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  • Writer's pictureEmmi

The Cancellation Conundrum

In recent years, the legitimacy of a career in the hair industry has certainly intensified. What was once looked at as a path for avoiding the hardships of academia (think Frankie Avalon’s Grease classic “Beauty school dropout, go back to high school”) has become a celebrated outlet for creatives and niche services. Despite the growing appreciation of hair stylists, it is still seen by many in the field as taboo to enforce any kind of consequence on those that do not respect our time.

RE: The Cancellation Conundrum

CC: All of my no-shows

Think of any appointment that you have to schedule for yourself. This could be the dentist, the chiropractor, or any professional field that requires you sign up for a specific time slot in order to receive your service. Each of these offices enacts a common practice cancellation policy onto their customers/patients/clients/etc. This policy usually requires at least 24 hours notice of cancellation, as well as a charge being placed on the account for anyone that does not show up. Hell, I am even charged a fee if I cancel my spin class within a certain window of time. So why is it that cosmetologists do not feel comfortable or worthy of doing the same? Our time is valuable, and for the majority of salons across the nation we receive no compensation when our chair is empty. That balayage appointment you booked whimsically through Instagram becomes three hours of unpaid time for the professional when you fail to notify them that you will no longer be attending. Many of us are operating extremely tight schedules, and the added obstacle of COVID-19 restrictions and sanitation criteria have made accommodating clients that much more difficult.

The fear of enacting consequences onto clients stems from the possibility of upsetting the customer and therefore losing their business. While this fear is valid, it upholds the notion that we can be disrespected of our time. We are so worried about upsetting people that were seemingly not worried about showing up in the first place. It suggests that our time is not as valuable as other professionals, and perpetuates the narrative that our work is not to be taken seriously. Don’t people have to first BE a customer to receive customer service? If a client is looking to get their hair done and chooses to book out the timing of a luxury service, they should be happy to keep a credit card on file to ensure their scheduled time slot, creating accountability for the client as well as the stylist. After spending the last 5 years completing multiple apprenticeships and investing thousands in education to get to the point I am at today, I finally feel worthy of doing this for myself.

Stylists, do you have your own cancellation policy?

Clients, does the idea of a cancellation policy make you run the other way?

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