General Question

janbb's avatar

Any advice on this hair salon situation?

Asked by janbb (54165points) 3 weeks ago

I have been going to the same guy for over 20 years in various salons. He gives me a decent, not always great haircut, is reasonably priced and the salon is within walking distance. He talks a lot and doesn’t really ask about me but i can tolerate that. What I cannot stand is the atmosphere in the shop. The politics are rabidly right, the talk is loud and blatant and I find it very unpleasant to be there. Yesterday, the owner, who is a lesbian, and used to rail against Obama, was railing against socialism and abortions any time.

I have spoken to my guy who is a conservative libertarian over the years and he doesn’t talk about politics to me any more. I think he even spoke to the owner for a while and once recently, I said, “Please no politics” but it continues and will only get worse as the election nears.

I feel I am exposed to these ideas enough here and in other places and don’t want to hear them while getting my haircut. But obviously, I can’t change the culture of the shop.

So – should I just go somewhere else? Should I go to Mike on the day he is alone in the shop although that is still supporting the owner? Or should I switch and tell or not tell Mike why?

Conservatives – if you want to answer can just imagine the shoe on the other foot with the shop espousing ideas that were anathema to you. I don’t want to fight about the ideas.

Putting in General so nasty comments if made can be flagged.

Sorry for the TL. Soliciting opinions.

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64 Answers

chyna's avatar

I would go to another shop. I had a pedicure in a shop where the guy absolutely trashed Obama while doing my nails. I wasn’t a long term customer like you are, but I never went back.
You don’t seem like he’s all that great of a hair dresser, so not much will be lost.
Obviously you run the risk of picking a shop that has the same thing going on. That doesn’t happen at my hairdresser’s shop and a quick survey of my coworkers said it doesn’t happen at theirs either.
I probably wouldn’t tell him, but that’s just me avoiding conflict.

canidmajor's avatar

I would also go to another shop. You are essentially trapped in the chair during the cut (yeah, technically you can leave, but that process is SO awkward) and you should not have to listen to someone trashing your personal values.

I would tell him, nicely, why you are leaving. Maybe it will make a difference in the long run if the shop loses customers because of indiscreet volatile conversations.

I am sorry you are having to deal with this, it is so frustrating.

rebbel's avatar

I would keep going to him, on that particular day where he is alone.
You are probably supporting (unbeknownst to you) several other businesses whose owners’/managers’ political ideas don’t meet yours.

canidmajor's avatar

@rebbel, I think it is less about the actual political beliefs of the people there and more about them spewing their vitriol out loud in the place of business. If I don’t know the political leanings of a business (or their workers) it means they are acting professionally.

Jaxk's avatar

I’m not that sensitive and if I have someone that does my hair the way I like politics would not deter me. Of course being on this site regularly, I’ve developed a fairly thick skin and I’ve never been a boycotter to begin with. As a business owner I would not discuss politics with customers simply because it is bad business. The discussion you dislike may not be the position of the owner but rather the position of the customers and/or the employees.

janbb's avatar

@Jaxk That’s certainly a position one can take but this has been constant and unprofessional. And it is the owner among others. I don’t see deciding not to patronize a business for any reason as a boycott but freedom of choice. Thanks for giving your opinion.

jca2's avatar

I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for over 20 years. I pay a lot for the cut and color, it’s a great cut, good products for the color (gentle on the hair). The atmosphere in the salon can be busy but also tends to be somewhat like a spa. My hairdresser (hair cutter) is different from the colorist, who has changed several times over in the 20 years. The hairdresser is also the shop owner and he’s a gay guy from Scotland. I believe, although I do not know, he tends to lean right on some things and left on others. We’ve never really discussed politics. Our chatter is pleasant, about travel, mutual friends, local interests, etc. On the rare times I’ve brought up political things, the conversation is brief and not unpleasant. We may roll our eyes about Trump and then we move on.

When I’m getting my hair colored, I really value and enjoy the peace and just being able to sit with a magazine.

I don’t pay to hear unpleasant things. I pay for a peaceful time once every five weeks. He did have a receptionist who, if I went on a Friday evening, she would come ask for payment while I was in the chair so she could settle her cash register, and that ended because it ruined the pleasant time for the guests. I think she wanted to do what was convenient for her and he is smart enough to know that people who are paying a lot want to enjoy their time while they are getting their service.

If I were you, I’d change shops. There are many places you could go, and life is too short to be subjected to unpleasantness while you’re paying for a service. From what you describe, it’s not the best haircut anyway. Maybe if you go to someone new they may have a different idea about what looks good on you, too. You can try it and if you don’t like it, it will always grow out.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 Yes, I’m leaning that way. My main issue is what to tell my guy. One nice thing about him is that he doesn’t charge for fixing a haircut if I don’t like it but the shop has really gotten impossible to be in.

rebbel's avatar

@canidmajor Yeah, I read you.
But that’s why I adviced to visit the guy on the day that he’s alone.
Less chances of hearing opinions and thoughts that rub you wrong.

janbb's avatar

@rebbel I have done that in the past but I’m not sure that’s what I want right now.

rebbel's avatar

@janbb Maybe he does home visits?

janbb's avatar

@rebbel I have thought about that. It’s a possibility. I guess maybe I’m looking to try someplace else for a while but leave it tactfully in case I do want to return to him.

jca2's avatar

@janbb: If you aren’t satisfied with a cut, he should fix it at no charge so I don’t take that to be a bonus about him.

I don’t know if I’d even feel obligated to tell him why you left, unless you think you might run into him when you’re out one day. People leave businesses all the time, change favorite restaurants, go to new mechanics, etc. If you want to tell him because you feel bad but you want to be diplomatic, I would say “I don’t find your salon to be relaxing, and part of why I go to a salon is for the non-stressful atmosphere.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

If it were me, I’d go elsewhere, especially if the cut is not great.

Why give your money to a business that supports the opposite of what you believe in?

TBH, I would also probably make a small scene at my final appt, and tell them loudly and proudly why I will no longer be a customer. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Of course you should go to another shop. I’d also write a note to the owner explaining why. That she allows it to go on is very unprofessional.
I disagree with making a scene, though. Any type of scene is also uncouth, and serves nothing but stirring up trouble in combative people who are, obviously, ready to fight at the drop of a hat anyway.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I agree with the overall sentiment of the thread that you should find another shop. Whether to say anything to your hairdresser is another matter. I would say something, but I listen to grievances for a living. I know voicing displeasure is a good thing. It gives a business valuable feedback needed to improve.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Why even say anything? It’s a business. You don’t owe them anything. Not your patronage, not an explanation, nothing. You clearly don’t find the product they offer to be satisfactory, so find a business whos product does satisfy you.

janbb's avatar

@Darth_Algar I don’t feel I have to say anything to the salon owner but the hairdresser I have been going to for 20 years, I feel some obligation to tell. Of course, I don’t have to but it feels more courteous.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think she should say something for the owners sake, not for any kind of satisfaction for herself.
If the owner is a real business women (and 20 years tells me that she is) she should appreciate feed back on a situation that could be costing her money. She may even have to look around and say, “You know, come to think of it, there are several other people who haven’t been around in a long time either.”

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III The owner knows I object. Lat time I said, “No political talk please” and she muttered under her breath something about “free speech.” i won’t bring it up with her again; she has no clue although she’s a nice person in other ways.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@janbb You owe the salon owner no loyalty, but I agree that it would be courteous to tell your hairdresser since he’s been cutting your hair for so long.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@janbb Oh wow, then she knows you objected and continued the behavior….interesting.

“Some rules of business etiquette have changed over time, but this well-known adage from Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms, a guide to writing and etiquette from 1879, is still a common standard: “Do not discuss politics or religion in general company.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh hail no! @janbb! I would have gotten up and walked out on her right then and there!

Jeruba's avatar

You need a quieter environment. You’re not going to get it there. I would say try another shop for a single appointment, and then another other shop for a single appointment, and then compare.

After you’ve come to a decision on whether you can or can’t find better service in a more pleasant setting elsewhere, then decide whether to tell your guy why you’re leaving. His comfort is not your priority. (And obviously your comfort is not his.)

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba Great suggestion.

Kardamom's avatar

I would just go to another shop. If you feel like you need to give the original guy and explanation, consider sending him a simple note explaining why. He will either be furious that you left for that reason, and in that case good riddance, or he will be sympathetic, and feel bad that you left, or he will be apologetic and try to get you to come back.

I would find another place, or check out several places, first, until you find one that you like, and go there multiple times, before you send a letter (or don’t send a letter if you really don’t want to, you don’t owe them an explanation). When he doesn’t see you over two cycles, he will probably guess why you left, since you’ve already brought it up.

Find a place you like better, and go several times, before saying anything, so that if he does question you (in whatever scenario you might hear from him) you won’t feel as tempted to return.

Dutchess_III's avatar

From what I gathered, she didn’t have a problem with the guy who does her hair. It was the atmosphere of the whole shop that she has a problem with. In that case, there really isn’t anything he could do to get her to come back, unless the owner steps up.

Inspired_2write's avatar

A beauty salon owner here put a stop to gossiping etc by having music on to drown out annoying chatter.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It is not @janbb‘s call whether to put music on or not. She doesn’t own the salon.
She has mentioned the problem to the salon owner, who doesn’t care.
And I would not want to have my hair done in a place where I had to scream to be heard above the music.

ucme's avatar

Is there any way this bloke you like can come to your home?
A lot of hairdressers do home cuts, be ideal solution if possible.

flo's avatar

@janbb How about the other customers? What is your position on it if most of them like it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

So what if most of them like it? She doesn’t like it.

flo's avatar

@janbb What if the reverse were the case? Imagine you and most of the other customers totally agreed with the owner’s position, (i.e you were mostly liberals) and one of the republican/ Trumper tried to keep you all from the free speech that your post says “and she muttered under her breath something about “free speech.”?

janbb's avatar

@flo I have no judgment on them. They can stay if they like it. I’m just talking about my reaction although in general I would say it’s bad for a business owner to spot off about politics in their business – whether they are left or right.

flo's avatar

@janbb But if it is bad for a business, it’s their business to run it the way they do, right? And you would autoatically just find another place, and not tell the owner and the others what to do “No politics please” in their own business.

janbb's avatar

@flo Are you trying to pick a fight? I asked it once when there were very few people in the shop. It was not a big deal and was clearly ineffective. What is your problem?

Adagio's avatar

She is just getting a haircut @flo, and wants a nice quiet relaxing atmosphere, it is her choice alone where to go! I understand that entirely.

JLeslie's avatar

In your situation I would try another hairdresser. The cut is good, not fabulous, according to your details. You aren’t having a pleasant experience. What’s the harm in trying one or two other salons?

Are you reluctant because it’s hard to break up with or cheat on your hairdresser? Or, is it because you don’t want to take the risk that you will dislike a haircut from another person? On both I say don’t worry. Just know the first time you may not hit a great stylist, it might take a couple tries. Luckily, hair grows, it’s not like a tattoo.

Try somewhere else, you can always go back to this man you have gone to for 20 years. If you’re afraid he might ask where you’ve been (I really doubt you are afraid) you can tell the truth or just say you had your hair cut while on vacation.

chyna's avatar

^Ha, it really does feel like breaking up or cheating on your hair dresser when you change.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I had been going to this one salon for about a year and “Tiff” cut my hair. Well, one day “Tiff” wasn’t available so “Mary” cut my hair. Oh, Mary did SUCH a great job. So much better than Tiff! I was in an agony….I couldn’t very well go out on my hairdresser with another hair dresser right in front of her! But, just in the nick of time, Tiff moved out of town and I was saved.

flo's avatar

Ok, so let’s say while janbb is there someone who loves to talk politics (and comes in for that more than the haircut) asks “How come no one is talking politics, ...? ” And someone answers “Janbb said “No politics”. How is that a good thing? Could a fight (verbal) start as a result? Even if no fight starts, where is the whole point of freedom of speech, which has not been responded to in this thread yet?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@flo

Freedom of speech is not absolute. The business owner_can_ limit what kind of speech is allowed in their establishment. And they can certainly limit what types of speech their employees can engage in at work

flo's avatar

But the ones who love Trump also could claim (whenever they hear anti Trump talk) “I just want no politics, I just come here for a nice quiet relaxing atmosphere _therefore No politics. Except of course they wouldn’t be meaning no pro Trump politics._
It’s not no politics it’s _no position that I don’t agree with

flo's avatar

@Darth_Algar Yes, except that’s not what this thread is about, is it? It’s a customer (again whether it’s a Trumper or an anti Trumper) telling the owner what not to talk about.

Darth_Algar's avatar

It’s a customer explaining to the owner what they find off-putting about the businesses atmosphere and how that customer feels it could be made more pleasant. Most business owners welcome this kind of feedback from their customers (even if they don’t necessarily implement all suggestions).

flo's avatar

@Darth_Algar Saying “No politics” to the owner, or customers, or staff is not a suggestion on a “Give us your feedback” form, or a meeting where everyone is invited to suggest things etc.

mazingerz88's avatar

Haven’t read the earlier posts.

I live in a county that has not a single good haircutter unless maybe if I pay 30 bucks not including tip yet. I can only assume the best ones are in more expensive hair salons where they charge 40 bucks again not including the tip.

For years now I’ve been jumping from one bad barber/haircutter to worse paying 25 bucks including tips.

Hair Cuttery cutters are the worst. Like they just trained for a week and given licenses. Not one has an idea of what haircut would complement the customer’s face. How short? Electric razor. Snip. Snip. Done in 20 minutes if not less.

The only competent hair cutter I met in living in this county for the past 18 years was Miriam, an immigrant from Venezuela. Was lucky to have her cut my hair for maybe 4 years until she left.

All I can say is each time she does my hair I always looked at my handsomest. She knew the best shape and style for me. I regret not taking a picture of the cut to show future cutters.

Anyways my point is, I could endure listening to trump supporters if it’s the only way to get Miriam to work on my hair.

Anything less than that, I wouldn’t sit there and listen to crap.

chyna's avatar

@flo I doubt @janbb said it in a rude or hateful manner. But if people in a small space are arguing over politics, she has every right to try to get people to stop arguing while she is spending money to get her hair done in a quiet atmosphere.

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Dutchess_III's avatar

@flo, it’s simple:
@janbb has every right to express her displeasure.
The shop owner has every right to ignore her complaint.
@janbb then has every right to never return to that shop.
Shop owner loses income.

The end.

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Jeruba's avatar

And people talk like politics isn’t relevant to their lives. (Some people do, anyway.) If it can make you suffer at the hair salon, it’s relevant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, anymore the climate surrounding politics is so belligerent and violent. It’s kind of scary.

flo's avatar

The way to not suffer is to go where there is pleasing conversation/topics.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@flo

Which is, at the nuts and bolts, what this thread is about.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s what we all agreed on @flo.

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