I’m usually at the forefront of style trends, but not when it comes to hair. It started sometime around 6th or 7th grade, when I joined the spiral-perm and claw-bangs society. Unfortunately I sported that look LONG into the mid 1990’s, even though every one else moved onto grunge years ago. I opted out of the grunge look. I’m a rebel like that. A preppy, preppy rebel.
I only get my hair cut and colored two or three times a year, mostly because I’m cheap and lazy. So once my hair started sporting a couple inches of my real hair color, I trekked off to the salon. God forbid I start going for the “natural” look.
Even though I have a salon that I love, a friend recommended one that was slightly less expensive and within walking distance from my house, so I thought I'd try it out. As I sat in the chair the stylist, we’ll call her Brunhilda, tightened the cape around me like a hangman with a noose.
“Can you loosen that a notch, please?” I gagged. “It’s a little tight.”
“Harrumph.” She loosened the cape. I should’ve taken this as a sign.
Nevertheless, we soldiered on. I try to explain to her what I want. A picture or something might have helped, but I didn’t have any. I could tell I wasn’t getting my point across, and I couldn’t understand what she was suggesting.
We were both getting frustrated, so I asked, “Do you have one of those color hair swatch books? It might help. I feel like I’m not getting my point across the right way.”
“Oh, we have them,” she snapped, “but I won’t use them.”
Sign number two.
Eventually, she started putting the highlighting foils into my hair with such force that I nearly yelped. By this point I wanted to leave, but with the foils in my hair, there was no going back.
The foils were done, and my headache was complete. Thirty minutes later, we were ready to take the foils out and wash my hair. But the Brunhilda’s wrath was not over.
She lead me to the sink to wash my hair, but she didn’t put a towel under the divot in the sink to cushion my neck. She was so vigorous with the water, that I needed to mop off my face with my hand, but not with a towel. This woman was anti-towel.
Now, all you have to do is look at my hair, and it starts to tangle. So since she didn’t put any sort of smoothing or detangling product in my hair after washing it, she hacked away at my hair with a comb. To be honest, I”m not sure she even used conditioner. My headache grew worse.
She begins the cut, and even though I just wanted a trim and a few soft layers, she took several inches off and gave me such rough, choppy looking layers, I look like I got a really bad “Rachel” haircut, fifteen years too late.
Finally my “transformation” was complete. I was now strawberry blonde, with some odd looking layers. I’m naturally brunette. I started to weep, but blamed it on allergies to avoid making a scene. I saved my tears for my husband’s shoulders. I went up front, and stupidly paid for this atrocity, but at least I didn’t leave a tip. I wasn’t going to give her an award for manhandling me.
Husband was so understanding, he even suggested I go back to the salon to get it fixed. I know I should’ve gone back to the same salon, to have my hair redone by a different stylist, but I couldn’t bear to set foot in that dungeon once more. I went back to my old salon, and asked for an all-over dye, so I could start with a clean slate. I didn’t even care about the cut by this point. This new stylist was not only sympathetic, but the first thing she did was pull out one of those damn hair swatch booklets so we could agree on a color. WHO KNEW?
After finishing the requested color, she washed my hair and began to dry it. When it was nearly complete, she looks at me quizzically.
“Did you get a haircut too? I’m noticing some disconnect in these layers. I know you just wanted a color, but do you mind if I go in and even them out?”
OH MY GOD, YES, JUST FIX IT!
I paid for the second cut and color and left, this time with my head held high.
I did phone the first salon to register my complaints.
Me: “Hi, ummmm, I was just in earlier today to see Brunhilda, and I want to complain about the way I was treated. Can I speak to whoever is in charge”
Girl who answered the phone: *Blink, blink.* “Errrrrrrrrr.....ok.....I’ll get the manager.”
Cue wretched hold music.
Raspy voice: “Hi, this is Sue, the owner. How can I help you?”
Me: “Hi, ummmm, I was just in earlier today to see Brunhilda, and I want to complain about the way I was treated.”
Sue, harshly: “Oh, yeah? What went wrong?"
Me: “Well, I sorta feel like I was manhandled. She was so heavy handed, I left with a headache, which is the opposite of what I should feel after a morning at the salon. And the cut and color were nothing like what I asked for. I went back to my old salon to get it fixed.”
Sue, already exasperated: “You should’ve come back here to get it fixed by some one else. I can’t do any sort of refund now.”
Me: “I know. You have a business to run. I just wanted to complain.”
Sue: “Well, I’ll talk to Brunhilda about this, but no refund.”
Dial tone: “BEEEEEEEP.”
I have a feeling that if she mentions anything to Brunhilda at all, the only thing they’d agree on would be that it was all my fault for not explaining what I wanted. Because as I found out from my friend who suggested this salon in the first place, Brunhilda was one of the co-owners of the salon. OF COURSE SHE WAS.
This is what I get for trying new things.