I feel I must share this all with you.
I am a man who has, for as long as I can remember, hated getting haircuts. As child I would wail incessantly and flail like I was having a seizure to avoid the barber even touching my hair. For years as a teenager I decided to cope with this problem by simply not going to the hairdresser. It was only after people started calling me "rat fink" that I decided I needed a certain amount of care in that department. Since then I have regarded haircuts as a necessary evil.
I don't know what it is, but you can't seem to get a decent haircut for a decent price these days. Last year in Nottingham I had to get my hair cut regularly by students for 3 bucks a pop, because all the barbers in the city centre were charging £16 or over, which, quite frankly, I am not willing to pay for just a trim.
In KDY I have always gone to the same place. It used to cost me £4.50 and I was always happy with the service I got. No-frills haircut: never great, but cheap and once I murder it with product no-one would notice anyway. Recently however, this place has been getting a lot worse. The people who used to work there have moved on and been replaced. There are three guys who work there now and none of them are that good.
This time though, they really, really fucked up. I went in and sat down, and told the guy what I wanted. Which is short back and sides, just a trim, and don't get creative. All was going well, until for no apparent reason, he reached up with the clippers and cut a square centimetre chunk out of my hairline at the temple. I wasn't happy but thought I would trust the guy to know what he was doing. Strangely, having done this to one side of my head, he then left the other side untouched, giving me an asymmetrical look, as if I had mange on one side of my head only. I mentioned it to him, but he told me he had "just squared it off a bit". I wasn't happy but bit my tongue.
I went home and looked at myself in the mirror. I thought I looked like I had been shaved ready for surgery. It looked terrible. He had plainly made a mistake and cut off too much hair, and I think he knew that he had done that because he didn't do the other side as well. I also discovered that I had a mole I didn't know about before on the pale, virginal skin of my skull, which has not seen the sun since I first grew hair in the mid-eighties. This should be a good indication that he went too far. So I marched back up to the barbershop to start some shit. At this point I didn't care that I had been going to that barbershop for years, and if I alienated them there would be nobody left to cut my hair.
I went in and told them I wasn't happy with the haircut. I explained that he had cut off too much hair and I was now asymmetrical. He offered to do the other side. I told him I didn't want him to do the other side, I wanted my money back. He kept saying that he had just squared it off, and I had had a full haircut so couldn't have my money back. I think the barber (who shall remain nameless as shall his shop) knew he had done me wrong, but it pained him to admit it. I could see I was close to getting my money back.
One thing you must know about Fife, is that no matter where you are, if you are having an altercation of any sort in a public place, some random tosspot will always pitch in his two cents. In this case it was one of the customers who waiting to be served. He was that sort of guy who always blunders into any discussion and gives you his totally unasked-for opinion. You know the sort of guy I mean. I don't want to put too fine a point on it, but the barbershop is quite close to Smeaton, and the customer to whom I am referring was reading The Sun.
"I've never heard of someone asking for their money back after a haircut" He tutted, like that was a good enough reason for someone not to do it. Well, you have now pal. I explained to the gentleman that while this was none of his business in the first instance, I was not going to pay for a haircut that I was not satisfied with, and that I had been coming to the barbershop for years and had always been happy (lies) with the result. But then they had never shaved a huge chunk out of my head either. At this point I was given my money and I left. I didn't even have to threaten never to come to the barbershop again (although take it as a given that I won't be going back) or even threaten to destroy them, which as a journalist it would be well within my power to do. I have a column coming up, and I could easily use that to bitch about being given a shit haircut.
Anyway, I left, never to return. That is the last time I will ever pay for a haircut. I have had it. I'm buying clippers and I'm just going to do it myself from now on. I'm not going to do it right now because the shaved-out chunk is literally to the skin, and I think it would look weirder if I shaved it shorter all over. In fact the only thing I could do to make it even is to go completely skinhead, which I would only do if I joined the army or if pattern baldness set in. So I'm just going to have to cope with looking like I've escaped from some kind of laboratory. Which sucks because I have to meet with some important people this week. Bollocks.