Friday, February 26, 2010

$300 haircut for FREE?! Well ...

By now it's not news - I'm a recession statistic. Lost my job last spring. Let's get that out of the way because since that time, daily life is a combination of job hunting, volunteer activities, social networking on Facebook and Twitter, watching news on TV and keeping up with "signs of recovery". Sometime months ago I saw an item about a certain salon offering free haircuts for anyone unemployed. I submitted my information and sat back. 

Earlier this month, I got a phone call from the salon receptionist. There was an opening. I was excited to get some "me" time, really looking forward to the experience. The day of the appointment, I was just a little bit late. Got to the salon five minutes after the scheduled time, instead of ten minutes early where I could sit, catch my breath and enjoy. 

Suzanne (an alias because I forgot her name since then) led me to a private room where I traded my layers for a robe, then she "checked" my bag and jacket. Really though, she hung it up in a closet. She took me to the haircutting chair, where the owner and I had a two-minute consultation. "Do you want anything specific?" "No, not really, just ready for a change." Suzanne washed my hair and brought me back to the chair for the cut. 

Matt stood by me, snipping and arranging my hair. He cut about three inches everywhere, lifting my bangs so they graze my eyes and nose, which made me feel instantly sexy. Then Matt started to whisper "your hair is so damaged" to which I responded "I know, these blond highlights". He moved around to snip and arrange another section, and whispered "you need a color glaze". This was distracting in the midst of such a peaceful experience, so I asked "how much would it cost for a glaze?" Matt He said "usually 70, for you 40." 

My back stiffened the tiniest bit. I hadn't planned to get haircut AND color. Had planned to do other things after the cut. I said in a voice just about a whisper "I didn't bring extra money". Matt's fingers lingered for a moment in my hair. He finished snipping and arranging, grabbed some styling product and worked it into my hair, while warning me "don't touch the hair, it changes the curls". Then he called Suzanne. She walked me to a contraption that looked like connected halos, turned on the machine. It was a giant diffuser. It dried my hair so the curls were beautiful and shiny. 

Suzanne smiled with me when I saw the results, then brought me to the room where my things had reappeared. Matt was sitting at the reception desk when I came out, with Suzanne sweeping up my hair. I blushed and asked "is tipping allowed?" to which Matt responded "yes, whatever you feel comfortable with". I tipped him $10 and walked to give Suzanne another $5. My pockets were now empty. 

I left the salon feeling pretty, but still hearing Matt's voice "you need a glaze". So you know what I did? I went for something to eat, THEN got a glaze - ten days later. During winter break I took my teen to a beauty school. She got a haircut, I got a glaze, we were treated like royalty. (Let me know in comments if you want to read about THAT experience.)