My hairdresser threatened to call the police on me last week.
No, I didn’t run at her with the scissors after discovering my haircut was more ‘V for Vendetta’ than ‘Victoria Beckham’; and no, we didn’t just have a nasty disagreement over the temperature in the wash basin.
In fact, I’m not normally a public-confrontation kind of person at all, and I really didn’t see this situation coming.
The hair appointment started out perfectly nicely, with herbal tea and reality television chatter aplenty. You know the drill: your colourist asks what you’re after, you say, ‘half a head of foils, a little trim and don’t worry about the treatment because I’m on a budget, thanks very much’.
The sun was shining outside; I grabbed a magazine of the sort I’d never be seen reading in public; my colourist mixed her little plastic dish of ammonia-scented hair chemicals — and away we went, swapping life stories and news of our love lives.
But two hours later, when I pulled out my wallet to settle the tab, the situation became more Fight Club than Gossip Girl.
“That’ll be four hundred and twenty dollars,” the reception lady enthusiastically chirped at me, proffering a complimentary mint my way.
I started, my belly flipping anxiously. The price was a good hundred dollars more than my usual fee, and my bank balance was perilously low following a solid week of Christmas spending.
I asked for a price breakdown. Extremely Chirpy Reception Lady offered me a little slip of paper — which declared I’d been given a three-quarter head of colour.
I mentioned that I’d asked for a half-head only. Extremely Chirpy Reception Lady became Moderately Bored Reception Lady as she called over my colourist.
My colourist eventually reappeared — and that’s where things kicked off. We may have been trading anecdotes like the best of friends ten minutes prior, but it was clear our relationship had iced over in the intervening moments.
“I’ve called the manager, and the rule is that you pay for the service you’ve been given,” my colourist snapped. “And what we gave you today was a three-quarter head of colour.”
She was not interested in hearing that I’d only booked for a half-head. She was also not keen on my reiteration that I’d only asked for a half-head at the start of my appointment.
After a few awkward moments, she conceded that I’d only asked for the half-head — but muttered something about my hair being so thick, it was only fair to charge the service as a three-quarter service.