A fortunate encounter at GreatClips

Oct 29 2002 Kelly Norton

So, I'm sitting in the chair at GreatClips getting 2 month's worth of mop chewed from the top of my head when an old guy walks through the open door and straight up to the desk. The three college aged guys peer up from their out-of-date magazines and snicker at the man's audacity to charge right up to the counter when someone is in the chair. There are only two things that will bring a hair stylist from the chair to the desk when in the middle of a haircut: the phone ringing and anything else besides an old guy with frazzled hair staring with presumptuous expectations. The standoff did not last long, thankfully, since his gaze was fixed on me and my current crooked hairline. The stylist, Theresa, who I had never seen before and whose breath lacked the smell of alcohol that I had assumed was a job requirement at GreatClips, finally looked over and unenthusiastically uttered, “just have a seat sir, we'll be with you in a minute.” I was a little puzzle by the choice of “we” since she had admitted to me earlier that her coworker had failed to show and that she would be taking on the hectic lunch hour alone. I thought for a minute, she may have meant me, and that the price of my haircut might be forgotten if I would spend the rest of the morning organizing the impatient and unkempt masses whose wait would be unbearably long. I wondered if I would be required to pass out the magazines with the plastic covers that cut off the ever important left hand column of the front cover so that the front of Cosmo teased the ladies with,

ild in Bed
exual positions to make him scream.

What would I do with the old guy standing at the desk looking at the customers in the middle of their metamorphosis? Fortunately, it was a question I was able to leave unanswered as he backed away from the desk and headed over to the magazine rack where he bent over and began to dig straight through to the bottom of the big pile of magazines. He pushed them aside as if they were the tissue paper obscuring some exciting Christmas gift and dug straight to the bottom. He ducked and bobbed his head as if he were performing surgery and needed a better view of what was hidden beneath some vital organ. Finally, he charged in with his other hand and extracted a small Cinderella figurine bringing it up between his eyes and giving it the look of familiarity. Having satisfied himself that the appropriate object had been extracted, he made his way back to the desk and placed it standing and looking out at the rest of the customers, arms lifted in the air right in front of the cash register and finally took his seat. Right then, I had no doubt I was unqualified to manage the waiting area at GreatClips; I paid my $12 and sped out the open door.