The New Guy in Town

One of the necessities you carry out in moving to a new geographical location is learning where to get a place to stay, where to buy food, where to get your dry cleaning done, and at some point, in the “where to process,” where to get your hair cut (at least for those of us that still have some).

This afternoon I experienced the importance of ensuring someone clearly understands what you are telling them. Upon checking in at the recommended hair cutting establishment and watching my name work up the waiting list, a nice young lady asked me to follow her.

After taking my place in the chair, she began by asking if I had been to her establishment before to which I responded I was new in town.  After a few more niceties, she asked me what I wanted done with my hair.

I explained that I usually get it cut like the young man next to me – a number 4 up the back and sides and short but long enough to comb on top. “But,” I continued, “I’ve been trying to grow my hair out a bit longer as you can see. Could you just take a quarter to a half inch off the back, thin out the sides but leave the length and keep the top as is?”

She affirmed my request as I turned my attention to the myriad of TV screens that adorned the establishment. I was instantly mesmerized by the baseball game that was playing as she began preparations to cut my hair.

Then, in sort of that slow-motion recognition that occurs when we distract ourselves, I heard and felt the clippers buzz by my ear. I quickly looked in the mirror in startled disbelief as 2 inches of hair on the side of my head hit the floor. Stunned, I blurted out “What!”

She hears my reaction and responds, “Oh! You only wanted me to take a half inch off the back!” The place almost instantly went silent as she stood staring at me in the mirror.

Grappling for an appropriately pastoral response I said, “Oh well, at least these types of mistakes grow back.”

That made a few in the waiting area nervously chuckle, which must have affirmed her in some way, as she didn’t miss a beat by saying, “I’m going to upgrade you to our VIP service!”

That’s when the hair professional next to her bust out laughing as did the rest of the place. Oh the importance of clarification and verification.

Now, where did they tell me was a good place to eat . . .


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