Proceed with caution…

It was a quiet morning in the shop. The sun was shining, you could hear the hum of the hair dryers in the Salon and the lively chit chat of our stylist and her client, the air conditioning was keeping me cool and I was catching up on the payroll and inventory. I hear the familiar chirp of the Salon door and before I have a chance to stand up and say hello, the customer is at the front desk “I need you to get me color, toner and the applicator.”. (here we go…). Before I venture further into this tale, let me explain something for those who have not been in my shop. We do sell color. Wella ColorCharm. It is the only professional color line that is allowed to be retailed to the public. We carry it because our competitor’s carry it, and also in case stylist’s need color and either the wholesaler is closed or their license has expired and still do hair from home. In my shop we do not teach people how to do their own color, we do not even advise how to begin. Now, back to today’s tale.

I stand up from the desk and ask her exactly what does she mean and proceed to tell her that toner isn’t just one bottle and I also let her know that the applicator depends on if she wants to use cream or liquid. You see ladies and gents, by asking a few questions, I can tell if she knows what she is doing and if I need to proceed with caution. Guess what? HUGE yellow light. From the look on her face I know 1- she doesn’t understand what I am talking about and 2 – she is getting mad. “My friend said you would tell me what to do and give me what I need!”. (for a minute it felt like I was in a bad after school special). I explained that in the past the previous owner and employees may have given the how to’s for coloring at home, but we do not. I showed her the color swatch book, showed her where the product was and explained “We cannot guarantee the results because we are not applying the color, there are many factors that have to be taken into account when coloring hair, like the hair’s porosity, if you are on any medication it will affect your hair, how resistant is your gray, have you used box dye from the department store in the last year, and many other factors.”. I even offered to introduce her to one of our stylists to make an appointment. (which in turn made her more upset because the next available appointment was for the next week). As I was explaining that I didn’t want something to go wrong with her color and then she would be facing the cost of a color correction, she turned on her heel and stormed out. I understood her frustration.

Later that afternoon the telephone rings. I answer with my usual friendly afternoon greeting to which I hear “Is this the Salon in the Tim Horton’s plaza?!?!”. “Yes it is, how can I help you?”. “Is there a manager around there?!?”. “Yes! That’s me, how can I help you?”. “HHMMPT…were you working this morning?!?!”. “Yes, I was. I was the only one in the store. What can I do for you?”(smiling all the while…*a tip…always smile when you are on the phone…less chance of sounding rude). “…oh…you’re the…man…never mind.”. Before she could hang up, “Are you calling because your friend came in for color this morning?” I ask. “uh, yes, I am.”. So I thanked her for calling and apologized if I had offended her friend in anyway for that was not my intention. I explained the new ownership and the new rules. I explained that these are chemicals and yes, sometimes things go well but there is the chance it will not and I didn’t want her friend’s hair to turn into a nightmare for her. I told her I knew that our competition was giving the how to’s for at home color and I also told her how my stylist now has 10 new color clients because she had to correct their how to’s. By the end of the call, it seemed all was smoothed over. I am hoping so.

The reason for today’s tale is to let you know that there are salespeople who care about the customer, not just the sale. I would rather have a customer leave without a purchase and be informed than buy a product that is not meant for what they want and have their hair look horrible – and not for why you think. Yes, I care what people think and say about our store, anyone in retail does. I don’t want their hair to look horrible because I know what it feels like to be given the wrong information about your hair and then being afraid the mirror will crack every time you look into it, and I do not want to be the reason for that misery. I am sure when the customer stormed out that day she was putting a hex on me, and that’s okay. I would rather her be mad at me for a few minutes(or hours/days…take your pick), then to go home and have her hair turn green or orange. I know neons are in right now, but come on.

Stylists spend 18 months on color theory. Depending on what color you are trying to achieve it can be a delicate process. Remember, no matter how you slice it or glam it up with a hot new name, color is a chemical and when using chemicals you must know what you are doing. If you want to attempt your own color, the only advice I can give you is to proceed with caution.

One thought on “Proceed with caution…

  1. Hah! I did the same thing with my taxes and have learned a very expensive lesson. Leave it to the professionals if you want the job done right 🙂

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