Beauty, Business, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Tales of Truth – The Holiday Editions

The retail Holiday season has officially begun. Tree’s are trimmed. Shelves are stocked. The all important Holiday hair appointment’s have been booked and confirmed. Holiday parties have been planned. Christmas carols are playing on every radio station (trust me, I checked). In my corner of the globe, even Mother Nature has joined in, and the snow has begun to fall. This year marks my 25th Holiday season in the retail/sales/customer service gig. Call it nostalgia, call it the Christmas Spirit, over the past couple of weeks, every so often, I found myself getting hopeful, even excited for the coming retail Holiday season. I found myself daydreaming  of the customers and I breaking out into joyous song and the Osmond’s entering stage right like in those variety shows in the 70’s. ….but as I know, and for those of you familiar with my Tales of Truth now know, it’s safe to say that the only thing entering stage right is a flying flat iron. …and that I should limit myself to only one Vodka & Tonic a night.

 

To be clear, I still love Christmas. I love the sights and sounds, decorating my tree and the memories each ornament stirs up. I love making my famous Sugar Cookies and delivering them to my friends and loved ones. The following events, and the events to come – of this I am sure, will not taint my Christmas Spirit….and a little help from my Smirnoff Santa. So, without further adieu, gather ’round Ladies and Gents, boys and girls. It’s time for That Girl in the Red Coat’s Tales of Truth!

  • The phone rings. As I answer with my standard greeting I am interrupted by “YEAH! Whatever! Do you have my hairspray in yet?”. I ask which hairspray it was she was looking for to which I was told “Well, you’re no help at all!” and she hung up.
  • A woman came into the shop looking to purchase Joico VeroColor hair color. I let her know that it is not retailed or sold to the public. It is a hair color line that has to purchased by a licensed stylist at the wholesaler. “Well, my old hairdresser would get it for me and I need some more!”. I explained that I could not purchase it for her nor could I sell it to her for the exact reason mentioned above. She asked to speak to a manager and I let her know, “That’s me!”. She stared at me for a minute and on her way out of the shop she told me “If you were any good at your job, you would break a rule now and then!”. …sigh
  • We have monthly draws every month. As a woman was filling out her ballot, she quipped “You never pick me!”. I giggled and said, “I try to.”. She put the pen down like a judge ruling with his gavel, sighed at me and said “this isn’t funny. I am not impressed that you haven’t chosen my name, after all this time!”. I apologized and told her I would try harder. She said “You better!”, grabbed her Shaper Plus and stomped out the door. …I gotta get a camera to prove this really happens
  • It took me 10 minutes to explain to a customer that Shampoo for curly hair will not make their straight hair curly. “but the bottle says curl enhancing, so it will give me curls, right?”. I explained that it meant if you already have curls that it will help to enhance them and give someone with curly hair more control of their curls. She stared at me for a minute, kept hold of the bottle, pouted and said “Well, I think it’s unfair that they false advertise.”.
  • A woman was looking for a certain shade of OPI nail polish. I let her know it was a discontinued shade. As she laughed, I was told that “there is no way YOU could know that!”. I brought out my latest OPI product listing, walked over to her and told her “Lets look at this together and maybe you can find a shade similar to the one you were looking for.” to which she informed me “How am I supposed to know the color I want, I just heard the name of the polish and thought it was fun. Who knows what color it is?!? Do you?!”.  ….it took everything in me not to say “there is no way I could know that!”.
  • One of the fantastic questions posed to me “Will this wax not rip off my skin, you know, around where my underwear is, like between my thighs?” – enough said.
That Girl in the Red Coat

That Girl in the Red Coat

 

 

Beauty, Business, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, Women

The Heart of the matter

For those of you who follow my blog, you are well aware that my hubby had a heart attack. The last thing any couple expects, especially at 39. I wanted to revisit my personal tale with you all one more time. We received some terrific news, from three separate M.D.’s, that my beloved is well on his way back to a normal life. The past 9 months have been the greatest of struggles for my beloved, for my family and for me. I won’t get too deep into the details because, not to get all Rhonda Byrne on you, I no longer wish to give the negative any more power.

Over the past months, I have had to cancel plans at the last minute. I have had to say “no” a lot, to a lot of people and occasions and I didn’t always give the real reason, the reason being that my husband didn’t feel well and was in pain. I didn’t always disclose the severity of it all to everyone because it was what was happening to him, I was not going to let it start to define him. There is more to my beloved than his health/heart issues and I was going to do all I could to protect that. I also stayed home because of my lovely daughter. It was bad enough she had to see the initial heart attack. I wasn’t about to leave her home alone with her Dad not feeling well and all that entailed.

The purpose of today’s tale you ask? The point is this – you never know what someone else is going through, so try not to take their actions or their behavior so personally. As I have had to realize in my 41 years, it’s not always about you. A lesson all of us in the beauty biz and retail biz should learn. Sure, there are those who are nasty for the sake of being nasty – those Nellie Oleson’s need our pity, not our anger. I am talking about;

– the woman who comes in looking for Sebastian Shaper Plus and when you tell her it is on order, she looks through you and scowls “what a waste of my time”. Instead of getting upset, I ask her if I can have her number so I can call her when it comes in and I can hold a can for her. In this case, she just looked at me, put her hands down on the counter and said “thank you, that would be so helpful.”. – you see, she was on her way to the funeral home. Her mother had just passed away, and she had buried her brother the month before.

– a woman complaining that all the mousses and root boosts are crap and don’t work in her hair. When I ask her what other products she uses and who colors her hair, I come to find out that she is on chemo and she didn’t like her hair color so she used a box dye and didn’t like that, so used another box dye the next day. I gave her some conditioning treatment samples and explained why it isn’t a good idea to color your hair twice in two days. After 15 minutes, she calmed down and thanked me, and apologized…and purchased some product.

So, the next time someone is being nasty, or plans get cancelled with a reason you feel is an excuse, or your client starts to lose it because her favorite hairspray is on back order, take a minute and try getting down to the heart of the matter. You never know, you may be the only glimpse of kindness that person has seen all day….if they come into the shop with a faulty flat iron in their hand – still be kind. Just be sure to duck.

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Tales of Truth – Part 8

Gather ’round ladies and gents, girls and boys, it is time for that girl in the red coat’s Tales of Truth. Just when I think I have seen and heard it all, I hear the chirp of the shop’s door chime and VOILA!, more tales to be told. As I have stated before, all these tales are true, they are based on actual events. The tales are not those of fiction, unfortunate, yet true.

(before I begin our first tale – let me give you a little background tale) In Canada, we are slowly getting rid of our beloved penny…not the Penny from The Big Bang Theory…the currency. We can still accept pennies as payment, we are no longer giving them back with change. Now on with the tale. As I was finishing ringing through a customer’s purchase of RUSK Wless hairspray, I told her the total was $19.85. She looked into her wallet then looked up at me with the most terrified look in her eyes. I asked her “Is everything alright?”, to which she responded with “No!”. I asked her what was the matter to which she responded “I don’t have a nickel. I only have 5 pennies!”. So, I said “Okay, that is fine.” to which she said “Are you sure you won’t get in trouble for taking pennies now that they are abolished?”. I took a breath, told myself not to show it on my face, and explained to her the new “rules” about pennies to which she sighed “thank you for telling me, I was so scared every time I opened my wallet!”. …thank god she never worked the underground railroad.

 

I hear the familiar chirp of the door chime and look up to see a woman, staring at me. “Hello! Do you need my help with something today?” I ask. “I have a question for you about hairspray.” she says, then stares at me again. Dear lord…here we go. “What is your question?” I ask. She shuffles closer to me, bows her head and in a whisper asks “Is it safe to use hairspray?”. So, I did what anyone would do in this scene, I whispered back “why wouldn’t it be safe?”. (during all of this, all I could picture was the Eiffel tower in the background, a couple of cigarettes and a black briefcase containing “zee meecrofilm”.). It seems her sister in law told her that all hairsprays will change your hair color and that is why her hair was looking “brassy”. I told her that it was safe to use hairspray, that it will not change her hair color and that her sister in law needs a new hobby other than surfing the net. She bought two cans of Sebastian Shaper Plus.

 

It was about 10 minutes to closing. It seems the most interesting events happen to me within the first 20 minutes of my day or the last 10 minutes of my day at the shop, and most of the time without a witness. (I really gotta get a camera). Back to the tale at hand. A woman comes up to the counter asking for an appointment for a hair cut. I explain the Salon was closed but would be open again the next day and there was an opening for a cut if she wanted to take that appointment and come back the next day. She said she had to think about it and left. Within seconds she was back, I assumed to take the appointment. NOPE! “Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart?” is what she came back for. Before I could say a thing… “If you haven’t…do you want to be saved?!?….Oh, I wanted to be saved alright.

“Is this hair color temporary?” (there is a lime green sign that says “temporary color”). “Yes, it is. It will wash out within two washes, with shampoo”, I answer, with a smile, to which she answered “Pfft…two washes…that ain’t temporary. I know temporary and that ain’t it.”. …yep…this is my life.

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

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.