I scamper from table-to-table weekly, entertaining people, and periodically I come across a group of people that, well for lack of works, aren’t interested. It does not matter what I say, do, or create; I get the feeling of “just leaves us alone.” I do not take it personally; there could be a hundred reasons why they are not interested in the entertainment that evening. It is a vibe you pick up from years of dealing with people.
This story leads me to this month’s adventure to get a haircut at Sports Clips, a barbershop for men. Recently, I have started dreading sitting down in the barber’s chair.
It is not the place, atmosphere, or even the task of getting a hair cut; it is the stylist’s who insists on making small talk. “So do you have the day off?” “Do you have kids?” “What are you doing this weekend?” “Are you ready for (insert sports teams) season?” It is as if they only know one thing — ask questions.
Now, I have tried to give subtle hints. I give one-word answers, intensely watch whatever sports are playing on the TV and 90% of the time I close my eyes and try to relax. After all, it is just a haircut, why not take a 30-second nap. It’s not like I need to chat the girl up to get a phone number since my wife would frown upon that. It is not like I’m sitting at a bar wanting to discuss sport team statistics. I just came in for a quick haircut.
I know the pain of trying to be sociable and create a conversation and make a connection with the guest. As an entertainer, I understand. But, get a grip, learn to read your customers reactions.
When I was first starting, I worked very hard to get every person to respond and participate. However, as I matured as an entertainer, I learned you can remove the chitchat and still thoroughly entertain an audience.
Not sure if I need to find a mature stylist, wear earplugs, or grow my hair out and skip haircuts altogether. All I know is, I feel like that group who see me coming and wants to be left alone.