0

Painting a masterpiece

I have to do something I do not like to do. I have to sound like a mother. Yes, I know I am a mother, that doesn’t mean I like to sound like one. Today’s tale is more of a lesson, maybe a lesson you learned but have forgotten…I can only hope. Today’s lesson is this…when someone is speaking to you, listen to them. Shut your mouth and open your ears. You will get your turn to talk and believe it or not, what the other person is saying is just as important as all the little words aching to escape from your mouth.

Every day, and yes, I mean EVERYDAY, someone asks me a question about hair products and before I can finish a response, I am spoken over or get the all time no eye contact crossed arm toe tappin’ favorite “mm hmm” or “uh huh”. First of all, don’t do that, you look like an ass – may I remind you – you asked me a question. If you didn’t want me to speak to you maybe you shouldn’t have asked me a question. Second, just because some chick on YouTube said it was the “best product EVER!” doesn’t mean it is the best product EVER! for your hair. Third, do not select the words you like best that I have said and make up a whole new sentence – the telephone game has had it’s day and that day was in the third grade…last week if you are one of the ponytail yoga pant wearing women who’s turf is the school parking lot/drop off zone.

I understand that there is a lack of customer service out there and that we have all been led down the garden path a time or two, myself included…making your own candy molds kit – enough said. You need to remember something. There are those of us in the beauty biz that are professionals, that educate themselves on a daily basis, that have a passion for what we do, that will tell you the truth about products – not our truth – the truth – the facts that we have learned from our product knowledge classes and the answers we have been given. I can only speak for myself – by the end of every product knowledge class I have attended, the educator is exhausted by my questions. I ask what I know my customers/clients will want to know. If I am asking you to spend $15.00 on hairspray, I know that I better damn well know why. Trust me, I am far from perfect and make mistakes all the time. I also own up to my mistakes, say “I don’t know” when I don’t know and then find out as soon as I can. So, me being me, here is a little list for you. It can be used at your next Salon visit, dentist visit, even with your next coffee date with your bff.

– If you don’t want someone to speak to you, it is a good idea not to strike up a conversation. This tends to make the other person think you want to have a conversation.

– After you have asked someone a question, let them finish their answer – until their mouth stops moving yours should not.

– A conversation is not a game of beat the clock. If you can get your next question out before the other person has finished their answer, there isn’t a prize waiting for you behind door #1.

– If you don’t understand what the other person is talking about, tell them, nicely. “I’m sorry, I don’t follow what you are saying” is always better than “what the hell are you talking about asshole”.

– If you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know. Never pretend you know something you don’t. You will be found out and any respect you may have had will disappear.

– Listen. I don’t mean acknowledge that the other person is speaking. I mean listen to them. Don’t just nod your head silently repeating to yourself the next sentence you are going to say. Hey – you want attention. So do they.

– When someone tells you an answer other than the one you have, don’t assume they are lying. Maybe they have the proper facts and you do not – remember – just because someone is a Doctor doesn’t mean they graduated top of the class.

– As Muhammad Ali said “If you can back it up it ain’t braggin'”. If you can’t back it up – stop braggin’ and check your facts.

So there you have it. Listen. Pay attention. Be patient. Do not assume you know best and everyone else doesn’t know what they are talking about. It is best not to paint everyone with the same brush, if you aren’t careful, you will become a part of your own masterpiece.

 

0

Mum’s the word

So here we are, on the eve of Christmas eve. As I sit here, I am seeing the twinkle of the lights on the Christmas tree, listening to my girl Adele and smelling the yummy dinner my lovely hubby is preparing for me and our girl who makes us three. Yesterday was Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas and tomorrow is Christmas eve and I was and will be at the shop. Today was truly a day of rest for me. I know…you are thinking “yeah…so what…get on with it.”. Keep your hair on, I’m getting to the tale of the day.

I came to realize something today. You all have heard of my dear ‘ol Dad and my beloved grandmother Leah. I realized today, as she was picking up my girl to take her Christmas shopping for a gift for me, I have yet to tell you of my mother. When I think of my mother, I remember the smell of her perfume as she and my dad were heading out for a night on the town. I remember her heels all lined up in the closet and aching to wear them. (As I have stated before, our clan is vertically challenged, heels are a must…it’s the only way we can reach the first shelf).I remember her putting my hair in rollers and when I looked in the full length closet mirror door after she had taken the rollers out, I thought I looked like Farrah Fawcett and felt pretty.  I also remember her kindness, towards me and my kin and also to others. We moved around a lot when I was younger and I was always the new kid, and let me tell you how much fun that was. Looking back I now realize how much my mother tried to make it easier for me. An extra cookie made it’s way into my lunch when I was the new kid in class, so I could offer it to a potential new friend. She would buy me something from the trendiest store so when I walked into the new school I wouldn’t stand out as much – didn’t last long though…once I opened my mouth, I stood out…that and my larger than life earrings and my “True Blue Madonna” coiffure.

As you know, my Dad was in the hospital. While visiting one evening, I was fortunate to witness another kindness bestowed on another by my mother. An elderly gentleman was one of my Dad’s roomies and he had a friend visiting. He was not able to walk or get up on his own so he had to use a bedpan. My mother had noticed that he and his friend had been holding hands earlier, so she went to the bathroom, got a washcloth with some soap and a towel and gave it to the gentleman so he could wash and dry his hands, so he and his friend could once again hold hands.

As you know, I believe beauty comes in many forms. It can come in the form of foundation and eyeliner, mousse and hairspray, paintings and verse. It also comes in the form of kindness, of consideration, of paying attention to the needs of others. My mother has taught me many things, from how to measure a level teaspoon to threading a sewing machine, how to blot my lipstick and how to draw in three dimensions. She has also taught me to pay attention, be kind, make memories not regrets. Thanks for the memories Mum.

0

Tales of truth – The Christmas Chronicles – Part 2

Today is the 20th. of December. Depending on what you choose to believe, there is one day left until the end of the world or four days left to find that perfect gift. Maybe the threat of impending doom is the reason for the idiotic behavior being displayed on a daily basis…or maybe it is the worry of the turkey being too dry. Me, I gotta go with common sense ain’t that common. I am sorry to say, the following tales are real and people like this actually exist.

– “Why can’t I return this nail polish? I only used it once and I don’t like it!”. – the woman had bleeding cuticles and something that I can only hope was an ink stain on her thumb nail

– As I was ringing through my customer’s purchase and we were waiting on her debit approval she asked me if I was ready for Christmas. I told her yes to which she snapped “Must be nice. Who has time for that?!”. – guess who’s getting coal this year?

– At least ten times a day I have a customer complain that our debit machine is too slow, then once the transaction is approved they stand at the counter for another 10 minutes explaining how infuriating it is to have to wait on a “dial up” connection.

– “Why does my hairspray can feel cold when I take it out of my trunk?” – pssst….we live in Canada and it is DECEMBER.

– “I don’t read receipts or signs!” – a customers response when I told her our return policy is on every receipt and on the sign at our register…I guess hooked on phonics didn’t work for her… couldn’t help but wonder how she finds her exit on the highway.

– A woman calls the shop and asks me if her hair is too short for a weave. I tell her I need her to come by the shop so that I can see the length of her hair to which she said “I can’t get there today, so how about I describe it to you.”….sigh.

– I wished a customer a “Merry Christmas” to which I was corrected, “It’s Happy Holidays. You are being politically incorrect.”. – this coming from a woman who 5 minutes earlier complained quite loudly about “those natives always getting no tax.”. – no amount of hairspray or rouge can make ignorance pretty.

– I heard a woman tell her child to “shut up with all the damn Christmas songs already!”. When the mom was looking for her hairspray I gave the little boy a Hersey’s kiss and told him he sang beautifully. – goes to show, giving birth isn’t the only thing that makes you a mother.

– I had an elderly woman buying a gift for her granddaughter and she was trying to count out the proper change. There was a line up and the ladies behind her started to sigh and huff and puff, loud enough for her to hear. She told me her sight wasn’t the best and apologized for holding up the line to which I responded “Don’t you worry. We all need a moment to take a breath or two”, then came out from behind the counter, gave a little glare to the huffypuffy’s and helped her find the correct coins. – those other ladies aren’t on the naughty list – they are on the nasty list.

 

Feel free to share these tales with your friends, family and co workers. If you see yourself  mirrored in any of the above tales, forgive yourself and move on. Lets make common sense a little more common.

 

 

 

 

1

That will leave a mark

Today’s tale will be short but sweet…like me. It has been over a week since my last tale and I do apologize for that. Life kind of got in the way this week and tonight I was reminded of something by none other than my dear ol’ Dad. I was reminded that I should be proud of my accomplishments as he is proud of them. The “life ” that got in the way this week was my Dad has been in the hospital. It doesn’t matter why, all that matters is that he is on the mend. While visiting him this evening he was telling me how he was telling his roomies about my blog and twittering and how much I had accomplished in so little time, which in turn got one of the gentlemen to decide to take his business into the social media world.

Everything we do or say, negative or positive makes an impact, it leaves a mark. My father always makes everyone he speaks with the center of attention, helps them see things in a different light, helps them to see something from a different angle, helps them to change a negative to a positive. He makes an impact. He leaves a mark. Tomorrow, when you greet your family as they wake, when you order your coffee, when you are buying your hairspray or getting your hair done, think about your impact and the mark you want to leave.

4

Tales of Truth – The Christmas Chronicles

When my daughter was younger…(I say when she was younger – not little – little makes her sound like she was a Polly Pocket. Also, my family is vertically challenged so “little” has a wee bit of a sting), one of the Christmas songs she would sing (a lot) was “Santa Claus is Comin’ to town”. As you know, I manage a retail shop/Salon and it is the Christmas season. It seems many people have forgotten that “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.”.

– The phone rings. “Good After…” is all I got out. “Yeah Hi, where the hell is your store?” is what I hear. I give the shops location and am blessed with the response “Why couldn’t I find it in the phone book?!” and then they hung up….fa la la la la, la, la, la, la.

– We have a Christmas tree up in our Salon. It is a nice tree. At least once a day I am asked “Why do you have a tree up in the Salon” as Christmas music is playing in the background.

– A woman came in with jet black hair that she had colored at home with a box dye from the drug store. She had decided she wanted to go blonde, by herself, at home. I told her that wasn’t the best of ideas and told her the complications that may and will arise. She stared at me, flipped what was left of her hair, smacked her gum and said “It’s Christmas and this is what I want. I want to be blonde so let me buy my stuff and keep your opinions to yourself…ok?!?!”. …if she makes it to blonde it truly is a Christmas miracle.

– “You are a liar!” – what is said to me when I tell someone an item is on back order and I don’t know when it is arriving. – People, please, for the last time, I don’t work in the warehouse and am not in charge of  shipping and receiving…and seriously…I am not going to lie about a product being on back order…about your choice of hair color…maybe.

– “Can you give me the model numbers of all the flat irons you sell so I can look up their reviews on line?” – a call I get at least once a week. I sell 15 different models.

– “Will my husband like the smell of Joico shampoo more than Sebastian shampoo?”. When I answer that I don’t know I am always asked “why?”…this is why my jaw line is so firm…forcing back laughter all day keeps the jaw line nice and firm.

– A grown woman pouted and exclaimed “Come on!!! Life is so unfair! Nothing is going my way!”. Her cries of desperation were not because of a job loss or a sick loved one…her hairspray wasn’t available in a travel size and she was leaving for Europe for 3 weeks…the horror.

– “I bought this foot file and I don’t like the way it felt on my feet, I want to return it.”. The answer is no…and eewww.

– At our shop we always hold a monthly draw for a gift of free product. This month we are offering weekly draws along with our monthly draw. I am asked at least 10 times a day “What is the difference between the monthly draw and the weekly draw?”…Santa and the Baby Jesus have their work cut out for them this year.

– “Why do all the holiday packs have pictures of decorations on them?”…I really wish I was makin’ this up…I really do.

– “What does the Peppermint hand lotion smell like?”…oh how I wish I could say “Lemons”.

– “What do you mean I can’t return this comb? I only used it twice?!? I think you and your policy are stupid!!!” – after I explained I cannot re sell a USED comb

Today is Saturday on my side of the world. Saturdays and Christmas shoppers aren’t always the best of blends. Be kind out there. Be patient. I would tell you to think before you speak but I have to admit…some of the stuff we hear helps us make it through the day. Oh yes…although my first “flat iron being thrown at my head” incident was at Christmas time many years ago, it isn’t festive nor is it a tradition I wish to carry forth. So please, do not throw the flat iron.

4

It’s time to paint your own picture

So the Christmas season is upon us. I think Mother Nature has been hitting the holiday cheer a little early this year because we are not experiencing the typical December weather we are used to in my neck of the woods. School mornings aren’t filled with “Put on your toque!” ( hat for the non-Canadians) followed with the all too familiar “BUT MOM!!! It’s gonna ruin my hair!”. Not an “appropriate” footwear argument to be heard or a pout or tantrum over ugly winter boots to be had. There may be peace and happiness in the  morning at households of school aged children everywhere, but it doesn’t seem to last. “It doesn’t feel like Christmas” is what I hear all day at the shop. After hearing it for the tenth time before 10 a.m. (we open at 9:30 a.m.), I found myself thinking about what I think Christmas is, and what I used to think Christmas was and how hard we as women are on ourselves and our image. (Hey, it’s Monday and I had 4 cups of coffee and have a teenage daughter – enough said).

When I was a child I firmly believed in Santa and the Baby Jesus. I thought they were related. I couldn’t wait to see Santa, that was until I got within 5 feet of the man and thought I was going to pee my pants because I swore he could read my mind and knew it was me who had cut my sister’s Barbie’s hair and had kicked many boys “where it counts” when they made fun of me…and he would tell the Baby Jesus. Fast forward to my twenties/early thirties. I was married when I was 22 and yes we are still together and we still love and like each other. I, as many women went through the “Norman Rockwell painting” phase. Oh come on…you know you did, hell, you may still be going through it – my condolences. The “Norman Rockwell painting” phase or NRP as I like to call it is when one puts so much pressure on one’s self to look perfect and act perfect that one does not enjoy anything and finds no beauty…anywhere. Not in their decorations, baking, family or their own reflection. I thankfully snapped out of that.  As I type, I have a tree up in my living room with lights on it and that’s about it. Why? My daughter wants to help decorate it but she has too much homework so we will do it later some time this week…and guess what?!? The moon didn’t turn black and the earth didn’t open up and swallow us whole.  Take that NRP. Now Christmas is whatever it may be. Last year it was beer and quesadillas. This year, I have no idea yet and it is glorious.

In the last week I have seen women fret and panic because the red polish they needed for an exact match to their holiday sweater set was on back order. I  heard a woman call herself an idiot because she forgot her list. I have heard women say they were too old for a new cut. I have seen a woman’s lip quiver over deciding which flat iron to get. All of them had themselves on such a tight schedule, everything had to be perfectly timed – a timer should be used for baking cookies – not for your daily life. They were all trying to make it perfect. Ladies, it is time to ease up on ourselves, it’s never gonna be perfect. Souffles will fall, cookies will burn, nail polish will chip (if you use OPI ChipSkip it won’t but that is another tale for another time).

There may not be snow, there may be stress in your life, the nail polish may be on back order but it can still feel like Christmas. Play a game with your child, laugh at their jokes even if it is the 100th time you have heard it. Hold your husband’s hand and when you ask how his day was, mean it. Smile as you pass people on the street. Give to a local charity. Donate to a toy drive. Sing a carol in your car. Text a friend to tell them they are wonderful. Talk to your parents – in their living room or at their grave – they will listen to you either way. Next thing you know…it may begin to feel like Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

0

True Colors

As it seems to happen, the tale I was going to tell you has changed. I was going to share a tale of product knowledge today but it seems that tale will have to wait for another day. As I was eating my Honey Nut Cheerio’s and warming up the ol’ laptop I turned on the T.V. and heard a familiar tune from my youth. The tune was “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper but it was not my beloved Ms. Lauper singing. It was Artists Against Bullying – A beautifully selected group of Canadian artists singing an anthem from my youth. While watching the video as they displayed lyrics, thoughts and truths on white sheets of paper ( an homage to Bob Dylan) I found myself catapulted back to 1986 for the briefest of moments and remembering how I would play and rewind that song on my cassette player over and over. No matter what the year, decade or century…we all have either been bullied or felt like we would never fit in.

I know, I can hear you all now, “What does this have to do with beauty?”. The answer is EVERYTHING. When I was 14 I cut off all my hair. I loved it. It was funky. It was fun and it showed off my collection of earrings – from gold hoops to huge plastic numbers…hey, it was the 80’s. The first day I showed up at school with my new do I was welcomed with “wow…you look like a boy!”, “Why did you do that? Guys like long hair.” and my all time favorite “oh…So you are into chicks.”…and no one did anything. No one said anything to defend me. I couldn’t eat my lunch that day because I was using every ounce of my energy to keep my chin up and the tears in. (It was a good lunch, my mom had given me a chocolate bar.).  I didn’t take the bus home that day. I was terrified of what I would hear. I walked home by myself, feeling stupid, ugly and fat – because for some unknown reason all 14 year old girls add “fat” to there list of woes on a bad day. When I reached home I went to my room and sat on the floor wondering how much wigs cost and where to buy one. I started going through my tapes and records (to this day music is what eases my mind and my soul) and came across Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors. I didn’t listen to it right away. I just sat there staring at her. Her hair, her make up, her clothes. Then I grabbed her “She’s so unusual” album and stared at her some more. I sat there listening to her songs and staring at her hair and slowly felt a wee bit better. If she was okay being unusual, then I could be okay being unusual too.

The point to today’s tale is this. You can be yourself. People may not like it – let that be their problem. I have found that those who don’t support me are those who wish they could do their own thing but are too scared to even fathom the idea. For the parents out there – be kind to your children. Let them try new things with their hair and if they are made fun of because of their new mohawk, do not say “I told you so”. Tell them they look great and hug them. Ladies – when your gent is losing his hair…stop reminding him. Gents – when your lady tries a new cut and color…tell her she is beautiful. Everyone – when you see someone being mistreated, stand up for them.

“Never, never be afraid to do what is right, especially if the well-being of a person or an animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.