Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Hair Horror Story

I have been in desperate need of a new haircut.  It's been all sister-wife, all the time around here.  And it was just not working for me.

But my hairdresser is in Vermont.  I've tried MANY salons locally.  Many.  And at best they have been OK and at worst they have been a royal disaster.  So normally I gladly drive the 75 minutes one way to get my hair done.

However I frequently decide at 4 PM that I want to get my hair cut the follow morning.  It takes me forever to decide what to do and then BAM...I want it done immediately.  So it really would be so helpful to have a local alternative for months when taking a full day off to get my hair done isn't realistic.

Enter Groupon.  I randomly bought a Groupon to a local salon.  I knew nothing about this place other than it was 10 minutes from my house and that sounded better than 75 minutes.  I figured that it couldn't be worse than any of the other local salon experiences I've had.

You can guess where this is going...right?

My very own Halloween nightmare in broad {rainy} daylight.

First things first.  Making the appointment.  The person on the other end was unfriendly and unprofessional.  I asked what was available in the coming week and was offered the following day.  She asked if I could come the following day and I said yes.

A pit was in my stomach after I hung up though.  Just making the appointment felt off.

I arrived five minutes early to a hole in the wall.  And I don't mean that in the good way you describe a hidden, beloved, secret to most, amazing restaurant.  I mean it as in it was kind of a dump.  It was just old and sad.  Basically a small room with a bar for the front desk, including bar stools on the side, and four chairs along the other wall.

One hair stylist was there and she was working on another customer.  So I sat in the "waiting area" and no one said anything to me.  I was sitting no more than 10' from the stylist and customer.  It was bizarre.  About 10 minutes later, she said she would be with me in a few minutes.  OK.  No offer to take my coat and nowhere in view to hang it myself.  No offer for a drink.  Or magazine.  That was it.

Before things went really wrong, I snapped a quick before shot.  Check out the disaster of a salon.  

40 minutes after I arrived, I was finally greeted and put in a chair.  She was nice though and I was just going with it.  I mean, I was already there and resolved to get my hair cut and colored.

I wanted Gwyneth's cut in the top right corner.

I explained exactly what I wanted, including a photo of the cut.  I also clearly explained the all over color {I basically wanted the same color I already had or very similar}.  In an effort to make this story read-able, I will skip a bunch of details.  But the gist is that everything felt very amateur, unprofessional and dated.  Everything.  Warning signs were going off in my head right and left.  And I hit ignore to all of them.

She gets the color ready and does about half of my head.  While doing so, she is dripping globs of color all over the place.  On my arm, on the chair, on the floor.  It was also all over me.  Both ears were burning as they were so coated in the color.  Ditto on my entire back neck, forehead and temples.  This was also taking bloody forever.

So when she casually said that I would need to pay an additional 25% because my hair was using so much color, I about fell out of my chair.  I said that would not work.  I purchased this service already and it said nothing about hair quantity.  Nor did their website.  I was upfront in both making the appointment and when I got there that I was using the Groupon.  And now here I am sitting in this hole of a building with soap operas blaring on the TV and absolutely zero customer service and a head full of hair color and you are telling me I owe you more?!  She argued that this was just what they do because they can't be expected to deal with this much hair.  I said that nothing on the Groupon or their website stated as much.  She was like, well this is just what we do.  And I'm all, well that makes no sense.  You can't quote a price and then once a customer is held hostage because you are mid-hair color, increase the price.  This went back and forth for several minutes.  More than anything, I was just in shock over this conversation.

And that is when I started crying for the first time.

It wasn't about the money.  It was that I knew from the first phone call that this was a bad idea.  I knew when I walked in that this was a bad idea.  I knew when I sat in that chair and had to put my coat on the floor that this was a bad idea.  And here I am, unable to leave but not wanting to continue, knowing full well that this was a very bad idea.  I don't typically burst into tears like that.  And I'm very embarrassed that I did as much.  But it happened and I'm owning it.  I just didn't know what to do and the end result was tears.

She at first said something like, don't cry ma'am, we will just charge you more because you have so much hair.  Which was bizarre as that was the tipping point that made me cry in the first place.  I believe that is when I turned to her and said that I didn't know what to do because I couldn't leave but couldn't continue.  {I want to point out that we were the only two people in the salon at this point.  I highly doubt if others had been there that I would have had this reaction.  Then again, I am still surprised that this was my reaction at all in public so who knows.  I was clearly more emotional about this hair situation than I realized.}  I couldn't stop crying though.  I was just really upset.  Not bawling.  Just sort of quietly crying.  I was super worried about how things would turn out.

Eventually she was so thrown off by my tears {as was I, to be honest}, that she said don't worry about it.  I could tell she did feel badly.  Or maybe uncomfortable is a better description.  She wasn't trying to be mean, I think she just had no idea what my overall perspective of this situation was.

So she continued to color my entire head.  Even though she said {and I agreed to} the color would only go slightly beyond where I wanted it cut {I cut off at least 8"}.  She also kept doing this weird twist thing with strands of hair, which would pull my head and tangle my hair in the process.  It was an honest to goodness painful and hour-long process just for the application.  For all over color, not highlights.  I often color my hair at home and start to finish, including processing and rinsing out in the shower, I can be done in 45 minutes.  That includes a full shower!  Then I sat there to let it process {they didn't have a heat helmet thingy} for OVER AN HOUR.  During which time the salon owner came in, more customers who she cut, etc, and never-ending loud NY style conversations happened.  This wasn't a salon, it was a damn bus station.  Or that's what it felt like.  It was so loud and not at all peaceful in there.

I read four magazines cover to cover.  Ask me anything about Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Holmes, Kim Kardashian or the Jonas Brothers.  I now know it all.

I was finally rinsed and the color looked fine.  It's not perfect.  But it's fine.  I'll re-do it with the shade I prefer in a month anyway.  Time to cut.  I asked if she wanted to see the photo again.  She doesn't but is like, if you want to, OK.  I did.  I knew we would again need a review of this simple hair cut.  She said, I know, like 3".  No no...I want it above my shoulders.  See the photo.  Oh, OK.  No problem.


She finished and I then cried for the second time.

It's ALL wrong.  It's so long.  And not tapered.  And not layered.

I have never done this but I felt like I had nothing to lose at this point.  And after another review, she set about cutting it for a second time.

Nearly four hours later, I left with a decent color and a decent cut.  I was not charged the additional 25%.  I did tip generously, though why I am not sure.  She asked if I wanted another appointment.  And I did not say HELL NO.  I instead said I would like her card.  I held myself together without any more emotional outbursts and got the heck out of dodge.

I was going to take a photo to show you the before and after.  But then I didn't get home until so stinkin late after getting nothing done today and I was upset and well...that didn't happen.  I will be sure to get one this weekend though.

The moral of the story is that you should trust your gut, ladies!  From now on, I will be driving to Vermont.  It's worth the time and effort.  And by the way, I could have driven to VT, got my hair cut and colored, popped into Vineyard Vines, picked up a curry chicken salad and Diet Coke, and driven home in roughly the same amount of time.

Have you had any hair disasters lately?  Consider this a safe space and feel free to share!


eHa said...

I am so sorry! Bad hair cuts are the worse! I've had the hardest time finding someone to cut my hair since my dependable hair dresser left for another field.

Flo said...

I think I would contact Groupon and complain, that is insane! I've had a couple of bad hair experiences, one with someone who obviously didn't know what they were doing, and another with my regular stylist, not sure what was up with that. The only good part is that hair does grow. Hopefully after you've had time to do something with it, you'll be happier with it.

My Life as A Plate said...

Ughhh That sounds horrible!!!! I am the same way, I can never decide what type of cut I want and then at the last minute want to cut my hair immediately. I too have gone the group on route so that I could get a quick appointment, but luckily have not had any disasters. Your experience really sounds like a Halloween nightmare

Gracie Beth said...

hey KK call groupon and tell them what happened. I had a similar experience with a gel manicure and groupon refunded me!

Katiellirb said...

OH. MY. GOD. I cannot believe that story!! I can't believe you tipped her too! From this point on, please only go back to your girl in Vermont. That salon is such a nightmare!

Sheila said...

I am so sorry KK. I got my hair done yesterday too but not by my usual hairdresser (of 20 years!) either....just learned she has inoperable lung cancer. It wasn't a good day for either of us :(

BroncoMom said...

How horrible! I'm sorry that your hair appointment went so terribly wrong.
If I were you, Groupon would be hearing from me today!

MCW said...

I've never had a hair disaster because I never do anything different and only visit nice salons for cut an color. I prob drive my hairdressers nuts cause I'm soooo boring. Please never use a going for your hair ;) but I'm sure it looks great!

Ruth said...

Sweetie I am sorry you went through that. The worst for me was when my mother let someone cut my really long hair up to my hair. My father didn't even recognize me when he got back to town.

jess said...

Good Lord, where did you go? Seriously, tell me so I can make sure to never accidentally go there! I go all the way to Saratoga to Lauren at Fusion. She's talented with color, always gives me a good cut, and is ridiculously reasonably priced. And she gives me cucumber and lemon water, lol

jess | Quaintrelle

3 Peanuts said...

I felt so bad for you. I have been in a situation like that once. It was a fancy salon though that friend recommended but I just KNEW in my gut the girl with purple hair who was doing my highlights was going to make me a platinum blonde. ANd yes..she did.

Delusions of Grandeur said...

Oh man - what an ordeal! I hope enough time has passed that you've been able to get it fixed, and it's ok that I say that your telling of the tale actually made me laugh out loud. But I know these things are no laughing matter at the time. I love my stylist, but exactly 8 days before my wedding in November, he turned my hair Ronald McDonald red. Said it would fade in time. I was an absolute emotional wreck - used "Color Oops", had the color re-done by someone else, and used "Color oops" again in the matter of a couple days. My hair was absolutely fried. Luckily it looked decent the day of, but it will literally take years to undo the damage. They physical and psychological.


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