Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Trip to the Hair Salon

Last week we finally decided enough was enough of our laziness and decided to go for a haircut. I decided to try this posh new salon that screamed “Mane – L’Oreal Professional Salon”. It had these colorful neon advertisements all over town. Joy dropped me off and went to his regular barber down the road where he pays a paltry sum of 30 bucks. He absolutely swears that the barber there is the best and refuses to be taken in by those swanky salons that have sprouted all over town.

I envy him because in the past five years I have been living in this city, I have not been able to find a hair stylist that I can be loyal to for two reasons. The next time I visit the same salon, the stylists I like would have moved on to other jobs or the ones I like are simply too far for me to commute just for a haircut.

Well, my story begins before my visit to this posh salon. I called them around 2 pm to make an appointment. The lady who answered tried to act as snooty and polished as could be but couldn’t hide that local accent how much ever she tried. She informed me the hairdressers were currently very busy and took my phone number saying she would call me. I hung up feeling mighty pleased with myself that I hadn’t taken the trouble of going all the way just to wait. And that is exactly what I did! The clock struck 3 and no call. The clock struck 4 and still no call. I thought to myself that the next day I might as well commute and go to my old favorite which is quite a distance away.

At 5 pm, my phone rang and I answered it to find Miss Fake Accent on the other line. She informed me that the hairdresser was free by 5 pm and I should be there immediately. I looked at my watch and saw it was 5 pm. I asked her how does she expect me to reach the salon that very instance as it was already 5 pm and why hadn’t she informed me earlier. She gave some lame excuse of not being able to talk to the hairdresser and apologized profusely for something she didn’t mean a word of. I guess she thought I had a plane parked at my house so that I could reach instantly.

After giving her a piece of my mind, I informed her I would be there around 5:30 and off we went. Joy dropped me off and I walked a laborious 4 flights as the elevator did not seem to be working. After I had huffed and puffed my way up and finally reached, the receptionist informed me in the same fake tone that the hairdressers were busy and apologized once more. I guess she thought apologizing was the easiest way of hiding her inefficiency.

I waited another half hour till some dude with a stud in his ear walked up and asked me to have a seat. The moment I was seated, he looked at my hair and said it was greasy and required a shampoo. I informed him that I shampoo my hair everyday and I had just done so that morning. Well, Mr. Dude absolutely refused to hear anything and packed me off for a hair wash. I was left wondering about the good old days when we could go to a small beauty parlor and have a simple haircut without all the paraphernalia of shampoo, coloring and so on.

I decided to play along and see what they are up to. After the hair wash, Mr. Dude came by and gave an ugly twist to my hair with one of the clips dangling in his pocket. Then he informed me in a know it all tone what cut would suit me. (Pssst…it was the same one I already had) Talk about being creative. Then he began chopping with those huge shears with a vengeance. At the same time he gave me his expert advice. He asked me whether I used henna. I informed I had tried that the last time. The glance he gave me was outright disdainful before informing me in that superior tone that henna was for the hands and not for the hair. Then he added that was the reason my hair was so dry. Well, I thought it was greasy a moment ago when he had packed me off for a shampoo. Mr. Dude, if you ensure I shampoo twice a day of course my hair will be dry. Then he started pitching on using the products the Salon endorses. I smiled and said I would think about it.

I think he had enough with trying to convince me. He suddenly stopped chopping and pulled this hair dryer out. Then he began the process of blow-drying my hair with a brush. I thought he was trying to burn my hair at the roots as the heat was too much to bear. I finally informed Mr. Dude to stop pulling and burning my hair in a loud tone. That made him a little wary as everybody had started listening in to our conversation and he ended his theatrics.

I was also observing the other clients. I saw this little kid with her Mom, some college folks and some old ladies come in for a haircut. And everyone was bundled for a hair wash whether they liked it or not. I think these new age salons are just out to make a quick buck. I asked for the bill and I see that they had billed me the princely sum of 200 bucks for the shampoo besides a good amount of money for the haircut as it was by a so called L’Oreal professional hair stylist. Well, I thought to myself that I never even asked for the shampoo. That’s the price I pay for a bottle of shampoo that lasts a good 2 to 3 months.

This made me wonder. How many times in our life have we been coerced into doing things we do not want by pushy sales people? The choices we have are endless but at what cost. Well, I have begun dreading my next visit to any hair salon. Will somebody please tell me where I can get a decent haircut in my city without the frills?


Mimie said...

Love your blog-thinking of starting my own too_musings of a bored mother/housewife!!-u have def inspired me to put my ass into gear n do something about it. I totally sympathised with u ont he haircut as wud most women who have recently been for a haircut-it hapens all over the world-i'm probably a step worse that u-coz my hair looks gr8 after shampoo (double ofcourse), blowdry n a gazillion other products-i am ready to buy the hair stylist-lats time i paid $10 extra coz the receptionist gave me the wrong price n although i knew i was paying more i just didn't wanna show how cheap/poor i been there done that-hope it makes u feel better. now am off to read your stance on u-muah

Pinky Says said...

Well! Definitely you should start your own blog...Musings of a bored mother/housewife sounds interesting...:))

The comments that you posted on mine were equivalent to a blog of ur own...:)) Keep them coming...till the next time I get inspired again and write...

Kateview said...

Hey Sara,

I absolutely empathize with your feelings after the haircut.Once i was duped in US by a hair stylist of a well known chain called Supercuts. She charged me $30 for a haircut...after the haircut,she smothered my scalp with oil. I closely resembled Sai baba as the length had been shortened too much. Also, the lady thought that perhaps in India only fools thrive and she came up with the wierdest excuse for extremely shortened length that when i go back home and take a head hair will spread and be as long as they were before. It was the worst experience.
There are two well-known adage that i can think of, for our situation:
Never judge a book by its cover.
All that glitters in not gold.

The Weekend Blogger said...

Hi !! Followed the link from your orkut profile and loved this post. I have gone through this same ordeal time and again till I found a parlour in Cal where they left me alone and just did what I told them to !

Anitha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anitha said...

I had the misfortune of going to the glamorous Loreal salon in Madhapur. They shampooed my hair though I told them I had shampooed that morning. Like you mentioned, the cool dude hairdresser repeatedly told me how bad my hair is. After all this nonsense, the dude gave me one of the ugliest haircuts I've ever had in my life. Now my only option is to wait for my hair to grow and hopefully get a better haircut. :). Btw, good post. :)

Pinky Says said...

Hey Anitha! So you visited the same L'Oreal salon called Mane that I mentioned in this blog. Maybe we need to start warning off people (atleast the ones we know in and around Madhapur)...:)

Ashwini said...

hey pinky,

I experienced the same thing in bangalore's hi-fi salon.....any ways i loved your blog very much its very refreshing to read all your experiences..i followed ur blog link from Orkut any ways kudos to u keep rocking :)

Pinky Says said...

Thanks! Well, since then I have found this great hairdresser at Hakim Aalim so hopefully my woes are over...:))