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Would you pay 15 dollars for a 5 dollar hair-cut?


Yes, I know, I should have asked how much they would charge me to shave the back of my neck. Just because the hair cutting place I usually go to charges me five dollars doesn’t mean everyone else will.

I had a few hours free after I dropped my daughter off at an appointment. So why not get a haircut? It wasn’t my usual hair cutting place, but why not try a new place?

And, yes I shave my neck. If you really want to know why, ask me, and I will tell you in another story.

“What do you want today?”

“Shave my neck with a number one.”

I sat in the chair for less than three minutes. Okay, maybe four minutes. I sat down. She put a cloth around my neck, the number one blade on the razor, turned it on with her right thumb and before I could get my feet comfortable, she was finished.

The receptionist said, “That will be fifteen dollars.”

“Fifteen? You only shaved my neck.”

Then I told her about the other place only charging five. They didn’t really care what the other place did. And, that totally makes sense as it is their business: they can charge what they want. So then I approached the fee based on square inches cut.

They woman in the black robe, and the two other haircutters who came to stand beside her, kept telling me it was fifteen dollars. No matter how wise I was, they wouldn’t budge on the fee being fifteen dollars. And I refused to pay more than five.

If you have to pay fifteen dollars to get your neck shaved you might as well shave your whole head and get your money’s worth.

“I am not paying fifteen dollars. I will pay five. And five for a tip.”

Would you pay fifteen dollars for a five dollar haircut?

Then they called the manager.

She said fifteen dollars.
I said five. And five for a tip.
She said fifteen dollars.
I said five.  And five for a tip.

“Fine. Five dollars.”

I paid five dollars for the neck shave and I left a five dollar tip. And I didn’t even cry when I was talking. When I think someone is being unfair, I will often cry.

Is the customer always right?

The manager could have smiled and said, “Of course, you only had your neck done.” But she grumbled and complained and said with her words, “Fine, five dollars.” Her face said, “I am only doing this because you are a nuisance and I don’t really want your business so pay your dang five dollars and go away.”  Then, with no smile on her face, she turned and gave me her back to look at as she walked away.

She could have had a customer for the rest of her life. A customer who gets her neck shaved often, one that gets her hair trimmed, A customer who might have even paid seventeen dollars the next time she came to get her hair washed and her ends trimmed. She could have gained a customer that would have purchased their expensive shampoo. 

No, I will stick with my regular salon who charges me five dollars to shave my neck. And I won’t go back to the fifteen dollars no matter what place, every again.

Unless I want my whole head shaved.

What do you do when a place tries to charge you a fee that you think is unfair? Do you pay? Negotiate? Cry? 

Please tell me in the comments. I would love to hear from you. And let me know if would like the story of why I shave my neck. A boring but true story. Maybe it will even be funny.

About Pamela Hodges

I write slice of life stories to help you know you are loved, valuable and worthy just as you are. I am a writer, an artist, and a cleaner of seven litter boxes. I live in Pennsylvania with one husband, four cats, one dog and two birds.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • La McCoy

    We have learned to cut our own hair. No lines. no appointments. no small talk. our equipment the price of one hair cut is years old. (PS dont tell my hair dresser.)

  • DA Schuhow

    What I want to know is …..the story on why you shave your neck in the first place Pam!

    • Hello DA Schuhow,
      I must write about the why.
      After I clean the seven litters boxes and walk the dog.

  • MaryAnne

    Pamela, That’s why I only think about going to a new place to get my hair cut. I always chicken out and keep going to my same old place. It’s comfortable, routine, and I know exactly what it is going to cost me. Your right, they could have had you as a new customer but they played it the wrong way. Have a great day.

    • Hello MaryAnne,
      Trusting a new person holding a pair of scissors with your head can be very scary. What if they cut it too short? Or too long.
      Now I know to ask how much it costs. Knowing your hairdresser is much more fun. I hope you have a great day as well.

  • I was going to say “ask how much the cut will cost” but then I realized that I never ask when I get my hair cut. Granted, I go to the same guy and already know, but I’ve gone to other places when traveling and never asked. So if I thought the price was unreasonable, I’d probably haggle a bit. Or offer to work off the value of my haircut by staying and cutting other people’s hair. That would probably resolve it!!

    • John,
      You could also pull out your gun. Or would you go to jail? Local police chief waves his gun at the barber for charging to much for a haircut!
      It was totally my fault. I should have asked first. There is no law anywhere in the world that says all neck shaves must be five dollars. ( Is there a law like that in Scotts Valley?)
      I was fortunate the manager agreed to the five dollars or I would shaved my whole head.

      • I’m not sure what neck shaves cost in Scotts Valley, Pamela. My barber Erick charges a reasonable price so I leave my service gun at home!

  • Lynn

    I guess if the price is posted that is what I would pay. If the price was not posted and the shop is different than my usual place I would have asked first. I think the bottom line is each shop,has the right to charge what they want…heck look how gas stations charge what they want and they can be right across the street from one another!

    • Hello Lynn,
      The price was posted for a whole head. I guess they consider a neck the same as a whole head of hair. My mistake was in making the assumption that all salons have prices for just parts. I thought I was being reasonable. In the end they agreed to me paying five dollars. The woman who cut my hair was tipped five dollars and I have learned to always ask first.
      It is their business and they can charge whatever they want. A neck shave is sort of like asking for extra onions on your hamburger. They might just charge you extra. So ask first.

  • I am too chicken to argue on price. My aversion to conflict would keep me silent as I just handed over the $15 and chose not to go back to that place. It’s a problem, I already know. Kudos to you for standing your ground, though! On a side note, my 10-year-old daughter shaves (almost) her whole head. We do it for free at her uncles house with clippers, though.

    • Hello Jamie,
      Maybe you are not too chicken. Maybe, it is just a battle you don’t want to fight right now. Thank you for the Kudo’s. I may have had a whole shaved head if they kept insisting on the fifteen.
      And, please tell your daughter she is totally slaying the cool haircut. She is so brave to be herself. And good job Mom for letting her be herself.

  • First, I would ask if their prices were posted for public view. Then, I would ask if you checked or asked (which I assume you did not). If ‘no’ to #1, I’d say you had a case. If you fell under #2, you’re at their mercy.

    • Shelley,
      You are right. I was at their mercy. And, thankfully, she let me pay only the five. Next time I know to ask first. Not all places charge the same. I made an assumption. And I didn’t want to shave my whole head if she insisted on the fifteen.