Earlier this evening as I was checking out my last client, I saw a gentleman walk past the shop and straight towards the salon next door. As my client walks out, he walks up to the door and asks, “are you guys still opened?” I tell him that, ‘I’m still in the shop, so why not.’
He walks in wondering what sort of decision he made by going into the barber shop as opposed to the salon next door (which was already closed.)
I tell him the differences between a barber and a cosmetologist, and break down that it’s like a metal worker versus a wood worker. Both use similar techniques to manipulate the pieces they are working on, but do so in a trade-specific manner. He starts to “get” what I’m getting at, and I further hip him to what I feel going to a barber shop provides for a man.
As the conversation progresses, he tells me that he YELPed three places to get his hair down… All of which were salons (which he was used to.) One was no more than 3/4 a mile from his house, which was closed by 5. He rolls up to our block, where there are two salons which are separated no more than 120 feet…Both of which are closed well before their advertised “closing” hours. He was surprised that out of the 3 shops he checked out, 2 of which should have been opened by the time he got there and were well closed, that the shop that closed the earliest (our shop which typically closes at 3 on Saturdays) was opened and willing to take in someone this late in the day without hesitation or showing declination of the quality of service… I joke with him that I didn’t get to take a lunch and that I had a Gatorade to sustain me… Wish I had brought a new jug of water at the very least!
While I finish off the haircut with the straight razor on the neckline and having him double check my work, he gets up and is enthused at the fact that someone was working as long as I was and was willing to keep going. After the boss made a joke about us charging $40 (n jest of the salons within the area charging similar prices) he puts $40 on the counter and looks at my boss and say, “See, I spent $40 on a haircut, because you got someone willing to work well after every one is closed… You got enough to get yourself something other than a Gatorade for lunch!” Well… something very similar along those lines, haha.
Moral of this story? Is that being a barber is more than giving someone a dope haircut, a skin-tight fade, or being booked out for two weeks striaght. It’s more than just a straight razor finish or a can of pomade, or one of those faux-gentlemen courtesy consultations. I don’t act prim nor proper to get people to enjoy sitting in my chair. You won’t get a white towel slung over my left forearm like a waiter or me presenting an open seat like a magician. Cut the bullshit, because that’s as authentic as the next shop half-way across the country putting on that same act to rise up getting an extra $5 in your tip. You’re getting what it is I, as a man, as a barber can offer… and that’s genuine human interaction, advice, shared experiences, a good laugh at a few jokes, finished off with a firm handshake and the knowing that you’ll be able to have that same experience in 2-4 weeks. What other place can you really get that?