Apps certainly make life more efficient, but people still are key.
Getting a haircut in my small town has always been a pain — no appointments, just show up and wait your turn. I have done this for many years. Instinctively, I plot for a time when most kids are at school, the retired are away, and holidays are not near. But my cunning usually disappoints me.
Somehow, the retired are there, and the kids have a day off and are there with their mothers.
High-Tech Barber Shop
But now in Florida, I’m away from the winter and in need of a haircut, and a new possibility arises — a barber shop with high-tech appointment capability. Who would have thought that was where I was headed?
Image credit: Rob Sarmiento
A friend said to go to this particular mall and sign up. They have a cool appointment system. You go there and sign in or use their app on your phone. I showed up before 9:00 a.m. and joined another 10 to 12 folks waiting for the 9:00 a.m. opening. Young men in their twenties, older retired men, and mothers with sons were all waiting to sign in.
I started to chat with two young fellows about the sign-in app. As regulars, they also had some inside knowledge about the barber shop. They pointed me to the app on the shop’s website. It allows you to sign up for a time and lets you know via a text message when the desired chair will be available. The usual case is to give a "heads up" with a 15-minute warning, showing your place in line and who was ahead of you.
One of the young fellows had selected the barber named Klay, a popular choice. He said, though, that all of the half-dozen barbers were good. It turned out that my app mentor is a rising entrepreneur, having a staging company that sets up homes with nice accoutrements for realtors. His brother has a moving company, and they work jointly as businesses. He had big plans to acquire furniture outfits and already has warehouse facilities. He's all of 25 years old. He likes the barber-by-appointment app because he values his time. There is minimum waiting and no guesswork.
The shop opened promptly at 9:00 a.m. and I waited for the first available chair. Within a few minutes, I was assigned to a barber who I'll call Dana.
Within 30 seconds after I inquired if Dana had been in Florida for long, she began to give me an extended tour of her travels after leaving Kansas. I heard about small towns and barber school in Texas, then it was on to Denver, Hawaii, Thailand, and back to Kansas. (I was having trouble keeping up.) Then I heard about her daughter and the girl's runaway father. Back to Kansas again.
So why Florida? The absent father wanted to try again and was in the area. She headed here with her daughter and things went well for a while until the father ran off again.
I thought she had finished cutting, but then she asked about a few hairs in front that she wanted to remove. I said that, while she asked, I'd rather keep them. After all, there’s not much there.
My haircut story took a new turn. Her own father died when she was very young. Her quest is to find out everything she can about him: How did he like his steak &mdash well done? She spent a week with her grandparents asking continuous questions about everything that they could remember about him: How did he like school? What were his friends like?
Every day, Dana writes to her young daughter about everything, good or bad. Dana had nothing from her own father directly; her daughter will know everything about her, good or bad.
When the haircut session ended, I asked, "How much?" Dana replied, "$20." I gave her a $20 tip.
As I departed, I waved goodbye to the young entrepreneur with the staging business. Apparently, Klay the barber had others previously signed up, but after all, it had only been about 15 minutes, even though I felt that I had lived another life in the interim. The appointment app drew me there and lived up to its promise. But the sociological aspects of the people are all that I can think about.
I went for the appointment because of technology, but came away with a slightly better understanding of sociology. Who says they both can't mix?