Threat Level Red for Local Salons

March 19, 2006 at 5:29 pm 9 comments

I had heard the recent news regarding sports arenas being desirable terrorist targets, but I have to admit I was unaware of pending threat to small hair salons.  Excerpt from my journal entry dated March 12, 2006:

Last night I got my hair cut.  Apparently I just missed some drama.  One of the stylists had a confrontation with a demanding customer.

“She wanted me to jump just because she said so,” the stylist told me later, “But I’m not a dog.”

The aggrivated stylist was the one assigned the ambigious tasks of cutting my hair (I’m never quite sure what I want to get done).

From what I could gather, the customer’s main infraction was bypassing the reception area and coming directly to the stylist to inquire about a haircut.  It didn’t sound like there was anyone at the receptionist desk (they were all eating) — so that is an offense I personally may have been able to forgive.

It does sound like the customer had an attitude.  All the stylists spelled out “B-I-T-C-H” when describing her in my presence.

So it was understandable the stylist shared a lot of griping.  It was very targeted griping until she said, “Asians and those towelheads are the worst!”

“Huh?” I said and looked at her blurry reflection in the mirror (my glasses were in my hand).

“The Asians and those towelheads, you know, the ones from India.  They always come up right to you – they never wait at the desk.”

I like how they feel the need to spell out a word that is commonly allowed on network television, but they felt completely at ease at uttering a racial slur.

“Oh.” I said.

“And those towelheads — I can’t STAND them.  The women, they cover their faces and they don’t want the men to see them, you know?  So when they come to get their haircut– they don’t want to be out here where someone can see them.  They want you to take them in the back to cut their hair.  I don’t want to take them back there– it’s a pain in the A-S-S.  I have to set up a whole chair back there [and what if they fall down back there and break a leg]?”

“Oh,” I said.  So far I thought those were legitimate concerns for a business.

“There was this one who wanted to go back there and she didn’t even have that dot on her head.  And I told her ‘No.’  I wouldn’t take her ’cause I don’t trust them.”

“Who’s that?” Another stylist said.

“Those freaking towelheads!” my stylist said.

“Oh yeah- I don’t trust them either.  They could do anything to you back there.  They could have a bomb in their purse!  I refuse to take them.”

[“Where do they go then?” I asked.

“Not here,” my stylist said, “They probably go around and ask the other salons in the mall to see if they will take them.  I bet no one takes them.”]

The conversation soon drifted back to the B-I-T-C-H but they kept coming back to the notion that one of those poor women who are merely looking to retain their dignity and get a haircut is going to attack them with a bomb in their purse.

I definitely wanted to say something but I had to choose my words wisely.  Afterall this woman I wanted to reprimand was holding sharp scissors– and the future of my hair in her hands.

So I settled on saying, “Well the way I think of it is a bomb is an awful lot of trouble to take out one hair salon.  There are much better targets.”

My stylist didn’t even skip a beat.  “This mall does get really crowded, you know.”

I still maintain there is a vast difference between New River Valley mall and sports arenas, public transportation systems, federal buildings… and pretty much any other mall in America.

So I believe the stylists are all going to continue their fears and biases – no matter how silly they are.

Actually, I think I’m going to write the manager a letter.  Racial slurs have no business in a place of business.  It won’t change the the stylists’ souls by any means.  But at least they won’t believe their behavior to be acceptable by all.

Here’s another thing that surprised me.  After all the speculation on the “towelheads” my stylist returned her bitter lips to the earlier customer.

“It’s just as well [the customer stormed out],” she said, “I didn’t want to serve her anyway.  I’ve seen her in here before and she looks like a person who’d be prejudiced against me.”

I’ve read before that when a spouse starts getting really jealous and suspicious that his/her partner is cheating on them — that is often a sign that the spouse, not the partner, is the one cheating!

I guess the same thing may be true to those with prejudices.  They know what hatred lies in their own hearts so it is easy to suspect the same of others.



Entry filed under: Journal Excerpt, Racism.

Word 2003 Header and Footer Field Refresh for Multiple Section Documents A Mini-Lesson from a Mini-Dump

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clint  |  March 22, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    I actually think by not storming out of there right then and there, that you encourage this behaviour in the future, slightly, via passive complicity. The least you could do would be to write the manager informing you are never going back to that estblishment. The most you could do would be to walk right out of there right then, point out her hypocrisy, and tell her to wake the fuck up from her fantasy reality! And this blog — it should state the name and address of said establishment!


  • 2. Clint  |  March 22, 2006 at 1:25 pm

    P.S. If I sound harsh, it is because I am passionate. (As usual.)

  • 3. tgaw  |  March 22, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Wow, thanks for commenting! I think you’re right– I took too forgiving of an approach. I’m definitely writing a letter— and as for the business name:

    Regis Salon
    New River Valley Mall
    Christiansburg, VA


  • 4. Sally  |  April 13, 2007 at 8:58 am

    I think this blog comment was taken a little too far. I go to the Regis salon to get my hair done frequently and I have never had any encounters like that. Its funny how you remember quote for quote, word for word what the woman said. Seems a little fishy to me. I think its ironic that blog comment was about judging people and that’s exactly what your doing. You can’t judge a whole salon on one encounter, much less the whole New River Valley. How many times did you go there? Once?

  • 5. Sally  |  April 13, 2007 at 8:59 am

    and oh yeah stylists aren’t the only ones with fears and biases. YOU are too

  • 6. Ombudsman  |  April 13, 2007 at 9:57 am

    What seems fishy to you? Are you accusing TGAW of fabricating this? Where is she judging the entire salon? She clearly said that she might contact the manager, which indicates she does *not* judge the entire salon. She wants the manager to know that an employee is acting outside the normal standards of the company, which means TGAW understands that this is not within those standards. When you graduate from high school in a few years and get a job, you’ll be told by your employer that when you interface with customers, you become a representative of the business, and therefore need to act in a manner that does not discourage the customers from returning. What is with questioning everything she is saying? Who reads the blog of someone they think is lying about everything?

  • 7. tgaw  |  April 13, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Thank you for posting and an opportunity to discuss more. I do disagree with your thoughts. I do not think this blog post or the following comments stepped over a line. Racism is at the heart of some of the worst sins of mankind. The masses turning a blind eye, pretending prejudices were harmless and thus acquiescing to the underlying hate is exactly how little slurs escalate to atrocities like the Genocide of the Native Americans, the Holocaust and lynchings throughout the American South.

    I choose not to turn a blind eye.

    Furthermore, I see a distinct difference between calling out someone on racism and racism itself. I’ve drawn my conclusions about actual people that were there based on actual events and actual things said. I’m not drawing a conclusion on an entire race of people based on nothing that race has collectively said. I’m not refusing to serve hairstylists and I’m not scared that a hairstylist is going to accoust me in the back of my building with scissors in her purse.

    As far as the salon itself, I do believe there a bit of responsibility lies there. The salon chooses what individuals they hire. Since there were multiple employees involved in this incident this indicates the organization, knowingly or not, has produced a culture where the employees feel it is acceptable and right to use racial slurs in front of customers.

    That behavior is NOT acceptable and just.

    That said, from my religious upbringing, I believe in repentence and forgiveness and from my professional life I believe in corrective actions and continuous improvement. As such, I believe there is hope for the Regis Salon. Similiarly, I believe there is hope you could come to understand the vast difference between my comments and theirs.

    I believe this topic warrants a lot more discussion, but my time is limited. I will part for now with a quote I find fitting. It’s from a NOFX song called American Errorist:

    “It’s okay, allow yourself a little hate
    Hatred is not so bad when directed at injustice
    You can turn the other cheek, but don’t turn the other way”


    P.S. That NOFX quote is also a quote from memory. It’s amazing how the human mind works– we were given this ability to actually remember things that were said that have impacted us.

  • 8. Clint  |  April 15, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    @Ombudsman: Kick-ass comments.

    @Vicky/TGAW: Couldn’t agree more. YOu said it right.

    @Sally: Maybe the whole world isn’t quite as retarded as you.

    There are people who have memorized Pi to 20,000 decimals. I memorized Robert Frost’s “The Road Less Travelled” in under an hour, and remembered every word of it for around 10 years.

    Quite simply, questioning the fact that someone can remember something they quoted is pretty damn lame unless you were there and knew for a fact that the hairstylist said something else.

    So, Sally, were you there? No. I didn’t think so.

    Methinks Sally is a shill for the Regis Salon in New River Valley Mall, Christiansburg, VA.

    And the fact that there is rampant racism in what is basically a redneck town (sorry) is of absolutely no surprise to me; racism levels are often higher in rural areas where people are less exposed to other cultures.

    “Y’all ain’t from ’round here, are ye?”

    Not that the cities and suburbs are much better… but something about living in rural America brings out the worst in some people.

  • 9. Marylyn Rishty  |  December 18, 2012 at 12:46 am

    hair salons are quite useful if you are in a hurry…

    Our favorite web page


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