By Kevin Meyer
A couple years ago I made a valiant attempt to draw some vague link between haircuts and lean. Basically the time it takes to go through that morning ritual of doing the hair for the day. Who is the customer? Where is the value? Is a couple hours to do the hair a waste, or a value? Or is the sixty seconds that my short cut requires creates value to me… but then my wife complains it looks too much "like a Marine" (what's wrong with that?) so I guess that has the potential to reduce other types of value. I am tempted to nail those last few seconds of waste by shaving off the remaining short hairs. Some day perhaps.
Earlier this week we learned that the recession is causing many people to scrimp and save on the ritual of cutting hair. Some are simply embracing the shaggy look and some are literally taking things into their own hands – with mixed results.
pare their budgets, more Americans are bypassing the salon and opting
to lop off their own locks. The results, can be shear disaster —
clogged drains, fresh cowlicks and crooked trims.
Sales of electric hair clippers expanded as the U.S. economy
contracted. Wahl Clipper Corp., which claims over half the consumer
market, said sales of hair clippers rose 10% in 2008 and are projected
to rise 11% in 2009. Normally, the clipper category moves only a
percentage point or two, up or down each year, says Pat Anello, Wahl's
director of marketing.
You can imagine what happens next.
Meanwhile, a mini-industry has sprouted up in salons: fixing botched at-home cuts. John Barrett has had many clients who take matters into their own
hands, achieve miserable results — then quickly return for some tress
relief. "I've seen women come in, crying hysterically," over things like
too-shorn bangs, he says. "It's a big deal."
A few blocks away, at the Minardi Salon, co-owner Carmine Minardi
warns against the "at-home" method. "We get a lot of people who screw
up their hair," he says. He estimates that roughly a third of all
business now consists of "corrective" styling. There is no mercy
reflected in the bill, which dings clients as much as 50% more for a
corrective color than a regular dye job. In Idaho Falls, Idaho, Melodie McBride's salon handles three or four
repair jobs a week. One client "looked like his head had been through a
thrasher," she says. Another man came in with an eyebrow that had been
mistakenly shaved off.
So much for savings! So where's the "value" now? Again from who's perspective? Can I suggest another alternative? Cut it all off! Save money… and the value of time!
Kojak would be proud.