I walk away from Wu Mart (hmm, sound anything like a really cheap mass supermarket we have in America? Nah, total coincidence!) with the things i bought for furnish my new apartment.
I’m looking for a place to get my haircut.
I see the spinning barber sign (like we have in America) except it is blue and white.
I peek in the window and it is a very classy place.
No way I could afford to get my haircut in this kind of place in America.
What the heck, I decide just to go in and ask how much.
As detailed as you can get. Or not. I can’t read it.
They basically show me a novel about 20 pages long regarding the business. Little of which I can understand.
From what I can tell, it is a detailed story about the place and when it started and other stuff in Chinese script.
They notice I’m confused and turn the page for me.
This is something we all understand. Cold hard cash.
Ah, the price list. A common language!
Three different prices for a haircut:
I don’t want to spend more than 48 bucks for a haircut so I go with that. I’m in a foreign country, somethings are much cheaper others are much more expensive. Live and learn.
They lead me towards a chair and take my backpack, and the 12 pack roll of toilet paper I just purchased, a lock it up in a locker. They then hand me the key for safe keeping. If someone wants to steal my toilet paper, I’m thinking, they need it more than I do and I’d gladly give it to them. However, the service level impresses me greatly.
I sit me down and they begin to wash my hair. I already showered today but why not? Enjoy the experience.
Finished with the washing, they move me to the hair cutting area and my stylist starts to go to work. There are about 15 people working today and about 3 clients. Lots of people seem to just welcome people and make them feel at home.
Quite a collection of tools. Very professional.
One of the 15 people pull out a leather case and lay it on the desk in front of me.
He opens it, very slowly and with precision, and all the utensils my stylist will need are immediately visible in front of me.
My personal stylist starts to cut my hair. By the way, check out his hair, dude is definitely a stylist!
And so it goes.
He works on me for about 30 minutes. Very smooth and friendly. He smiles often as I take pictures while studying my hair intently as he keeps working on my hair.
My hair? Steel wool? Both maybe.
At one point, I look down at the sheet covering me and notice my hair…and that it looks a bit like steel wool. Oh well, that is life and this is my hair. I don’t color or dye it because I love it short and I think it fits my skin color and eyes rather well. I’ve been going grey since I was about 15 and why bother stopping it now?
My stylist keeps going and is getting closer to the finished product. He continues to smile and seems to enjoy my silliness with pictures. He actually threw an “I’m cool” sign at one point!
We were both having fun and laughing a lot.
Okay, all finished…
or so i thought!
Once again, they tell me to stand up and I follow their directions. I still have the purple towel around my neck and so i look around awkwardly. they lead me back over to the hair washing area and have me sit back down.
The Second Washing. I’m feeling like a VIP.
They wash my hair a second time.
The Blow Dry. The Final Touch.
After that they take me over to the stylist area and my stylist blow dries my hair.
My hair is pretty short so it doesn’t take much but I love the effort and the time that he takes.
It seems very respectful and kind.
As my stylist finishes, I pull out a 100RMB note. The total is 48RMB. They don’t have change for it so they run around asking other people for change. They finally find someone and give me 52RMB in change.
Yep. 48 bucks for a haircut..oh, by the way, 48RMB, is about $7.50 American dollars.
And no tipping allowed.
So, yes, 48 bucks for a hair cut? Are you kidding me? Nope. They are dead serious.