Barbers. Yeah that's right I'm talking about you-and me for that matter. We are renowned the world over as masters of the ancient craft of Tonsorial Art. But our skills don't stop there-oh no. We are psychologists, anthropologists, dispensers of medical advice, financial wizards, legal experts, culinary geniuses and expert chin waggers. That's right, we love a good yarn. There's nothing better than having a fresh set of ears to chew off roughly every 20 minutes to keep a barber's jabbering appetite satisfied. The fact that we actually get paid for it is a bonus. Chances are, we'd do it even if we didn't. Barbering is a passion, a calling and a lifestyle all of it's own. We are a special breed. You can spot us when we're on holidays. The first thing we do when we hit the nearest town is to proceed with haste to the local barber shop and watch the unofficial mayor (we barbers are self elected) in envy as he dispenses his local version of whatever the hell it is that we barbers crap on about.
But there is a fine line between great service to those eager listeners and down right rudeness. Sometimes we just don't get it right. I have taken the liberty of compiling a short list of do's and don'ts to help prevent your next barber faux pas:
1) Be a chameleon I'm not saying sell yourself short or to forget who you are. But the guy in the chair is paying your wages and if he thinks the gold and white dress is black and blue then let him.
2) Never Turn Your Back On A Customer A rookie error and one to avoid. Your customer is king- at least for the next 20 minutes. Beckon him to the chair with a smile as you face him and then follow him. Don't walk away from him- he doesn't know where to go.
3) Talk To The Client,Not Your Mate I see it all too often and there is nothing worse than 2 barbers crapping on about the weekend to each other while the clients shift uncomfortably in the chair. Save it for morning tea.
4) Personal Hygiene Take care of how you smell. You are up close and personal for the next however long it takes, so make it a pleasure not a pain.
5) Keep it Light Try to stay away from polarising debates. He's there to relax. Tell jokes and make him laugh, it could really make his day.
Roddy Donegan is owner of Crackers Barber Shop, the oldest barber shop on the midnorth coast of NSW and founder of BarberCo, Australia's leading online barbering wholesaler.