Earlier this year, I decided to start cutting back on my spending. To save money, I decided to make my beloved $110 haircuts at St. Germain, Penn Quarter a quarterly occurrence. It wasn’t an easy decision (because I am obsessed with my hair), but it was the fiscally responsible thing to do. So given the rise of the Tea Party, I had no other choice.
Thus, I was in need of a new stylist to fill in the gap between visits to Teri at St. Germain.
Because it was so close to my office and reasonably priced, I decided to book an appointment with Vince at Tides Salon in the Cannon House Office Building. I really hoped that this convenient solution would work out, but it was a bigger mistake than the Great Airbrushed Spray Tan Fiasco of 2003.
My first appointment with Vince was in early August. The appointment was going well until a miscommunication left me with what could best be described as “baby bangs.” Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw my 14-year-old self staring back. Even my Mother agreed that the resemblance to my 8th grade doppelganger was uncanny and somewhat unsettling.
As the hair started to grow back in, my negative feelings about the haircut began to disappear. After all, how the hair grows out post-haircut is almost as important as the cut itself. So last week, when I noticed that my ends were starting to get a little ragged, I decided to give Vince a second chance.
That was a mistake.
Blow It Out. While I have only had one haircut at Tides, I’ve had several pedicures there. During those appointments, I have watched Vince cut hair at least five times. I have never once seen him blow dry a head of hair.
When I got my haircut, he sent me back to the office (in the middle of my workday) with a damp head of frizzy hair. I asked for a blow out, but was told that he hadn’t alotted time for that. I would’ve thought that this was a unique occurrence, but I’ve watched him send other clients home with wet heads as well.
There is no excuse for sending clients home with wet hair, especially when the salon menu says that haircuts include a wash and style.
The Golden Rule. Also, my interactions with Vince were not positive. I don’t expect my hairdresser to be my friend or my therapist, but I do expect to be treated cordially. At Tides, I was treated with a lack of respect usually reserved for TSA screeners and Comcast cable technicians.
Being neck down in a shampoo bowl while your stylist tells you how oily and dirty your hair is is not my idea of customer service. Telling a 28-year-old that she has a head full of grey hair and that men don’t find that attractive is just plain rude. And chastising your front desk employee in front of your customers is not professional behavior.
But by far, the most upsetting encounter of all occurred when I asked Vince to cut my hair while it was dry.
I made this request for three reasons: 1) I didn’t want to head back to the office at 3pm with wet, unstyled hair, 2) I’d watched him cut my co-workers hair while it was dry just the week before, and 3) I was running a bit behind schedule and thought that this would save me a bit of time.
In response to my polite request, Vince snapped back “No, can’t be done.” When I asked why he couldn’t just trim the ends with the hair dry, I was told that he couldn’t do “a precision haircut” dry. When I explained that I just needed a light trim, he told me that I needed a real haircut not a trim.
And from the angry face that he was making at me, you would think that I’d just asked Da Vinci to paint “The Last Supper” with a sharpie and crayons. I deal with enough diva attitudes at work, I don’t need a hairdresser who is a certifiable primadonna.
Listening is Key. A former intern of mine went to see Vince over the recess and also had issues with his listening skills. She went in for a last minute trim before she left for the campaign trail only to have her shoulder length angle cut turned into a chin length bob.
When she complained that he was cutting more than she had requested, he told her that her style needed an update and that it was too late to stop now anyway. To say that she was upset would be an understatement and a half. She’s now eating prenatal vitamins like they’re candy hoping that they will turn her into a human Chia Pet.
I don’t want to take away from the other stylists at Tides or the nail technician who I’ve always had good luck with, but I would shave my own head before I would go back to see Vince again. If I want to deal with a bad attitude, irrational behavior and poor listening skills, I’ll walk outside and have a conversation with the folks from LaRouche.
So what will I be doing for my interim haircuts going forward? Eden at Bang Chinatown does a solid job for a reasonable price. Sure it’s not as convenient, but unlike the head stylist at Tides, Eden’s always happy to listen to my requests and act accordingly. No bad attitude required.