Tuesday, 12 May 2009

May 12

I went for a haircut today, which provided one positive and two negatives.

The positive was that I got to read Martin Samuel's column in the Daily Mail as I sat in the waiting area. He is the best football writer out there by a mile, although since he left The Times I haven't read his stuff that often. The girl doing the haircuts was incredibly slow but fortunately the column is more like a page-and-a-half, so I passed the time.

When the time came for my haircut, the girl looked at me for ages before asking if I wanted to take a seat. I knew already it wasn't going to be the best cut I'd ever had. Once I'd told her what style I wanted (always the same) I sat in silence for a couple of minutes while she got started. The radio was on and everything seemed to be going well until she asked if I was having a nice day. I never like talking when I'm having my hair cut. I just want a trim, not an interview. There should be something attached to the chair or mirror which you can set to 'I'm happy to talk during this haircut' or 'Just do your job and I'll pay at the end'. Some hairdressers/barbers get the hint if you don't say anything to start with, but this one didn't. I just said I was having a nice day, thanks, that I felt my hair had got a bit too long and that's why I was there. It was the most inane comment but it matched the question. After that the haircut proceeded with only the radio and clippers providing noise.

As the haircut finished I was treated to a blast of hot hairdryer air right in the face. Either she meant to get me back for not talking or she just missed the bit of my head where the hair grows. We walked to the till and she said it would be £9.95. I handed over a £10 note and waited for my change. She looked up and said "Oh, do you want the 5p then?" Yes, I do want the 5p. The haircut does not cost £10. Why would I not want it? Is it a tip? You give a tip as a service charge. The haircut was the service and I paid £9.95 for it. So yes, I do want the 5p back. Because it's mine.

I left and walked to the sandwich shop. I watched as the woman behind the counter cut the bread, filled the sandwich and wrapped it. I gave her the exact money and she said thanks. There was no mention of tips.

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