I usually cut my hair from a regular barber who charges Rs. 30 for a normal ‘medium’ haircut. However, for the last 4-5 times, I went to ‘The SALON” for the same job. Then yesterday, I realized that I should go back to the old barber and save some money and experience the ‘difference’. Here’s what I experienced at both ‘hair-cutting-places’.
The ‘SALON’ Experience-
The SALON is actually very convenient location for me as it’s a part of my gym. I can save quite some time by getting a hair-cut after a workout and that’s the big reason I first tried it. The SALON offers great experience. First of all – it’s fully air-conditioned with temperature that doesn’t hurt. The staff is always ready & polite, in their neat & clean uniform and treat you like you’re Obama. There’s Kenny G playing saxophone in the background. They speak English as long as you don’t get into ‘desi’ mode (aka. giving up formal “yes sir-no sir” for “kya bolte boss“), after which everyone feels comfortable with conversation.
They first ‘wash’ your hair by making you sit in a special inclined seat with your head directly over the basin. They give you option to choose ‘cold’ or ‘warm’ water to wash your hair. They tell you ‘Your Scalp Is Dry Sir’ and treat your hair as if it’s silk (meh!). They use awesome smelling ‘conditioner’ and ‘shampoo’ to wash your hair and then dry it with a clean and nice smelling towel.
Then they equip themselves with the tools necessary to cut your
silk hair. They adjust your head in comfortable positions (for them) gently and lightly. Once the hair cutting ceremony is done, they take you back to the basin, wash your hair and ask if you’d like to avail more services.
In the end, they charge you anywhere between Rs.350-Rs. 500 and yeah, they do accept cards.
The Regular Barber Experience –
It was only yesterday I went there. It started with the barber-guy asking me to wait until he’s done with cleaning his ‘shop’. He pointed at couple of magazines (Hindi & English) and newspapers so that killing my time while he finished his cleaning job would be easier. After he was done with the priority task, I thought it was my turn to sit on the hot-seat and I stood up. He asked me to sit while pointing me to another person who mysteriously appeared out of nowhere. He was the first one, I was second. My turn came after about 5 minutes of more Hindi newspaper reading. He promptly recognized that I was once his regular customer and had not turned to his shop in last few months. He started with “bohot dino baad?” (after long time?) Then he put a half-white sheet around by neck and got started. He needed no instructions as he already knew I’d go with ‘slightly larger than medium’. The hair-washing (hair-wetting) was done with a spray. He turned on radio and I realized that Kenny G was replaced with Munni Badnaam and then with Saddi Gali. The music was sufficiently loud but it felt alright with the ambiance. He’d use the same brush first to dust the table and then my neck; then take a totally bad smelling napkin to clean my face while I held my breath.He’d go out of the shop to spit his fresh dose of Manikchand and get new one multiple times.
What I realized was, I got a better hair-cut with my regular barber than at the SALON. That too, for just Rs. 30.
Where do you think I should go next time?