I hope I have done my part by educating the world on the proper etiquette for receiving a haircut. While you may find some of these funny, the truth is, I have personally experienced each and every one of these situations. So, now that you know where I stand (and probably many other barbers as well) go ahead, take a shower, brush your teeth and then go get a haircut! Oh yeah, and don’t forget to tip!