OK, here’s an experience that a) happened about an hour ago, and b) I was not expecting.
Let’s start with some exposition…
Today I have friends coming into Vegas from the UK and, amongst my girly squeals of delight because they’re bringing Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate with them, I thought I should look at least half presentable for when we see them. After all, they’re the first visitors we’ve had since we moved to Vegas almost three months ago.
I had a few things on my ‘to do’ list this morning to prepare for their arrival. These included: Go to the gym, get petrol (gas), wash the car and get a haircut.
So I went to the gym, filled the tank (of my car; I don’t actually drive a tank…although if I did, my last post would’ve been a little less ‘ranty’ and a lot more ‘splatty’), took the car through a car wash (and vacuumed it out with the FREE vacuum cleaners they provided. Yeah I’m looking at you, Britain) and headed to the barber shop to get the ol’ noggin  sorted out.
I found a place called ‘Great Clips’ which, to be honest, I thought may have been a film editing company. I still wasn’t sure until I got close to the front door.
I entered and was immediately greeted by pretty much all the stylists. You’ve got to love America for that.
Now for some more exposition…
In an English barber shop you walk in, maybe nod and say hi to one or two of the stylists (if they look up) and take a seat. When one of the stylists has finished with a customer, they come over to the sitting area and say ‘who’s next?’. At this point there are slightly confused and awkward looks amongst guys pointing at each other and saying “I think it was him” because no-one is entirely sure who was next. That said, if someone, who came in after you, tries to jump in front they are quickly and politely stabbed to death with the closest scissors available.
Back to the story.
So I smile and say hi back to the stylists and turn around to take a seat. At this point a lady came over to the desk and said “Hi, have you been here before?”
“No” I said, a little unsure why that mattered.
“Ok” she replied in a voice coated in vanilla syrup, “that’s fine, if you would like to fill this in”.
Note that this wasn’t a question. She was telling me to fill in a slip of paper she’d slid across the counter with a pen.
This slip asked for the following information: Name, telephone number, address, zip code, Whether I was an Adult, Child or Senior (which is still an adult, isn’t it?) and the ages of my children.
I filled in my name and my zip code and then stopped. What was I doing? What is this? I’m here for a haircut, aren’t I? Is this so they can send me videos of my hair being cut, hence the name ‘Great Clips’?
The woman came back with her sugary smile and, me being me, I had to ask.
Me – “Sorry, I’m a bit confused here, why am I filling in all this information? I only need a haircut. I’m not unwittingly signing up for a credit card or something am I?”.
Her – “Ha ha, no it’s so we can send you coupons in the future, and the telephone number is so we can bring up your profile”.
Me – “My profile?”
Her – “Yes. It’s so we have a record of how you like to have your hair styled and if you decide to use one of the many other Great Clips in the city they will be able to bring up your details too”.
Me – “Oh, so you’re a chain? Right, gotcha.”
I said this in a tone that said “oh, right, well that makes sense then, of COURSE you can have all my personal and private details so that you’re better equipped to cut the hairs on my head!”….but more sincere than you’ve probably just read it.
After all, I didn’t want to appear defensive, despite this being a weird fucking practice for a haircut
She took the completed slip from me, still smiling, and started entering my details on her computer.
I took a seat and watched her type far more than the information I’d entered on the slip. About 15 seconds went by and she said “OK, ready?”.
What was the point in suggesting I take a seat?
Anyway, I followed smiling Susan (or whatever her name was) to her chair and took a seat.
She smiled at me (or at least I think it was a new smile, it’s possible it was the same smile she’d been wearing since I arrived) and asked me how i’d like my hair. I couldn’t help but grin because the next time they’ll probably ask for my telephone number so they can enter it into a computer and then look up the information I’d imparted to her in the last 5 seconds.
Grade two back and sides, and a bit shorter and choppier on top.
No technology, no slips of paper. Just common sense.
She then put a strip of white tissue paper around my neck before fastening the usual black cape over it.
In fact, I looked like this.
There was suddenly an elephant in the room.
Me – “I look like a priest”
Her – “What?”
Me – “I said, I look like a priest”
She stopped, looked at me in the mirror and then laughed.
Her – “Ha ha ha, yes I suppose you do!”
Seriously, you’ve NEVER made that connection? Has no-one EVER made that connection before?
I’m not religious man (let alone a priest), but I was praying her hair cutting skills were better than, well, everything else about her so far.
And then we were off.
What followed was 15 minutes of company encouraged smalltalk, including (but not limited to): “How’s your day going today?”, :How long have you been in the US?” (at least she didn’t think I was fucking Australian), “So what do you do?” and my personal favourite “I would love to visit England but I haven’t had the chance yet”.
No shit? Really? Wow.
Also, I’ve noticed that over here the stylists seem scared to touch your head, either with their hands or the clippers. Is it just me? Do I have a greasy or gross head? When I’ve had my hair cut in the past the stylist would actually press the clippers against my head, like you’re supposed to. Here I barely felt them.
My ‘grade two back and sides’ is more like a range of grades from two to four.
Are they worried I’ll sue for physical abuse? Will I have to stand up in court and show a jury ‘where on the teddy bear’ the stylist touched me?
Anyway, after we were finally done and she’d cut my hair from a distance of eight feet, my substandard haircut and I stood up, paid (with tip….which I still don’t really know the etiquette for) and left.
On the drive home I couldn’t help but wonder, what would happen if I wanted to change up my hair style in the future? Would I be allowed to? If I didn’t say anything, would they just go ahead and cut it like last time?
Also, do they store every different style I have in their computer forever?
Surely none of this is as efficient or accurate as asking the customer when they’re IN THE FUCKING CHAIR?
I can’t help but worry that my profile might get mixed up with a 65 year old lady with a blue rinse and a double crown; that’ll make for an interesting look!
So there you have it. The haircut she’s given me is now what I can now expect at ‘one of the many other Great Clips in the city’ from now on.
After all, it’s on my profile now.
 Slang for head. Not to be mistaken with the words ‘nosh off' or ‘blozza'
 Slang for blow job
 See