Saturday, February 11, 2006

Saturday Soapbox

So I have been getting Mr. Personality's hair cut professionally since he was less than a year old. This kid was born with a LOT of hair, and by the time he was 10 months or so, I just couldn't hold off any longer. We did at one point attempt to cut it ourselves, which ended up with the predictable stares and whispers that mange was supposed to be an affliction that only affected dogs.

I started out taking him to a hoity-toity hair styling salon for kids only, where they had little airplanes and rockets for them to sit in instead of chairs, and individual video monitors at each station. That was fine, but they kept raising their prices, and they were a bit far away. So I began looking for something closer to home.

I saw a coupon for a child's haircut at a place not too far from here one day, and we have been going there ever since. I think for over a year. I like my son's stylist, who is herself a mother of three.

It is really a unisex salon, owned by a small businesswoman. They all seem to have been there for quite a while, and know each other very well, especially my stylist and the one directly next to her, who are best friends.

When I bring Mr. Personality there, I know that the friend is going to talk. A lot. It is just the kind of person that she is. In fact, at times I have wondered if she knows how to be quiet, because she is constantly saying things, sometimes to no one in particular. She is not crazy, perhaps just a bit compulsive. Or impulsive, you choose.

We walked into the salon yesterday, and I could tell that friend of my stylist was in a lather over something. It took all of two minutes to learn that her daughter and son-in-law were arguing with each other and threatening divorce. At some point, in walks the son-in-law with two children in tow, and she has some words with him.

Now I am getting a bit uncomfortable. I am not the kind of person who advocates bottling up your emotions and acting like a robot when things are falling apart, but there is a big difference when you are at work. I expect people to be professional, and if they can't act professionally while at the workplace, then they should leave and go home to deal with their emotions.

In walks a grandmother with her granddaughter. Granddaughter is all of 10 and has a father-daughter dance to get prettied up for. Grandma will take whoever is available as this was a last minute idea. Guess who volunteers!

So this little girl is sitting in her chair, and she is getting calls on the salon business line from her daughter, who screams at her and hangs up. My stylist is answering her friend's cell and then running out to hand SIL the phone while with her client. Friend is asking me if SIL is still outside and on the phone and if he looks like he is arguing with someone. (He is, and completely ignoring his children as he gestures and paces with the cell to his ear) She and my stylist are tossing the words "divorce" and "fight" and "that's not how you hold a marriage together" and discussing the friend's divorce, and how it affects kids, blah blah blah.

With a little girl in her chair, captive. And my son not two feet away himself.

Most of what she said went right over his head, I am sure. But he knows the word "fight" and you don't have to be that old to sense when people are tense and upset.

As for the little girl, I am sure she understood every word of what was going on. Grandma had gone to a store next door to buy some shoes, so she was out of the picture when this was going on.

I was offended.

I was offended that these people, who obviously were having a family crisis, did not have the decency to ensure that their angst did not affect others around them. Not only their co-workers, but clients as well. That they would bandy those words and perform these actions so casually in front of children, like they were no big deal and a part of normal, everyday life. That if something large and unhappy beyond their control was happening, they failed to "take it to the back" so to speak, especially as we were situated in one large room with no chance of escape.

Am I so old-fashioned to think this was out of line? Have I been out of the workforce so long that it is now acceptable to act this way in a place of business? Am I getting all worked up for nothing?

I didn't say anything. Normally, I speak up when I feel a situation is inappropriate, especially regarding my son. I mean, I am the woman who forbids him to watch any commercial television and cringes at the thought of him watching a PG movie. But for some reason, this situation took me totally off guard. When people are that keyed up, for some stranger to come in and pass a verbal judgement upon them can only lead to bad things, in my opinion.

So for one of the few times in my life, I kept my mouth shut.

But I don't think I will be going back.


chichimama said...

ulgh. How awful. I wouldn't go back either.

WordsRock said...

Guess you couldn't just get up and leave in the moment?

Public arguments are anathema to me. And how could the parent and grandparent behave so immaturely in front of their children? Nice lesson to give the kids.


theyellowwallpaper said...

I certainly agree with you. I've had a similar experience with a waitress in the past. It was a girl's night out, so we were all in a great mood. Originally we really liked our waitrss, but then she wouldn't stop talking, and then went on to complain at length about her boyfriend, finances, you name it. Sure, she may need to vent, and it does help to chat with your customers, but it was downright awkward. Since it was late, we were her last customers, so she wouldn't leave.

Finally, I spoke up and told her I was sorry for her circumstances, but that I hadn't seen these friends in a long time...She looked hurt. Suffice to say we didn't order anything else.

Liz said...

I can relate more with theyellowwallpaper story than the salon story. Of course, I have girls, and I took them in for occasional trims, but HairCuttery was fine for that. We never had the same stylist. Both my husband and I liked long hair on the girls.

But a chatty, bitchy waitress? Egads, how I wish I could say I have never been there!