Wednesday, October 28, 2009

English Professors at the Hair Salon

I missed my chance to get a haircut on base today so I went to a legitimate hair salon at the mall for a trim. I usually avoid these places because I get a typical military clipper cut and don't need to hang with stylists and pay their prices but I was due and out of time so I went. I was reminded why I usually don't.

Background info: They are running a promotion where if you spend $x.xx, you get a crappy little water bottle. But it's free so the customers want it. While I'm in the chair, a woman pays the required $25 on hair care products to get her water bottle when a dispute amongst the rocket scientists of style ensues. Is it A $25 product or a combination of products that add up to $25? Well the sign reads, "Receive a water bottle with a $25 product purchase." I'm in the chair mid-way through a haircut (the only thing that prevented me from walking out) while they argue and proceed to call the store manager at home to find out the appropriate rules of engagement for giving away a fifty-cent water bottle.

The discrepancy revolved around 2 key factors:
1) it said "product" instead of "products" so that MUST mean the customer had to reach $25 on a single product
2) there aren't any individual products worth $25

Should have been an open and shut case that a total of $25 would work since you cannot spend $25 on one item, right? I should be so lucky. That conspicuously missing "S" was the fly in the proverbial ointment.

It never occurred to any of them that it could have been a typo (which it wasn't). I sat fuming, quietly in my chair, knowing Linda was a few feet behind me waiting to hear me explode at any moment.

Think about it... it's not product vs. products as far as how many items you need to buy. It was a $25 product purchase vs a $25 service purchase. And there's the rub... every single service provider in the place got involved in this, having to stop providing their respective service just to argue and forget this little caveat in the English language.

"There's no S. It means a single product"
"We don't have any products that are that price so it's a total."

I'm just seconds away from saying:
"Has the hair dye fried your already overburdened brains? It's a product purchase not a service purchase. It doesn't matter how many products they buy as long as their money is spent on products. A $25 haircut and/or dye job doesn't count. Did you forget you're here to provide a service as well? Clearly because only half my head has been shaved. Cut my hair and give this poor woman a lousy water bottle so I can get the hell out of here."

It wasn't their thirst for knowledge, debate and good customer service that annoyed me. It was the ebonically-charged adamant positions on which they all stood as if they were all grammatically infallible."

That was the first poor retail-service decision of the evening. The next to follow soon.

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