03 July 2013

The Rudest Client Yet

 I expect my Mom to yell at me when I risk my life walking on a tree, but I didn't expect to get yelled at over a hair cut.

It was a case of a classic misunderstanding between a cosmetologist who perceives "a half inch" as precisely 0.5 inches, and a client who perceives "a half inch" as a fairly short length.

She said she wanted her son's haircut to be about a half inch in length on the top, and asked me to use a #2 guard on the sides.
I said, "If you want the top to be exactly half an inch, I can use my #4 guard on top, does that sound good to you?"
"Sure," she said. And I got to work. I did not think at the time that I might be doing something wrong. A #4 on top blended to a #2 on the sides is a very common haircut, even more common on young boys in summer time. The boy didn't have especially long hair to begin with, either, so I had no reason to think that he was one that hated short haircuts.
I finished the cut in under 10 minutes, and walked him up to the front desk where his mom was waiting.

We didn't even make it to the front before she started yelling. It was obvious she was livid. "That is not a half of an inch, you only left a quarter of an inch of hair on his head! This isn't what I wanted at all! You didn't listen! I wanted it longer than this on top!"

Completely shocked, I started apologizing, "I am so sorry, I thought you wanted half an inch left on top."

"I did--but this is not half an inch, this is much shorter than that! How could you do this to a 12 year old boy? He is very upset!" {the boy showed no signs of being upset, however, the mom did, as her voice continued to rise and her face got redder and redder.}
"Well, I guess there's nothing you can do about this now, but you did a horrible job. This is not at all what I asked for! This looks awful!"

The mom proceeded to call the teacher who was supervising the salon to yell at her for not keeping a closer eye on me and preventing me from cutting her son's hair so short. Then she spotted another teacher who wasn't working in the salon but rather in the classroom and yelled at her for the poor quality of this particular haircut. Then she left, claiming that the school will lose all of her business from that moment forward, then she came back in the building to ask what my name was so that they could specifically request not to let me cut her son's hair next time they come in.

Then, about ten minutes later, she called and asked to speak to the manager of the salon.

I kept it together while she was still in the building, apologizing repeatedly, saying that I was so sorry for misunderstanding, then I cleaned and sanitized my station, went into the breakroom, and cried.

That was my first time ever being yelled at by a client. I'm sure it won't be the last, but it was certainly unpleasant enough that I hope it doesn't happen again. There was definitely a misunderstanding somewhere. I thought I was doing exactly what she wanted--I had no reason to think that I wasn't, but clearly, she wanted his haircut to be longer on top than what I made it. When that's the case, it doesn't matter if it was a perfectly executed and perfectly blended #4 on top and #2 on the sides, it wasn't the right haircut. My guess is she actually wanted his hair to be closer to 3/4 of an inch or a whole inch on top.
But it's far too late for regrets and "I should have clarified with her exactly how long her version of half an inch was."
My classmates and teachers tried to cheer me up. "Rachel, you know that lady, she's always like that, and there's nothing you can do about it." My teachers said, "If she never comes back, won't that be great?" That's true. She brings her sons in for haircuts regularly every month, and regularly sends them back for approximately three modifications on each haircut--and even at the end, she's typically not completely satisfied. But yelling at students is out of the norm, even for her.

Then someone at my school said something that hurt even more. "And she's a Christian."

Ouch. Some of my classmates at school already have quite a negative picture of Christianity--I was saddened more than any personal hurt over the fact that this woman yelled at me and two teachers in front of her own young children and a whole school full of teens and twenty somethings. And all those children, all those teens and young adults know that she's a Christian. She's a Christian who has no problem yelling at and shaming a girl who cut her son's hair the wrong way...and that's what breaks my heart.

I just want to say, to Christian and non-Christian alike, that that is not Jesus. I don't know that woman personally, I don't know the state of her heart and family, but her actions towards me and her poor way of handling a bad haircut were most definitely not based on faith and the life-changing power of Christ. I can't imagine ever treating a stylist, waitress, or other person serving me like that, no matter how disappointing the service was. Your character is shown by how well or how poorly you respond to unpleasant circumstances. I don't know that woman, and honestly I don't want to, but I can assure you, that response was not Jesus.

The lesson I learned vividly that day was that you never know when people are listening to you and watching you close enough to know that you are a Christian...and they do notice when you don't act the way you preach.
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Maggie B. said...

I'm sorry that you got yelled at by a client. That's the worst. But I'm sorry too that the comment about her being a Christian was even made. I mean, that makes it sound a little bit like Christian's aren't allowed to have off days. I'm a Christian, and I yell - kind of a lot. I try very hard not to humiliate people and act badly in public places, but sometimes a person reaches his/her threshold and the top just blows off.

As you said, it's impossible to know her side of the story, her conditions in life. You acted well and that should make you proud. Regardless of whether or not she's a Christina, clearly she's an unhappy human. And that might be the saddest part of the entire thing.

deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

you were right. i most definitely didn't cut my own hair. i just added that picture to be silly, and i was surprised people actually thought i did it myself. :)

the girl who cut my hair and i even talked about her previous rude customers who HATED their hair.

i used to wait tables. the only time a customer made me cry was when she threw a souffle cup of syrup on me and claimed that i was trying to kill her. she was diabetic and could only eat sugar free syrup and i had given her regular. she hadn't told me. i was new at that restaurant, and she was a regular. so apparently she just assumed that i would know.

i think everyone should have to work in customer service at least once.

Why Girls Are Weird said...

Oh my gosh. It's just HAIR. Ugh. People like that make me mad. Who acts like that towards someone they don't even know!? About something as trivial as HAIR!?

The restaurant I work in has a HUGE church rush on Sunday mornings. It's our busiest time of the week. And I tell you, it makes me sad to see how awful so of these "godly" people act. It's actually the reason I don't attend a church. I just feel like people think that if they attend a church and participate in a certain religion that it makes it okay for them to act however they want. And to me that is so hypocritical. I'd rather just have my beliefs, keep them between God and me, and act the way I believe that my God would want me to act.

Anyway. I know it's hard, but let it roll of your shoulders. Karma will find her.

Tayler Morrell said...

Big hug coming your way. I've had to deal with yelling, upset parents as well as a middle school teacher. It's no fun. I know exactly how you feel!

Unknown said...

Upset parents are the worst. You are exactly right that their might be something terrible going on in her life, but it is horrible when you are the person they take it out on. Ugh.

Katie Cook said...

This is so sad...I'm so thankful YOU are a Christian and you are shining a light that is different to that! Love you Rach!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that this story and your experiences are and have given you bad impressions of Christians. Christians have an example of whom to follow and that is Jesus Christ and all those examples and commandments are in the bible. I wish you could meet Rachel in person or hopefully in time meet a true christian and then understand that there is a difference between true Christians and imposters, fakes, wannabes in the church/world. Jesus himself had 12 disciples and one of them (Judas Iscariot) was an imposter, his heart was not right. So this is nothing new to have fake Christians, it's the real ones you want to look out for :)

mckenziewinkel said...

I hate when people are rude like that for basically no reason! Things like that are no big deal. And sadly, just because someone goes to church doesn't mean they have god in their life! It makes me sad that people like this tend to be the face of religion to other people.

Anonymous said...

Yo se lo que estas pensando del comentario que resulta en cuatro menos tres. I know that it's causing more hurt and that it fits right into the story, but what did Scott tell you? "She's just a baby, Rachel, just a baby"

Alli @ Allena Mistral said...

I'm so sorry that that happened to you. It's so rude of someone to get that upset over something that will grow out. My mom told me yesterday that the only difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks. If this woman is SO particular about how she wants her son's hair, it might be in her best interest to find a hair dresser that's not in a beauty school so that she can tell them what she wants and keep taking him back there to get the exact same cut. :/

Stay strong, lady. I'm sure the cut you gave him was perfect!

Veronica Lee Burns said...

I almost cried reading this whole story! And then almost bawled at the end when your classmate pointed out she's a Christian, that hurts more than the yelling for sure!
I pray you don't get more clients like that, she was way in the wrong...besides, it's a haircut! On a young boy! It will grow back...

People who claim the title of Christian though and act a different way hurt my heart. I know people who've been wronged and seen this their whole lives, they don't want anything to do with Christianity. And I don't blame them, if that's what I saw and knew a Christian to be I wouldn't either...but it's awful because that's not what we are supposed to be and it's not what Jesus is like you explained.

Suzanne said...

That is so sad that this happened. There will always be people that we come across that are negative. You just need to learn to put it behind you.


Unknown said...

I love how you turned this post. Last night Hal was telling me about a missionary homecoming that made the news because some people were saving pews at church and someone sat down there anyway and they ended up getting into a fist fight IN church. I just said, I hope they realize the ridiculousness of their situation, and how that wasn't worth it at all. I don't understand why some people are like that, does she think behaving like that is teaching her children something good? it doesn't matter what religion you are, no one has the right to treat another person that way, no matter the situation. But I did think it was funny that she said she's never coming back, and then asked for your name so she wouldn't have you cut her kids hair the next time she came back.

Susannah said...

Wow, that's crazy. You would think that, even if someone doesn't like something, they would respond civily. I feel like in my office it's those who profess Christianity who often are the most negative and rude patients. It's heartbreaking that that's what my coworkers see.

Mrs. M ~ a.k.a. ~ April said...

My reaction too ~ Ouch! at what your fellow student said. That made me cringe. A good reminder that our actions truly do speak louder than our words. In jest (and somewhat serious note), I hope someone takes her aside and gives her a good spanking! {HUGS}

Angi said...

Oh my's absolutely awful that she yelled at you like that, and even worse that she is a Christian and yelled at you like that! It's so, so frustrating when people who claim to love Jesus treat others that way - it makes me wonder if they practice Christianity in ANY aspect when that happens. I wish your coworkers and teachers had warned you ahead of time that you might get yelled at, so at least you could have been expecting it! :(

Dara @ Not In Jersey said...

ugh that is awful. I don't think you should have to clarify how long 1/2 an inch is! I mean how would you do that, take out a ruler?

Michelle said...

WOW. This blows my mind. THAT upset over a quarter of an inch difference?! It grows!!!!! Good for you for keeping it together with her. I'm afraid I would've burst into tears or lost my temper.

It is heartbreaking when "Christians" act that way. You're right, that is NOT Jesus. That is not how a Christian should act. It's so defeating when unbelievers see someone act that way and still claim to be a Christian.

Kathrin@shopschoolsleep said...

Oh my goodness!! both my sisters are licensed cosmetologist and they have had some bad clients, but not this bad...or at least not in a beauty SCHOOL!! I'm sorry if you get a haircut or any service at a beauty school (i mean NO offense!!) but the service is not always going to be 100 as you might get a "seasoned"-on-her/his-way-out student or one that just barely made it onto the "floor" within the past few days. I had some mess ups with color before and that is way worse than 1/2 an inch of hair gone.

Yes unfortunately the mom is a bad example of what a Christian is like and there are too many women behaving badly at the same time claiming to be Christian.

Anonymous said...

How awful! I hate when Christians behave badly. I think it's more important to act like a Christian instead of just saying I'm one. It's her fault she doesn't know how long half an inch is. I hope that was the last time anyone ever yells at you for doing a perfectly good job.

Unknown said...

Oi! I used to love working in the service industry, especially as a bartender, but after being out of it for awhile I don't think I could ever go back. Mostly because all the people who were horrible to me for no reason stick with me more than those few who were awesome. There were so few who were awesome. I think some people are just incapable of being content and happy with how things are around them and take it out on everyone else.

Don't worry, this may be the first time I've been to your blog, but I can tell you're awesome. Woo!

Anna said...

geez... what an experience! When you work with people, there are always going to be times when nothing you can do will satisfy them. (I'm sure Angel has his own stories, just like me!) This women would probably have taken it out on anyone, you just happened to be the person who cut her son's hair that day... it's hard not to let it get to you, especially since all the negative experiences stick in your memory about 10x stronger than the good ones... but I always like to write down the happy, good experiences I have and then read them during times like that, when you're emotionally drained after trying your hardest to please someone who won't be pleased. I hope you never have to see her again.

Jelli said...

Eek! What a terrible experience and even worse, that last part about the image she reflects about Christ.

Martha Hokenson said...

What an awful woman! It's terrible, but I've found that the meanest, rudest people I've ever met are almost always "Christians". I don't get it! They seem to have no concept of how badly their actions reflect on their religion. I do realize everyone has bad days and being human, people will lose their tempers--but it sounds like she's a chronic offender. :(