Monday, July 25, 2011
CHEAP HAIRCUTS - A Rant
This post is about as far from a writing topic as one can get, but in a way it’s related—it stems from an article I read today in the Ft. Hooterville Journal-Gazette. The instant I read it, a red mist rose up in my vision, blinding me.
It was a wire article from United Features Syndicate titled SIMPLE SOLUTIONS and subtitled: GET A CHEAPER HAIRCUT.
That got my attention since I was a haircutter for over thirty years.
Here’s the first paragraph—the one that induced me to throw something and break a window.
“Believe it or not, the best way to cut costs is to have the hairdresser come to you. Salons pocket about 60 percent of the overall fee, so to bring in extra cash, many stylists make house calls. Just ask. Generally, the same services are available, including color treatments, but the prices are up 30 percent to 40 percent lower, because the stylist keeps all the money.”
I can’t begin to tell you how wrong all of that is. Well, I can begin and will…
First of all, let me declare the writer of this article a total ditz. Just another “reporter” who doesn’t do five minutes of any real research before he or she begins shooting her mouth off. In these days of political correctness, we’re not supposed to use the term “retard,” but if ever a person deserved to be described thusly, this person did. This is clearly a person who rode the short bus to school and lost her bus privileges for losing her helmet. And, became a feature writer… This is why brothers and sisters shouldn’t mate…
First, I wonder if this “writer” understands why salon owners “pocket” 60 percent of the service fee. This is information I suspect escapes those who simply show up to work with the only investment being their lunch bucket. I especially love her term of “pocketing” the money. Kind of a verb that suggests a pimp taking his cut from his prostitutes.
Here’s why owners “pocket” 60 percent. It’s called “expenses and overhead.” Along with “return on investment.” A partial list of those expenses and overhead would be: rent or lease payments, advertising costs, training costs for stylists, paying half of the employee’s Social Security (which brings up another expense for owners—as self-employed workers themselves, they pay both sides of SS for their own earnings), utilities, insurances (including liability policies for damages a stylist in their employ might create on a client and be sued for), benefits for their stylists, including pensions, health and life insurances, sick days, paid vacations, bonuses and a thousand other expenses I don’t recall at the moment. Not to mention furnishing a place to work, in many cases, tools, along with supplies such as shampoos, conditioners, color and perm products, dryers, chairs, refreshments for workers and clients, magazine subscriptions, the décor… it goes on and on and on. At sixty percent of the employees’ earnings, a well-run and efficient salon will realize about five percent of that. The majority of salon owners actually lose money. I know a great many salon owners who employ say five or six stylists who don’t make anything from their employees at all, and their “profit” consists primarily of what they personally take in each month.
Not to mention, the salon owner took a risk and invested in the business. A risk the employee doesn’t make at all. All he or she has to do is show up for work and bathe regularly. And, most stylists aren’t getting rich, either.
How do you suppose a salon owner would view one of their stylists giving “kitchen cuts” outside of the salon? A stylist who the owner has invested training dollars on. A stylist upon which the owner has spent large sums advertising for? Or paid the rent or lease money for the space she uses? Or paid half of her S.S.? Or taken out her taxes each week and paid for the accounting services to do that and provide her an annual W-2 form? Might it be possible that the owner has invested a sizable amount of money in that stylist, and might take a bit of umbrage that the client who came through the door and sat in that stylist’s chair mostly as a result of what the owner had done to induce her to come to the salon? If so, what do you suppose that owner feels about such a stylist going to that client’s house to do a kitchen cut and pocketing the entire, discounted fee?
Not very kindly.
In fact, when I owned salons and employed stylists, if I caught any of my employees doing that, they’d be automatically fired. On the spot. No appeal. It’s unethical, it’s immoral, and it’s a crime. It’s called STEALING from the employer.
And, yet… this is what this moron is suggesting people do.
Should we do the same for other services? Should we ask cab drivers to take us someplace “off the meter” for a cheaper fee? To conveniently “forget” the owner who has paid for the cab, paid for the insurance, the phone bills, the building they worked out of, the utilities paid, the business they worked for years to establish the reputation of his or her fleet? In this writer’s mind, it looks like that would be just fine.
Or, should we find a clinic and search out the junior doctors and nurses and offer them a lesser fee to come to our house to perform their ministrations? Find a just-graduated dentist to visit us in our homes to treat a cavity? Find a newly-minted lawyer in a large firm to write our wills for us in our house?
I doubt if she even considered that, but what’s the difference? Is it because she doesn’t see a stylist as being as “professional” or “important” as other service vendors? Her attitude fairly well screams what she thinks of hairstylists. Second-class citizens.
I think I’ll offer my services as a writer for her column. At forty percent of what she receives. That would be a great deal for United Features, as I think I can offer demonstrable proof that I’m a better writer than he or she is…
She offers some other ways to beat the price in salons. I’m so pissed at this person’s attitude I don’t want to spend any more time on her ignorance. I just wish I was still cutting hair and I knew who he or she was and that they popped up in my chair. I’ve got a cut in mind for them that would be worth every cent of the 40 percent she was paying…
This is the mindset of (many—not all) people who work for corporations or the government or other institutions and not small businesses. They really don’t have a clue how this thing called “the economy” works.
Their ignorance is appalling.
I’m still mad.
It’s one of the reasons I’m not cutting hair any longer. People like this writer.
If anybody knows the name of the person who wrote this article, send him or her to me. I’ve got a home haircut just for him or her…
Final thought—are there any editors out there any more who actually think about the copy that’s turned in? Any editors at the newspapers who buy this garbage who actually think about what they’re printing? That have a clue why newspapers are dying?
Rant over... For here. I'm still fuming.