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Full Moon Monthly

For those of you familiar with my blog, you are well aware of my “Tales of Truth” series. As I was going through my archives I realized most of my Tales of Truth moments went hand in hand with the arrival of the full moon. So gather ’round ladies and gents, boys and girls and welcome to the first of many installments of Full Moon Monthly, brought to you by none other than That girl in the red coat. (as stated before…these are based on ACTUAL events. I have witnesses)

I hear the chirp of the shop’s door. I smile and greet the customer “Good Morning!”. She  looks around and says “Are you talking to me?”. I let her know, yes, I am talking to her. She stares. So I ask “Can I help you find something?”. “Yes, I am looking for a Shampoo that I can buy where I live, I don’t always want to drive into town.”. So I ask her where does she live and she tells me “I don’t tell people my personal information.”. …wait for it….there you go.

A woman came into the shop looking for the mousse her stylist just used. I asked her if she remembered the name of the product. She told me “No! Why would I remember the name of a product that I thought was horrible and smelled bad.”. So I asked her if she wanted me to show her some other mousses she may like and she said “No, I want the one my stylist used, if I go to her smelling like another product I might hurt her feelings.”.

There I was, innocently counting the nail polishes for an inventory count when a woman comes into the shop. “Hello” I say, to which she responds “I used to use these polishes until my niece quit beauty school and got ’em cheap for me. She is useless and spoiled rotten.”. …okay then. So I ask her “Can I help you find something?” to which she says “Yeah, tell me what will help me with my hair, since my husband left me 20 years ago and it gave me the cancer of the Uterus and the lying Doctor’s told me that my ovaries would keep the menopause away my hair just ain’t the same.”. As I went to show her some products she looked at me and said “I don’t have time for this, I gotta go catch the bus.Thanks for the lovely chat and I will be back!”. – cue Twilight Zone theme

From time to time, we are out of stock of a product, sometimes because of back orders, sometimes because the product is an awesome product and sells well. I know empty spots on the shelves are a no no, but they happen. I was told by a customer, three times in a row that it was pathetic that her product wasn’t there. (well, in the size of bottle she preferred). I explained about the back orders ( the distributor moved warehouses hence back orders for a few weeks). I offered to call her as soon as the product came in. She asked if I knew when the product would arrive. I explained that I didn’t know, that the warehouse would send them as soon as they get them, to which she again said “pathetic”. I told her I was just as frustrated as her, that I didn’t have the product for my clients and customers, but that it wasn’t pathetic.(I know – let sleeping dogs lie…I don’t always follow my own advice). As I rang through her purchase, I let her know our debit connection was slow, to which she smirked and said “I was going to say something but I won’t”. So, me being me, I asked her what it was she wanted to say. “I was going to say “you are used to waiting for things but that would be pathetic…or maybe you would be pathetic about it.”. Well played…gotta give her that…it’s all she’s got.

A customer asks “What shampoo smells the best?”. I let her know she is welcome to open up the bottles and smell them, because what I like she may not. “Pfft…you are a lazy sales person aren’t ya?”. Okay…here we go. I smile, tell her to follow me and show her our best seller, open up the lid and she smells it and exclaims “Why did you show me that?!? It stinks. Show me something I will like the smell of.”. As politely as possible I explained I don’t have the same sense of smell as her and maybe it would be best if she took a moment to smell some of the shampoo’s. She looks at me and says “Okay, why didn’t you say that it the first place?”. …sigh.

“Have you found Jesus?” – something I am asked quite often. One of these believers in urgent need of saving my soul left me a coin with a “version” of the Ten Commandments on it. The coin worried me a little…it was silver. I think she had five more.   ….wait for it….there you go.

A woman comes in the store, sees me and says “HEY! Haven’t seen you in forever!”. I look at her and don’t recognize her. “I’m sorry, have we met?” I say. “Come on! You know me! Come on! Come on! Come On! You remember!”. I stand there, cannot place her face for the life of me. “Come on! You know me! I know you Susie!”. I let her know I am Sara. “Well you look like Susie! Come on! You know you do!”.

I am starting to think that people are coming into the shop in hope that I will write about them.  For the love of god, I hope so.

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Hospital gowns and customer service

Today’s tale is about customer service. It is also about taking a moment and paying attention. It is about being kind. Life is hard enough, why add more road blocks?

Picture this…You are at the hospital. You are waiting to have a routine upper G.I. procedure. A nurse and a nursing student come to get you to get your I.V. started to prep you for the procedure. You are fine with a student being present (would have been nice if you were asked if you were comfortable with it).You are a little nervous since the last time you were at the hospital you had a heart attack and the pain you have been having for the last 9 months feels just like your heart attack did. The nurse looks at your hand and tells you your veins are horrible ( uh…yeah…you have been fasting over 12 hours), then puts the I.V. in (first try…bad veins…uh huh) and blood goes everywhere. She begins to ridicule you “why didn’t you tell me about your heart meds?” (all the info. was on the chart she initialed right before she began your  I.V.), then proceeds to ask if you took all your heart meds that day and you tell her no and she asks you why with a tone courtesy of Nurse Ratched and you find yourself looking for Jack Nicholson. You politely point out that on the form she just initialed that you take two doses a day of certain medications, one in the evening, one in the morning. She asks if you had a stent put in. You tell her no. She doesn’t believe you, because everyone gets a stent. (unless the artery was too small to fit a stent – hence the cause of the heart attack). Then she looks at your hand as she is wiping away the blood and see’s a mole that you have had all your life. “You better get that looked at…doesn’t look good…”. Then you are told you can go back to your seat and wait. So, you began your day thinking you just have a little tummy trouble or acid reflux and now you think you are stupid, have terrible circulation and bad veins and probably have skin cancer. The patient was my husband and Florence Nightinggale just turned over in her grave.

Yes, my husband was a patient, not a customer, but the lack of service he received was embarrassing. If I acted that way with my customers or the Salon’s clients, I would be out of a job. We are given two ears and one mouth for a reason – to listen twice as much as we speak.

When I have a customer come into the shop with a questionable scalp condition, I don’t look at them and say “Your scalp is horrible. Looks cancerous. Better get that checked!”, or run and get my stylists to come out and gawk. Wanna know why? One – that’s rude. Two – I am not a skin specialist. Trust me, be it a health issue or a scalp condition, people know what they are going through, they know what they have, they do not need to have it pointed out to them or shoved down their throat. What I do is this;

– I ask if they mind if I ask a few personal questions

– if the answer is no – I ask about the products they are currently using, if this happens only when the seasons change, if they are on any medications ( some medications affect hair/skin/nails), or if this is something they have always dealt with.

– if I need to get one of my stylists to take a look, I ask their permission first.

– I never blame them. I never make them feel like I don’t believe a word they are saying. Sometimes you don’t get the right answer because you didn’t ask the right question.

– I sell them the product that may help with the issue. The Nioxin line has helped many people with mild scalp irritations, Joico’s Daily Care Treatment Shampoo is quite nice, and Smart Solutions Problem Hair and Scalp Shampoo is terrific. I tell them to give it a week or two, explain how to use the product, and tell them if it doesn’t seem to helping, maybe give the Doc. a call.

If you are a Stylist, Doctor, Nurse, Teacher be kind. Pay attention. If you make a mistake, admit it, apologize. Read something wrong? Don’t blame the other person, admit it, apologize. Don’t know about something? Don’t belittle the other person and treat them like they are the stupid one, admit that you don’t know and get yourself informed. (pssst…there are these things that are big and rectangular in shape called encyclopedia’s and dictionary’s – or Google for our techies).

Be kind. Treat others as you want to be treated. Plain and simple.

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Sunday Confession

Today’s tale is for the young ladies and the mother’s out there. Today’s tale is also a personal one. It is a confession of sorts. I am not in a church, I am not catholic, not a priest’s profile through a screen to be seen (I think it’s a screen, like I said, I am not catholic.).

As you know, I am  a manager of a Salon/Retail shop. Want to know something funny about that? For most of my life I thought I was ugly. Yep, my career and passion is in the beauty biz and I used to be the girl who thought I was too ugly to get my picture taken, thought I was too ugly to go to my neighborhood’s block party when I was 14, I thought I was too fat to go to the clubs with my girlfriends – something only I knew. I did everything in my power to hide this fact from everyone. I look back at the pictures I allowed myself to be in and I want to give myself a shake. I was pretty. I was not fat. I actually had a nice ass, not a fat ass like a lovely girl pointed out in grade 10.

Everyday, yes, I am sad to say, I hear young girls say the most horrible things about themselves, or worse, I hear the mother of the young girl say horrible things about her daughter, in front of her daughter.  I am not an expert by any means, I am a woman who wasted many years and missed out on many things all over my lack of self esteem and because I listened to the wrong people and didn’t listen to myself. I wanted to share this tale in hope that a  young girl will read it and realize how awesome she really is. I am a mother of a 16 year old daughter and I hear and see what she goes through, and what her lovely friends go through, so, being me I have compiled a list, a go to list if you will, for those days that are just too much.

– when you get a pixie cut, some people are going to tell you that you look like a boy. You don’t. You look awesome, they just don’t have the guts to be themselves and try something new.

– your oily scalp will go away. It’s hormonal. To help get through this unfortunate phase, a dry shampoo like Joico’s Instant Refresh, Quantum’s Refresher or KMS HAIR PLAY Make Over Spray is an awesome tool to have on hand. Just spray it on your scalp, rub it in and VOILA! Not a oily strand to be seen.

– people who tell you that you are fat are just being assholes. Plain and simple.

– if you are 15 or 40, I am sorry to say, there will always be someone out there that will say something nasty, especially when you are happy. It’s not personal, you just happened to be the nearest target for them to spew their venom at. Trust me, they would yell at Jesus Christ  himself that he wasn’t making the water into wine fast enough.

– if you want to try being a blonde for a while, go for it – AT THE SALON. Do not attempt to do this on your own – it is not nice and easy. It’s not.

– before you judge your mother too harshly, take a look at her relationship with her mother. Sometimes mother’s just don’t know any better. You can’t change it, you can only change how you decide to let it affect you.

– your mom was just as insecure as you are right now. She may still be as insecure as you. To all the mother’s out there, the jig is up. We can’t guide our daughter’s if we are lost ourselves.

– when a friend is being nasty, take a breath and think, will this person be in my life 6 months from now? If the answer is yes, be patient and try to find out what the problem is. If the answer is no, Adios amigo.

– if you are dating a boy who says nasty things to you – DUMP HIM! You can’t fix him.

– your BFF is wonderful, she is also the same age as you, so she can’t help you as much as a counselor or a doctor if you are dealing with an abusive situation at home or have questions about sex. *by the way – jumping up and down after sex will not keep you from getting pregnant. – Yep…2013 and people are still saying that.

– everyone feels the same way you do. EVERYONE. From the head cheerleader to the tuba player in the school band. Some of them just hide it better.

– although it may feel like it, not everyone is looking at you. Sorry to break the news to you, sometimes it isn’t all about you. I know right?! This revelation was a shocker for me too.

– when someone has hurt your feelings, try not to let it control your life. More times than not, they don’t even realize nor care that your feelings are hurt. They are going on with their day without giving you or their words a second thought. Don’t let them live rent free in your head.

It is okay to be yourself. It may get a little scary. You may find certain people distancing themselves from you, and that is okay. They are making room for all the awesome people trying to get into your life, to raise you up, help you see your beauty, to help you be yourself, to help you be happy.

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Was it good for you?

“So…is this product good?”. A question I hear at least ten times a day. All professional salon products are “good”. Are they all good for your hair? Now that is the question.

I am a firm believer in the client/customer consultation. Not only while you are sitting in a stylist’s chair but on the salon/retail sales floor. Most people who venture into a Salon for hair product either have no idea what they are looking for or have been given the wrong information about the product that they think they want for their hair. Maybe their best friend loves it, or they read about it on the internet or saw it on You Tube. This is why a consultation is needed, asking your client/customer the right questions to be sure they are getting the right product and will continue to love their hair or if you are lucky…to help them begin to love their hair. (The best feeling…watching someone’s eyes come to life as they picture having great hair.).

The major reason most people think a certain hair product is “crap” (their term…not mine) is because they are not applying it properly or because it is the exact opposite of what they want.

– A woman tells me Joico Erractic Clay is horrible and doesn’t smooth her hair at all. This woman has a shoulder length bob. Joico Erractic is an AWESOME Molding clay, meant for texture and spiky, fun looks. You see her friend raved about it so that is why she bought it. When I asked what her friend’s hair was like I found out her friend had short spiky hair. Once I explained why her friend may have liked Erractic so much, I showed her the Joico Kpak Smoothing Balm. It is meant to be put on damp hair before blow drying to smooth the hair and it is humidity resistant so it helps to combat frizz. I explained what humidity resistant meant (seals hair cuticle shut) and why it is important to look for that when wanting to achieve smooth frizz free styles. Now she knows Joico is a great product line with something for everyone.

– A woman tells me that the OSIS hairspray doesn’t hold at all and she hates it. So I ask her which hairspray she is using. (OSIS has 3 aerosol hairsprays).  It turns out she was told by her stylist to use OSIS Elastic which is a soft hold hairspray. This woman wanted a firm yet workable hold. I told her she needed the OSIS Session hairspray – awesome control and she would be able to brush her hair afterwards. She came back the next week and bought some for her mother.

– A mother and daughter come into the shop. The mother is at her wits end because her daughter’s hair is fried. I mean fried. So I ask what has she been using on her hair. I am told “only professional products”. I ask if she uses a flat iron and am told she does, everyday. I ask what, if any product does she use on her hair before she uses the flat iron. I am told she uses an oil. BINGO! I have their answer. Someone, somewhere started to tell people to use an oil on their hair before they flat iron. This is a MAJOR NO NO. Most oils do not have any thermal protectants so in essence, when using an oil on dry hair before you flat iron, you are cooking that oil into your hair. The result – fried, singed hair. Always use a flat iron spray, or at least read the bottle and make sure it states to use the product with thermal appliances or that the product is a thermal protector.

What I am getting at is this, we need to pay attention to our clients/customer needs – this is for stylists, owners, reps and sales people alike – we need to ask them questions. We need to find out what their needs are and what their goals are, what they imagine for themselves, how they picture their hair and their style. We need to be up to date on our product knowledge. Product knowledge classes are free. Pick up a bottle and read the label for goodness sake’s. Remember that thing that you used to see at a store…someone actually helping their customer…it’s time to bring the past to the present.

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Raising the bar?

When I was a child, I was the kid who would fight the bully. Not for myself, for my friend, or for the kid being punched, kicked, tripped, be given a wedgie or shoved into a locker. Boy or girl, if you were the bully, sooner or later, we would go toe to toe. Whenever I saw someone being bullied I would get fired up and want to stop it.

Everyday, I am sad to say, I see at least one woman being ugly. Ugly to herself, her child, her stylist or to me. Gossiping about the woman who just left, pointing at her daughter’s oily scalp, teasing her 15 year old son that he must be a girl under all that muscle because he likes his favorite hair gel, or pointing at my (faded) thyroidectomy scar and saying “don’t you want to cover that with a necklace or something?”. It’s time like these that, for a split second, in my minds eye, I am back in the school yard and am about to go toe to toe with the bully.

A few days ago, I read something I found to be pretty ugly.(I try to stay off of the soapbox but couldn’t shake this one.). A well known website with a huge following, aimed at women, empowering women and giving them a voice and a forum, tweeted how they were “going to ask someone to work with them, until they read their Twitter stream.”. You see, they didn’t agree with the opinions/expletives expressed on this person’s Twitter stream. Before you get all “freedom of speech” and “everyone is entitled to their opinion”, calm the hell down and let me explain. For a site that stands for empowering women – how is gossiping empowering? Yes, gossiping. Yeah, I said it.

Think about it, how is tweeting “was gonna choose someone until I read their twitter stream” any different than telling everyone but your stylist that you hate your new color? There is no difference. If you have a problem/issue with someone, speak to them directly. I would not have agreed, but I could have respected them if they had named said “offender”. How many women read that tweet and began to doubt themselves? How many women read that tweet and thought they needed to edit themselves to be accepted into the inner circle of this website that is for women and mothers? How the hell is that empowering? As women, we need to raise each other up, not push each other down. Generations of women fought for our equality, fought for us to have a voice, fought for us to have more options than housewife or secretary, fought for equality in the workplace, fought against the stigma that all women do is gossip and pick apart other women. Heading a company/website/twitter feed that is aimed at empowering women, you need to show some professionalism, and the above was anything but. If the aim was to help women watch what they tweet about and how they handle their twitter feed, they missed the mark. All it did was remind us of the high school cafeteria, being asked to sit at the cool kids table, only to have someone pull the chair out from under us.

I am 100% for free speech. I believe everyone is entitled to an opinion. I am a firm believer in being yourself, saying what you want and allowing others to say what they want. I do not think I need to agree with everyone nor like everyone, nor do they have to agree with me or like me. What I am for is kindness. Plain and simple.