Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Haircut time again. A double issue.

Haircut time again.

My last haircut was a dud. I went to a WallyWorld to have it done because it was such an odd experience before that gave me so much to write about.
My timing was just a little off. A customer was just paying his stylist at the register. He was a jovial fellow that had just gotten a wiffle “because he was going home to see the little woman”. Well, you can be pretty sure that “the little woman” wasn't going to have to wonder who it was that was knockin' on her door with a dollar-ninety-nine-bunch-o-flowers in his hands. As she approached the door she was going to recognize the smell.
He might have been so durn happy to be goin' home because whereever he came from, sure did stink. That happy guy that didn't leave a tip was leaving a trail of distorted faces all of the way out of the WallyWorld entrance. Why the WallyWorld greeter actually missed a few folks as everybody was looking around for the source.
Well I was standing at the counter just simmering in it, waiting for my chance to move to a new location to get my haircut. Any location. Beth had quickly decided to go “shopping” and was nowhere to be seen.
There was a delay before I could be served because the young woman that had cashed out mister “Jovial Air Freshener” was using the little sink back there to frantically wash her hands. Then she washed her face and neck. Then she started washing her hands and arms again.
Her coworker, who was busy doing some chemical process to another customer, reminded the girl (that at this point, looked like a raccoon preparing a Thanksgiving feast), that she had a customer waiting. The girl toweled off, stamped out, collected me, and started hacking away. She had a scowl on her face that I read as: Unless I was a plastic surgeon that could give her an immediate nose transplant to replace the freshly assaulted one that she had on her face, I should keep my mouth shut.
So I talked. She was hacking and jabbing with those scissors. I noticed that they weren't the grade-school round-tipped things, they looked sharp. She looked like she hated her job, her profession, and her customers. Those scissors looked very sharp.
I talked to her about her family, because I figured that if I reminded her that she had a family, then she may not want to go to jail. Well it seems that there were some things about her childhood that seemed to bubble up a little quicker than they normally would during the course of a standard haircut, but at least the speed of the snip-snip-snip was slowing down a little. Before she was done, her mood had improved, she was laughing, I felt less like a hostage and more like a customer, although when I looked in the mirror it was obvious that I was a WallyWorld customer. An All-American haircut, yes sir. That hostage period had created damage that all the skill of a laughing beautician couldn't undo, I would have to wait for it to grow.
When I found Beth on the far side of the store, she looked startled. She asked me what happened and then started doing that wifely thing of pulling individual pieces of hair with the thought of “well maybe if I just move THIS piece, it will look better” until finally she just tries flattening it with her palm. I explained that my 'stylist' was in a very foul mood when she started. Beth said “why didn't you walk out?”.
I realized then that if I was in a hostage situation in a bank and the bad guys said “If you don't trust us, then you should just leave now!”, I probably wouldn't raise my hand because I wouldn't want to be rude and make the poor [bad guys] feel that I didn't have faith in them. I had better work on that. Fortunately I haven't had to cash a check since May, so I have avoided any bad guys in a bank.
Back to my story. Remember the haircut?
My hair grew out and it was time to look dapper again.
So I went to two different WallyWorlds here in Florida, and they didn't have a place to get a haircut, so this morning after Beth and I got our flu shots, we found a “Generic Haircut Chain”. We walked in. There were two bored people. I was going to get a cut and Beth wanted her bangs trimmed. The lady asked the guy standing behind her which one of us he wanted to do. He didn't want to do either one of us, so the lady took me and told Beth to wait.
I'm glad the guy wasn't busy because that left him free to man the phone.
A coworker of theirs, I'll call her Ms. Dip, had told a customer the day before that she would pick the customer up today and take her someplace, but Ms. Dip had lost the customer's name. Ms. Dip had remembered that the customer had written a check to pay for the cut, so she wanted Mr. Phone to open the deposit bag from yesterday and tell her what name and number was on the check. Mr. Phone explained to her that he wasn't going to open the deposit bag, if she wanted to, Ms. Dip should come in and do it herself. Then the fun started. Ms. Dip launched into a very long story about why she was too busy to come in. Mr. Phone was literally hitting his head against the cash register until he realized that Ms. Dip was just going to keep talking. So Mr. Phone went back to the computer, doing what he was doing before the call and would pick up the phone, say “uh-huh” and put the phone down. He was doing this “uh-huh” thing about twice a minute. He wasn't even pausing to listen. Just “uh-huh” and drop the phone. After about three or four minutes of this he finally picked it up and said “I gotta go, I've got a customer!” and hung up. You know how you get the feeling that sometimes someone isn't listening when you are telling a long story (like this one)?
Well maybe Mr. Phone is on the other end.
We all were laughing. My 'stylist', I'll call her Ms. Calendar, asked Mr. Phone what THAT was about.
Mr. Phone repeated what I already told you, and then said that she was just going on and on and on...
“Man, she is just crazy...”
Ms. Calendar then stated that in this business she has worked with more “shot out” people than you could believe. I asked “shot out”? She said “Yeah, shot out. You know, in the hair cut business, it's the same small group of people that work at all of the different places, and we move around all the time.”
“I have worked with more burnouts and people that are just crazy.”
My mind immediately flashed to my last haircut person frantically trying to scrub the stink off her skin and decided that there might be a reason for this.
Let's pursue this... “Give me an example?” I said (tossing the bone out)
“Well there is this girl Wanda, that I worked with at [Generic-Haircut-2] that was a pretty good stylist, but she was really into cocaine. She would lose a job at one place and get hired by another. She's still bouncing around.”
“Well one day the girls decided to have a special lunch, they were going to order from Red Lobster, you know, a good lunch. So they ordered all of the food and Wanda said that she would go pick it up. She took the lunch money, and ran away with it.”

“She ran away with the lunch money?” I said.

“Yep” “It was just too much of a temptation.”

All four of us were laughing hard now.
I was saying “imagine weighing the choices, my job, my coworkers, or a little bit of cash? Hmmmmm”
Mr. Phone was saying that some people “only bring their lunch money to work, that's ALL they have with them”. Typical guy, he's thinking on terms of “Well, NOW how am I going to eat today!!!”.
I said that it is very important to chose the correct day to rip off all of the people that you work with, a McDonalds day, doesn't cut it, Subway, no, no, wait for it...
Red Lobster, THAT's the day to throw away your job and all of your coworkers.
I asked if she had gotten her next job at Brinks so that she could steal their lunch money.
“hey, wait a minute... what are they carrying around in those bags? More lunch money?”
The manager of “Generic-Haircut-3” was going to hire Wanda but all of “the girls” said that they would quit if she was hired. Mr. Phone said that Wanda was the one that got locked in the mall all night. I pursued, because I have to: “Locked in the mall?”
“Yeah, she parties a lot and on a Sunday she was having trouble standing up, so they told her to go lie down in the back room. When it was closing time, they couldn't wake her up because she was so blasted. So they left her in the back room, and when she woke up, she was the only one in the mall”.
I expressed my opinion that “Wanda would be the LAST person that you would want wandering around a mall all night. The person that unlocks a door in the morning has Wanda rushing by with a shopping cart full of stuff as she runs to her car.”
At about that time, my haircut was done, Beth came over to tug on some pieces and move them around, and then I got approval to go sit down while Beth got her bangs snipped. A few minutes later, we paid and left Ms. Calendar and Mr. Phone to finish up the day. I wonder which one ran to pick up lunch.


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