My sister is a hair dresser, which means she has to ask meaningless personal, but not over personal, questions to up to 20 clients a day. What’s more, she needs to act interested in the answers each time.
This is even worse at Christmas, as questions are all the same. It’s not just before Christmas though, it’s after as well. Here are my sisters most hated questions that she has to ask…
Before – have you done your Christmas shopping? Where you spending Christmas? What are you doing for new year?
After – how was your Christmas? What did you get? How was your new year?
Now I feel I need to point out (mainly because my sister told me to) that she is genuinely interested in what her regulars have to say. Some of her regulars have followed her round London for many years (not in a stalker sense but to get hair done) and a few of them are her close friends, these are the ones she would ask the questions to anyway. It’s the walk in, sit down, have an awkward chat types that do her head in.
As a customer at a hairdressers I know what she means. The small talk can be agonising. You can go one of two ways. 1) chat as little as possible, hoping the hairdresser will run out of steam and give up or 2) go full steam ahead and divulge your life story. I generally go for option one as I have no problem with awkward moments. I almost treat it as a challenge, trying to answer in the least possible words as I can without being outright rude. I believe there has to be a better answer though. Here are my suggestions.
1) bring back the barber shop quartet. There would be no awkward silences if the hairdressing staff all sang 1950’s songs (harmonising of course) all day long. There could be some awkward noise though.
2) get Buddhist monks to cut hair. This is a bit of a career change for them and they wouldn’t be able to practice on there friends but the vow of silence would solve all problems.
3) anaesthesia. Just like going in for an operation. Count back from 10, go to sleep and wake up with a brand new hair cut. It might bump up the price a little to have trained medical staff in the salon but hey, they could take whatever tip they wanted while you were out cold.
So next time you go to the hairdresser, why not ask them how they are, what they have been up to, where they are going on holiday this year. And don’t forget to seem interested when they show you the back of your head, even though you will never have to look at it!
Who else in our society keeps the pun as well as hairdressing salon names.