Hey aspiring barbers! My name is Walter (that's me on the right) and I've been your town's local barber for forty years! Anyways, you've graduated from barber school, bought your spinny-pole, and shined your clippers. You're ready to go, right? Wrong. Here are five tricks of the trade you must know before you start snippin' away.
Elbows Are Meant to Have Balls Rubbed on Them
If you see someone with their elbows on the arm rest, that's your cue. Get in there. But make it look like an accident. Say something like "tilt your head." This implies you have to reach a little bit, necessitating that you increase the proximity of your balls in relation to their everything. Then, firmly press your testicles to their elbow. If they retract their arms, just get closer. And so on and so forth.
Never Ever Update the Photographs of Popular Haircuts
Hair styles reached an apex in 1985 and there's no reason to ever mess with that. If anyone ever brings in a picture of a modern haircut on a popular actor of the time (your Colin Firths and Rachel Anistons of the world), say "sure" and then casually point to the picture of the guy with frosted tips and the Flock-of-Seagulls doo and begin cutting.
Never Let Them Get a Good Look at the Back of Their Hair
A happy barber is a productive barber, so have some fun. I recommend let your artistic side out to play when cutting the back of their hair. But, and this is very important, never let them see what you've done. Instead quickly spin them around in the chair to disorient them. Then hand them a tiny mirror that you bought in a novelty-joke shop and tell them to look at their reflection in the much larger, though now unusable, mirror behind them. They'll be so concerned about sounding like idiots, they'll quickly say "Yup, looks good." That is a guarantee. Nobody will every question you, and you can feel comfortable sculpting your masterpiece consequence free.
Change Your Name to George or Sam
Or anything that won't distinguish you from another barber. Barbershop patrons like to not be able to recall which guy cut their hair. That's just fact. So if you have an interesting name, try Phil on for size. See how it feels. You never know -- hearing the words "I think Phil cut my hair last time. Or was it Ralphâ¦ugh, I can never remember" will be music to your ears. And by music, I mean whatever the radio, that hasn't had the station changed in ten years, is playing.
Don't Be Afraid to Make Conversation
Start with these questions:
How's work going?
Any plans for the summer?
How was your (insert holiday)?
If the customer is polite, they will ask you the same questions in return. And for some reason, people getting their hair cut think barbers live boring lives. Obviously, and as the great tapered-military-cut craze of 1998 showed, this couldn't be further from the truth. But keep up that image.
Give vague answers where you shrug and say things like "it is what it is" and "I'm thinking of opening a new shop downtown." The latter will make them feel good because they'll think they're giving you so much business that you need to open up a supplementary location. People like to feel good about themselves. And that's priority number one: providing a positive experience.
Strike that. The balls thing is number one. Always.