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The Emily Post of holiday retail

It’s official. The holiday retail season has begun. Macy’s parade has paraded through our living rooms, turkey’s have been served and Black Friday has come and gone. It is here. Get used to it. Accept it. I have. One thing I refuse to accept is being yelled at, mistreated or having a flat iron thrown at me or any of my employees. I have also been known to intervene and stick up for the girl behind the counter while doing my own shopping. Why you ask? I don’t know if it is because I am forty, because I have had a hysterectomy or because I just have no room for (pardon my french) bullshit or people behaving like an ass. (A smart ass I will embrace, an ass – kick ’em to the curb). Yelling at and bullying a cashier or salesperson makes you look like an ass. Yeah, I said it.

Being me, I have compiled a little list for you to follow. Keep it with you in your wallet or on your phone. When you feel your blood begin to boil because the last red sparkle polish has just been sold or your stylist can’t fit you in at 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve – pull out the list, take a breath and move on.

 

– When a product is on back order, we honestly do not know when it is arriving. We don’t. Most of the time the warehouse doesn’t even know when or if the reorders are arriving. We receive the product as soon as they do. I wish I had a better answer, I do not.

– When you decide you want to change your hair color, be prepared to put aside at least two hours. Thursday & Friday nights are always booked up early, as are Saturday’s. Call ahead or better yet, ALWAYS pre-book your next appointment.

– Do not attempt your own hair color at 6:00 p.m. on the eve of Christmas Eve and then scream at us on the phone at 8:00 p.m. that same night because we are fully booked and won’t stay late on Christmas Eve because we close at 4:00 p.m. so we can see our loved ones. – Yes! It’s true – salespeople and stylists have families too! We aren’t all party girls that raid discount malls and drink cocktails.

– If the shelf is empty and we tell you the product is on back order, it is. We are not hiding it on you. We are not holding it hostage to the highest bidder. You are not being Punk’d. You can bat your eyelashes, show your cleavage, wave a 20 in my face, (all of these scenario’s have personally happened to me over hairspray…yep…hairspray), it will not make the product magically appear, I don’t have it.

– You cannot return an item after it has been used because you didn’t like it. The last time I checked the definition of manufacturer’s defect – “I don’t like how these clippers fit in my hand” or “The smell of the hairspray doesn’t make me happy” didn’t match the definition. I agree there is a defect present – it isn’t with the product.

– Yelling at a 17 year old girl behind the counter because your credit card was declined is not acceptable. It is not her fault you went crazy at your local Walmart on Black Friday.

– Just because you say your child is a gift does not mean you can plant them under the tree at our store while you shop.

– I know it is a pain waiting in line, your feet hurt, you are hot in your coat. When you finally get up to the till, say hello, look the cashier in the eye. They are tired too and probably been there for over 6 hours without a break while having to be yelled at for things they didn’t do and worrying about their sick child at home. * Something you all need to know – there are many companies that allow their employee’s benefit’s as long as they work a certain amount of hours – don’t work the hours = no benefits. Remember that as you shop this season.

– It is not our fault when the debit machine goes down. I know it is a hassle for you – think about how it is for us. We get to hear for the next however many hours of “what a pain and hassle” it is for you, how you will “NEVER shop here again!”, all because the bank’s network is down.

– When you are offered a free gift with purchase, say thank you. There isn’t any strings attached. We are thanking you for your business. If you don’t want it – give it to the person behind you or the next person you pass on the street.

– ALWAYS give to the Salvation Army soldier you pass on the street or in the mall. ALWAYS.

– If you are not a christian and someone wishes you a “Merry Christmas” please do not be offended. We aren’t judging your religious beliefs or trying to convert you, calm down and remember – it is a season of reflection and giving – no matter what you believe. Be kind.

So there you have it my lovelies, the first of what I can expect of many installments of  The Emily Post of Holiday Retail. Pass it along. Remember this. As you are complaining that the “must have nail polish” is out of stock, there are many wondering if the food bank is out of stock. Be kind, give where and when you can, even if it is a smile or kind word…and don’t throw the flat iron.

 

 

 

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Tales of Truth – Part 6

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, gather round. Yes, it is that time again, tales of truth. The past week has been an unusual one, more so than normal. Maybe it’s the weather…a tad milder than normal, maybe it’s the holiday season approaching, maybe it is the pressure to have the turkey basted to perfection. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I was looking at my calender counting the days until the next available hour I would have to myself (December 3rd.) that I realized there is a full moon approaching. That explains everything.

Here is a glimpse into the daily life of that girl in the red coat, what I hear and what I see and sometimes wish I could un-see.

– “Your hair looks so nice, like fur, like….my cat. Oh, your hair reminds me of my cat.” – Thank god she said cat. (wait for it…there you go)

– “I want to get a Brazilian done. I heard it was easy enough. Do you think if I do the splits standing up and use the wall to hold my balance I could do it?”. I didn’t know what to say so I told her to You Tube the how to video on Brazilian Waxing. (You are gonna look it up now aren’t you? You know you are. You aren’t fooling anyone.).

– “If you can curl your hair with it, why do you call it a flat iron?” – how is it that these people make more money than I do?

– “Do you sell toe nail polish?” – had to explain that nail polish can be used on both finger nails and toe nails – I swear I did a shoulder check looking for a camera crew and Ashton Kutcher

– A customer asked the difference between root boost and mousse. I explained that “root boost is sprayed directly at the root, rub it in and then blow dry. A mousse is a foam that you disburse into your hand, emulsify it in both hands and rub it through out the hair, then blow dry.”. She stared at me and responded with “so..what’s the difference?” – Where is the principal’s office when you need it?

– A woman  called the shop asking me if I thought her hair color was too brassy. I told her it would be easier for me to tell if she was at the shop. She asked me why.

– I had a customer ask for a product line I did not carry. “I bought it here before! You don’t know what you are talking about.”. I apologized and explained that our shop has never carried that line. “Well , I know I bought it here! I shop here all the time! Give me your head office’s phone number!”. I told her we were locally owned and operated and not part of a chain. That’s when the light bulb switched on and she realized not only was she in the wrong store, she was on the wrong city. I offered her a complimentary mint.

– “My son loves computers. Can he come behind the counter while I shop?” – didn’t realize I had such a resemblance to Nanny McPhee

– A customer asked me if we sold Sebastian Shaper Plus. I said yes and took her over to the shelf. She just stood there saying “Really. You sell Sebastian Shaper Plus.”. She said it three times, then stared at me. I asked if she wanted me to get it down for her. She nodded as she stared and smiled and then walked up to the counter. I stood back for a minute- in case an alien sprang out of her chest or her head began to spin around.

There are five more days until the full moon. Although the thought of what may be said or seen does frighten me a little, it will make for some great tales to tell and maybe even bring a bit of laughter to an otherwise dull day.

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You will find it if you know where to look.

I know. I know. You began reading this blog because you wanted beauty tips, you wanted gossip, and you were praying for a magic wand to give you the exact potion to give you the hair of your favorite celebrity (they are extensions by the way. Unless your favorite celebrity is The Rock or Mr. Clean- trust me – they are extensions). I know the last few tales have been more about inner beauty, kindness and life in general but your wait is over. Today’s Salon tale is about product. Yes, it’s true. You can get back on your chair now.

My main goal everyday at the shop is to educate our customers/clients. If I don’t know something, I make damn sure I find out. When I find out useful tidbits of information, I pass them along. That is what I am doing today. As you know, companies are known to change, rename or discontinue products without any notice to the consumer. You know the feeling, much the same as when the guy who just professed his love trying to steal third didn’t call you or even give you a second glance. Well, ladies and gents, not all companies are like Larry the Lounge Lizard – some companies want to give us a heads up and even give us the new name or new replacement of our favorite products. Joico is one of those companies.

A few years ago, Joico renamed a few of their products. This past week I had an elderly lady looking for the shampoo that her husband loved. Everyone told her it was discontinued, it wasn’t made anymore. I was her “last kick at the can” as she put it. So I asked her what was the product and she told me “Joico Bojoba Shampoo”. I walked over to my Joico shelf,  grabbed her a bottle of the Daily Care Treatment Shampoo and told her “Here it is! Same product, same smell, new name.”. Well, wasn’t I her favorite person of the day, she actually giggled and couldn’t wait to get home and give it to her hubby. (the shampoo people…behave yourselves).

Being me, and not to let any of you down, I have compiled a list of the renamed Joico products. They are still the same products, they just have a new name.

– IceWhip is now JoiWhip

– IceMist is now JoiFix Firm

– IceLotion is now JoiLotion

– IceGel is now JoiGel Firm

– Altima Conditioner is now Daily Care Conditioner

– Kerapro Shampoo is now Daily Care Conditioning Shampoo

– Bojoba Shampoo is now Daily Care Treatment Shampoo

– Lite Conditioner is now Daily Care Balancing Conditioner

– Triage Shampoo is now Daily Care Balancing Shampoo

– Integrity is now Daily Care LeaveIn Detangler

So there you have it. As for all the stylists, salon owners and managers out there, hell sales people in general – there is this thing called a computer and it has the capability to look something up for you in about 30 seconds. When a customer or client asks about a product and you don’t know the answer – do not say “Oh…that’s discontinued” or “I don’t know what you are talking about”. In the immortal words of my father “LOOK IT UP!”.

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Mission accomplished

Last night I had the privilege to attend a seminar. Yes, you read that right, I said privilege. I know, most people see seminars as a chore. With over 20 years in the customer service/sales game I know why most see seminars as a chore – some times you have to play a game, some times you have to role play scenario’s (that are never true to life), and most disappointing of all is when the speaker literally repeats the newest sales book word for word and tries to pass the words off as his own.(Plagiarism anyone?). From lingerie to automobiles, I have heard and seen it all. Literally. (Trust me, selling lingerie isn’t as elegant as it seems – I still can’t look at a garter belt without shuddering. As for being a woman in car sales…that is another tale for another time).

Back to the tale at hand. Last night I was invited to attend a business seminar by one of my reps, Melodie from Piidea. The speaker was eloquent, funny, informative and real. He was honest, to the point, put things in perspective, raised up his audience. His words were his own and when they weren’t, he quoted whose words they were. The gentleman I am speaking of is Kevin Agar.

What made last night’s seminar stand out above others I have attended in the past was this – it wasn’t just about making the sale or keeping the client. It was about living up to your potential, being accountable for your actions with your staff and your customers and yourself. One of the greatest aspects was that the tips he gave worked for our industry, business tips that aren’t the least bit awkward and are easy to implement. Most of all, it was about building a relationship with your clientele/customers – something I strive to do everyday. At our shop, I want everyone who crosses our threshold to feel beautiful, informed and educated. From looking around the room last night, if Mr. Agar’s mission was to do the same – mission accomplished.

 

 

 

 

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Kindness 101 Section 2

You may be familiar with my previous blog, Kindness 101. No? Well, feel free to read it, you will find it in the July archives. In the past weeks many great things have been happening to myself and to others that I hold dear. The great events aren’t the only things we all  have had in common  – we all have been the brunt of a sarcastic or unkind word.

Ladies and gents, seriously, do I have to say this again? I know I am a mother but I HATE when I am forced to sound like one. BE NICE. BE KIND. Not sure what that means or how to do it? I have compiled a little list for you all. Feel free to add it to your favorites, share it on Facebook or print it off and keep it in your wallet for future reference.

– When someone is excited about their news, be excited with them = Kind. Respond with “hmpt…whatever…” = Not kind.

– When someone gets a Pixie cut tell them they look great =Kind. Telling them they look more like Peter Pan than a pixie =Not Kind

– A friend has lost 20 pounds and has 10 to go, hug them, tell them they can do it = Kind. Telling them “Are you sure it’s only 10” = Not kind.

– When someone is speaking to you, look them in the eye = Kind. You keep looking at your phone as they speak to you = Not kind.

– When someone is following their dream, even if it is to be the best damn basket weaver on the planet, tell them you have their back and want the first basket they weave = Kind. Asking them if they have joined a commune = Not kind.

– When someone is recovering from addiction and is having a trying day and wants a drink, offer to listen and tell them to call their sponsor =Kind. Telling them to “get over it” = Not kind (actually = Idiotic).

– When someone has colored their hair purple and red and they love it, love it with them =Kind. Telling them Sesame Street is looking for them =Not kind.

– Your friend gets a perm and it was over processed and she can’t fix it for a few days, help her try to style it = Kind. Telling her she needs a hat =Not kind.

– When someone has just lost a loved one, be it a parent or pet, take their hand and ask if they need anything, then shut up = Kind. Asking for every detail from time of death to burial while you Google embalming  = Not kind

– When someone’s dream is beginning to unfold for them, congratulate them, celebrate it = Kind. Telling them “Great, now you will forget all about me.” = Not Kind

– When someone’s parent is in the hospital and needs child care for their children, offer to take their children, free of charge = Kind. Calling and asking for an hourly rate = Not kind.

Trust me, I am the first to admit life is tough. I know how frustrating it is when things don’t go your way or work out as planned. One thing I do know is this – The more you belittle someone else, the smaller your life becomes. If you think your life is crap, your family vehicle will become the manure truck. Yeah, I know, taking the high road is exhausting. Trust me – I am thinking of investing in a portable oxygen mask. (wait for it…high road…lack of oxygen…there you go.).

Celebrate each other victories, big or small. Laugh with each other, not at each other. Be kind. It is really that simple. Treat people as you want to be treated…and don’t throw the flat iron.

 

 

 

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Receding hairlines and muffin tops

I hear the familiar chirp of the shop’s door chime. I look up to see a couple. I can tell from the look on the woman’s face she is on a mission, the gentleman looks like a little boy who just received the scolding of his life. Before I have a chance to say hello, the lovely lady sighs and says as she points at his head “Can you help this?!”. In all honesty, the first thought that sprang into my head was “No, but they will perform an exorcism to remove the demon that resides in you at the church down the street”. What I did say was “Help with what exactly? I think his hair cut looks great.”. He smiled. She scowled. “I was talking about his hair line! Look at it!”. I didn’t look at his hair line. I looked at him, right in the eye and asked him “Do you like your hairstyle? Is there a product that you are looking for?”. Again, he smiled, she scowled. I swear she added a “hhmmpptt” with the scowl. I found out he was looking for something that gave hold without a lot of shine and didn’t want anything too sticky. He liked to brush his hair forward a little to cover up his receding hair line. So I showed him the American Crew Fibre – a medium hold cream that adds texture and hold with minimal shine. I also showed him the KMS Molding Paste – great texture and hold with low shine.

Ladies, I have said it before and will say it again…if you want equality, it goes both ways. If your gent pointed at your ass and said “you gotta do something about that!” you know that he would be pushing up daisies. If your gent took you into a store and pointed at your muffin top stating “Can you do anything about this?!?” he would be walking home to nothing waiting for him on the dinner table. So why do women think it is okay to do this to men? I think it is cruel. In all honesty, it is kind of disgusting actually. It takes a lot, I mean A LOT for a man to open up about his insecurities. Throwing them in his face, especially in public is, quite frankly, being a bully.

NEWS FLASH! Men want to look good for themselves. Sure, they want to look good so people will notice them. We all want that. Yeah – I mean you too – you aren’t wearing red 6 inch heels just so you reach the soup can on the top shelf for the little old lady at the grocery store – the jig is up. Men want to have good hair days too. Men hate when their hair is frizzy. Men give up on their new style and just chop it off – just like women have. If you ask  me, it takes guts for a man to walk into a Salon and ask for help. He is risking all kinds of ridicule, be it from coworkers, friends, or unfortunately in some circumstances, the Salon employees. Oh, and a heads up to Salon owners and managers out there – There is a HUGE market that wants  to spend their money that you are neglecting – MEN.

Grow up a little, stop giggling at a man when he asks what the difference is between hairspray and setting spray, or gel and pomade.Yeah, I said it. Ladies – come on – you know how insulting it is, the way we are talked to when we go to get our car repaired. If you giggle at a man when he asks about hair product or you point out his receding hair line, you are doing the same thing that you hate being done to you.

Everyone deserves to like what they see in the mirror, men, women, gay or straight. No one deserves to have their insecurities belted out in a Salon. My goal is to make every customer and client feel beautiful and leave with a spring in their step. At our shop/salon we aim to bring out the beauty that is already there. As for the ugly remarks and attitudes…you can leave those at the door.