10 Things Hair Salon Employees Will Remember About How You Act At The Hair Salon

Like the DMV, Las Vegas, and high school, beauty salons have the power to bring the ugly out of almost anyone — which is ironic, because one would assume the goal of going to such a place is to be not-ugly. I worked in a salon as a teenager, through college and, when that $120,000 piece of paper failed me for what would be the first of a bajillion times, after college. I am well-versed in the desperate diva behavior that goes down in a salon. That’s not to say all clients are bad eggs — the good ones are just as memorable as the disastrous ones. Now that I’m seemingly out of the trenches, I have to tell y’all the things that salon owners, receptionists, and stylists will always remember about you, for better or worse.

1. They will remember if you try to bargain with the stylist for a better price. Despite all of the glaring similarities, a hair salon is not a used car lot. The only time you should ask for special consideration is when you’re about to leave the salon looking like an extra from a Kid ‘n Play movie — otherwise, it’s inappropriate. An employee doesn’t have the clearance to rearrange the pricing structure of a business that doesn’t belong to them, and an independent stylist who rents a chair charges you what allows them to pay bills and buy products to use on your hair and like, eat and stuff. If a salon is out of your price point, find another one. (Seriously — if you’re in desperate need of a cheap-o hair fix, sign up to be a hair model for a beauty school or give the free section of Craigslist a peek.)

2. They will remember you if you’re famous. I mean, it’s really exciting when famous heads come through! The staff basically spends the rest of the day googling the famous person and gushing, “She’s sooo down to earth, hope she comes back!” even if the famous person is kind of average in every way possible.

3. They will remember you if you’re going through some major hair trauma. I’m not talking baby-bangs-gone-wrong trauma, I’m talking “I let my boyfriend’s ex bleach my hair and now it’s falling out in clumps” trauma. This is the kind of gratifying work a stylist lives for — not that they’re happy your head looks like it’s been smoking meth in a trailer for the last week, but nursing your hair back to health is a serious undertaking that requires a stylist to problem-solve in ways that a perm just doesn’t.

4. They will remember you if you cancel an appointment at the last minute. The idea of an appointment is that it is your special time. And not showing up for your special time means someone else is gypped out of special time they could’ve had. So here’s a block of time wherein money was supposed to be made, but is now just a two-hour window for the stylist to sit around picking lint out of her navel. That’s unfair. If your income were dependent on people sticking to their word and showing up when they said they would, you would understand how this is unfair.

5. They will remember when you argue about a cancellation fee you previously agreed to. In order to counteract the unfairness that is canceling an appointment at the last minute, some salons will charge a cancellation fee that requires the client to leave a credit card number when booking an appointment. You should not cancel your appointment and then try to argue your way out of paying the cancellation fee. No one goes through the arduous task of taking a credit card number over the phone just to be like, “Wait, JK! That cancellation fee business was just for funsies, we’re perfectly fine with not making any money today.” Of course, there are exceptions for otherwise loyal clients: death, car accidents, some more death… but just remember one thing: cancellation fees don’t exist to punish you. They exist because people need to get paid.

6. They will remember you if you’re fun. One good client can brighten an otherwise bleak day. My personal favorites are the ones who get dinner-party drunk and loudly recite juicy stories about people I’ll never meet. Miss y’all!

7. They will remember you if something goes wrong. When hair goes wrong, things get dark pretty quickly. A botched haircut or a heinous dye job are fun for no one. Stylists are more sensitive to these accidents than you’d think — their portfolio is your head. You are a walking advertisement for their work. Even if you’re the most egregious client on the planet, they will not feel good about mucking up your hair. (Best practice for avoiding this is to tell your stylist about any hair-skeletons you have in the closet — Chia Pet perm and all. If they have suggestions or reservations about what you want, try to listen to them.)

8. They will remember you if you’re a bad tipper. It’s hard to forget someone who leaves a 10% tip on a two hour service.

9. They will remember you if you’re a good tipper. You are like black opal, rare and beautiful. May your service improve with every visit.

10. They will remember you if you’re loyal. A loyal client — one who considers the time and feelings of the people they trust with their hair, one who recommends the salon to friends, one who rolls with the punches without getting all Real Housewives when something goes awry — can get away with tipping modestly or canceling in the case of an emergency or getting upset when their hair is two shades shy of how they wanted it. They can get away with it because the salon staff knows a client is loyal to the salon and its workers because they care, and any outlandish behavior is a result of being human, not evil. We’re all human. Just remember that the next time someone trims your hair a bit too short, K? TC mark

image – Shutterstock


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  • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai (@kaimcn)

    “gypped”, really? It’s 2012, maybe we can can it with the racism.

    • Aria

      It’s a commonly used word now that most people don’t even associate with gypsies. I highly doubt that Stephanie has anything against gypsies.
      Anyway, this was a good read :)

      • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai (@kaimcn)

        Regardless of whether it’s meant as racism or not, it is a racist term. Would you be ok with it if it were “Jewed” instead of “gypped”?

    • Tiny Idiot

      That was my first thought. If something is commonly used doesn’t make it okay — most racial and ethnic slurs were at some point commonly accepted. They were even used by perfectly nice people who had no specific hatred toward any ethnic group.

      • derp

        I use that word all the time and had no clue that it had such origins. But then again I thought it was spelled ‘jipped’

      • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai (@kaimcn)

        It jumped out at me as soon as I came across it and coloured my reading of the rest of the article.

    • Scottie

      You’re so sensitive that the slightly abrasive world around you is going to wear your giant vagina down to just a nub of the lame dick you are.

      • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai (@kaimcn)

        I don’t understand your point here but you’re defending racism so I don’t care what your point is.

    • Gregor Samsa

      “gyp” as a verb can be found all major Dictionaries, even if it is just listed as slang. “Jew” or “jewed” as a verb that denotes something negative has never been accepted as even slang so that’s way too far of a stretch to use it for comparison. Even the term gypsy has lost all correlation to race. If anything, it only was loosely tagged to a nebulous ethnic group in the first place. By the 20th century it only connotes a certain lifestyle that could be applicable to any race. Maybe you have a problem with that word for personal reasons but attacking the author with claims of racism is a little melodramatic and just not nice.Sorry, your comment just pissed me off. You’re not making the world a better place by alleging racism over something so trivial.

    • michal

      ohmygodohmygodohmygod please get off this website please please OMG you are the actual fucking worst….and no i would not give a shit if someone said “jewed” and i am full 100% bat mitzvahed chillin in the sukkah not driving on shabbat JEWISH

      • http://www.facebook.com/arrismommy Kira Hills

        someone would care! i would! and i’m Black. i am full 100% fried chicken lovin’, junk in the trunk, don’t be a menace to south central streets while drinkin your juice in the ‘hood (except i live in the suburbs) BLACK.

    • http://www.facebook.com/arrismommy Kira Hills

      i totally agree! i wasn’t going to say anything but it’s just like saying, for instance, oh i’m going to “Jew” them down. wrong is wrong.

  • margot

    What about ones who are scared of hairdressers and small talk?

  • http://gravatar.com/strangevista strangevista

    i HOPE my former hair dresser remembers me! After years of excellent tipping and loyal service my stylist started acting like an ass. When I inquired why, she went off on me and I had to threaten her with a Yelp review to even get her to finish my hair! (I know, taking a risk there!) The other stylists looked on in shock, but she was their boss and while I got a couple of secret apologies from them later, no one wanted to stand up to her. I’m glad I did, and even gladder to have found someone new, by experimenting with Groupon-style offers. It’s refreshing as hell to break up with your hairdresser. If you don’t wanna be stuck with the same look forever (cheek piercings are no guarantee your stylist will be edgy), move on regularly!

  • LG

    nice, if nothing else – i’m definitely loyal. 20 years and going strong.

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/07/10-things-hair-salon-employees-will-remember-about-how-you-act-at-the-hair-salon/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • egle

    Love you and your writing, but I learned basically nothing from this, nor was I entertained.

  • Anon

    Wait, in america you tip hairdressers? Whaaattttttt

    • http://lakemp.wordpress.com lakemp

      I knooow right! I literally got chased down the street by this new york hair stylist when i was there. I was so shocked i tipped her 20.

  • tiff

    Whatever happened to “customer is always right”?
    the title of this should have been “ten things hairstylists bitch about that are a part of the job”.

    • AH

      The customer is not always right in spas or salons–maybe retail and food service, but the wonderful thing about a salon or spa is that if you’re a bitchy customer no one likes to deal with, we don’t care if you come back–you will be easily replaced. Bitchy customers don’t seem to understand this.

      • tiff

        I will be replaced? hah. that’s not how it works dear.
        I replace my hairdresser not the other way around.
        If I hate the way you cut my hair (and I don’t wana complain cuz I’ve known you a while and I don’t want to upset you) I won’t tip you well that day. deal with it. what service employees don’t understand is that not everyone deserves tips. It depends on the quality of service I get.
        lets talk cancellation fees, shall we?biggest rip off in the universe!
        things happen. life isn’t perfect. sometimes we need to cancel appointments last minute. and if you work at a nice salon, we all know you have a ton of walk-ins waiting for an appointment not to show up. so stop ripping people off for services you’re not providing.
        they will remember me if I’m fun? not only are you charging me, like, $70 a haircut, but I also have to entertain you? must be nice.
        no really. should I go on?

    • anon

      yes but often the customer is an idiot

      • tiff

        great rebuttal you got there.

  • damn

    the comments on this article…..what is the world coming too…

  • Mel

    What about when the stylist cancels on YOU at the last minute? Bc I’ve driven miles to get to a hair appt just to get a call as Im pulling in the parking lot saying she can’t make the appointment. On more than one occasion. Frustrating

  • http://twitter.com/jolizevette Joliz (@jolizevette)

    Serious question, what is a good amount to tip hairdressers (furthermore people who wax your brows, etc)? I always feel like I under or overtip and wanted to know what the general consensus was

  • urhotsendn00dz

    spread your legs and piss on everything. they will remember you.

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