On Punctuality (or, More Barber Stuff)

My barbershop uses an app to book appointments. The app allows our customers to rate the barbers and the barbershop overall. Recently I’ve seen a few reviews that have deducted a star for punctuality. Allow me a brief moment to speak on this subject and correct any misconceptions that people may have about how certain types of barbershops operate.

To start, at my barbershop we work by appointment while also accepting walk-in traffic. It is our sincere desire to be able to accommodate everyone who would like to get their hair cut. So in the midst of servicing our appointments we also have to squeeze in the occasional walk-in. This can, at times, cause us to run over and into the time that someone else has scheduled for a haircut. We don’t like to run late but it can and does happen. I can assure you that it’s not a case of not respecting someone else’s time or thinking that ours is more valuable than theirs, which seems to be how some people feel.

Secondly, I’d like to remind people that we’re dealing with people; real life human beings. We’re not machines and neither are they. So there’s no guarantee that every haircut will take the same amount of time for any number of reasons. For example, say that we have blocked out 30 minutes for a haircut but our client runs 5 minutes late. If it does indeed take us 30 minutes to do that cut then we are now going to run 5 minutes late and that will cut into the next appointment. If this happens a few times throughout the course of the day it can have a snowball effect that causes us to run much further behind than we’d like to.

But let’s suppose that our clients are on time, there’s still no guarantee that the haircut that is blocked out for 30 minutes will get done in 30 minutes. If it’s a new client we have to take the time to learn their head and hair. If it’s a returning client who wants to change up their style we have to take the time to make it look how they want. The lighting can be bad at any given moment. We can run into technical difficulty with our equipment. The phones at the shop may be ringing off the hook and we have to take time out to answer them (we don’t have a receptionist at my shop). The point is that there are any number of things that can cause a barber to run behind.

My boss holds to a philosophy that says an appointment guarantees a haircut, not necessarily a haircut at the time of the appointment. I understand that idea, and in truth it’s one that doctors and dentists have been operating on since the dawn of time, but it’s not necessarily my personal philosophy. I like to be on time, I really do, and to the best of my ability I try to be. I recognize that clients choose particular times for a reason and I try my very best to honor those times. We all do.

So I’d urge anyone leaving reviews online for their barbershops or salons of choice to take these things into consideration when talking about punctuality. Also take past experiences into account. I had one client deduct a star for the lone time I ran 10 minutes late. Never mind every other time when I was on time. I didn’t get rated for that, but rather for something that was out of my control. It’s not the end of the world but it is somewhat annoying.

B”H

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