The Salon Incident

Dana MermaidYesterday, I went to the salon to have my hair done—it looks fabulous, by the way—but while I was there I had the most bizarre thing happen. A middle-aged woman came in and asked about having her hair done although she didn’t have an appointment. One of the owners, a very nice woman I have known for years, politely explained that they were completely booked for that day but that she would be happy to schedule an appointment for her.

Instead of scheduling the appointment like any sane person, the lady went berserk in a manner any Viking conquerer would admire. In a loud, demanding voice she went on a tirade about her boss letting her off from work early for this and that they simply must squeeze her in. As you can imagine, all eyes were glued to the drama unfolding. I was shocked a grown woman would act like that.

Again, one of the owners politely explained that wouldn’t be fair to the other clients who had booked their appointments in advance but that she’d be happy to schedule the next available appointment. The woman actually stomped her foot and ranted about how badly she was being treated and that she was taking her business somewhere else, causing a huge scene and slamming the door on her way out.

After she left, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t for the two owners of the salon to burst out laughing. When I asked, they both laughed and one said, “I can’t believe she was going on and on about her boss like that. That lady is self employed and works from home so she could have easily scheduled an appointment and come in anytime. But if you think that was bad, you should have been here in December.” They went on to share several tales of crazy, entitled clients from the holiday season, each one worse than the last. I sat in morbid fascination listening to horror story after horror story of middle-aged women acting like five-year-olds. Ranting and screaming, demanding that they get their hair done. Right then. Without any consideration that they didn’t have an appointment or that there was already a full schedule of clients with appointments waiting. To their minds it seemed perfectly acceptable that each stylist be working on three clients at once as long as they got their hair done when they wanted it done.

And what does all of this have to do with writing you’re wondering? Well, first I just thought it was a funny story but then I got to thinking about how we push ourselves and how other people push us to turn out stories faster and faster. It used to be enough for the big name writers to turn out one book per year. Then it was two. Now, it seems to be write-as-many-books-as-you-can-as-fast-as-you-can.

Over the last twenty years or so technology has grown at an astronomical rate. Authors used to be that mystery person behind that book you loved, but beyond reach. Now, with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, email, blogs, book tours, etc. authors are easily accessible to fans. That is wonderful because you get to hear first hand what your fans love and what they hate, but no matter how many books you have out or how fast you write them everyone still seems to say write faster, write faster.

Unfortunately, books don’t write themselves. Some stories just come together. For others, there are those elusive plot holes that take longer to resolve. And sometimes life just gets in the way, through illness, family or that damn day job. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is necessary to pull the all-nighter’s to meet deadlines, but I wonder at what point we are pushing the envelope too far and the quality of the work suffers because we are trying to get that next book out there?

16 thoughts on “The Salon Incident

  1. Amen!!! The goal seems to have shifted from ‘write the best story you can write’ to ‘write the fastest story you can write.’ It’s very frustrating!

  2. Hi Dana. Wow, what an adventurous day you had at the salon, or I should say entertaining. Makes you wonder what makes people act that way. Your salon owners need a great big sign with the Golden Rule displayed on it! How did your hairdo turn out?

  3. My hairdo was fabulous as always. The two ladies that own the salon I go to are so wonderful that I followed them to three different salons before they opened their own place. They are kind, courteous women who consistently do a wonderful job. I love that they appreciate the importance of one on one service and believe in turning out a good product rather than getting as many people through as possible. I was horrified to see someone be so rude. I like your Golden Rule idea. I said something similar yesterday about posting rules after one of the owners told me a story about a woman showing up a half hour late for her appointment and then asking the lady blow drying her hair to take a break so she could make a phone call. Grrr…

  4. Dana, this is an excellent topic, and I completely agree. You are right that it’s not “best book” anymore. There is more than one author who I used to love reading and dropped, once they got into the two-to-three-books rhythm.

    Of course, if the lady wanted her hair cut without an appointment, she could always go to Supercuts. And if I want to read a cookie cutter romance, I’ll pick up….

  5. Oh my goodness, Dana, what an amazing story! I witnessed a similar incident recently, and it just left me completely baffled how people can let such a small thing make their heads explode. There is enough in life to upset us; why go berserk over something so minor?
    I’m sure your hair looks stunning! 🙂

  6. I want to see a picture of your hair, Dana-Mermaid! I also want to see that crazy salon lady in one of your stories!

    I agree completely about writing too much, too fast. I have to say that I’ve actually noticed a decline in quality with some of my favorite authors. It’s easy to see why when I watch them on FB or Twitter all day long and know they are putting out wayyyyy too many books in one year.

  7. My daughter works in a restaurant. Reservations are made for a reason and they try to keep to the schedule. If someone had to wait long, they were offered a free drink or dessert with their meal. People took the offerings and still complained.

  8. Thanks for stopping by ladies!

    Pintip, I agree. I cannot understand letting something so minor in the grander scheme of life make you be so ugly to people.

    I have worked so crazy jobs Mary Jo, and it never ceases to amaze me how people can get so nasty with someone who ultimately doesn’t have the ability to change the circumstance. It’s so much better to be nice. 😉

    And Kerri, after hearing all of those crazy stories yesterday I think I’m going to have to write an entire book set in a beauty shop. LOL! I agree with you and Susan, I have seen a decline in the level of work of some of my favorite authors over the years. Somehow their writing just feels canned now, like it is basically the same story with different character names. It makes me sad because picking up a book by an old favorite is not necessarily a guarantee for a good read anymore. I’ll see what I can do about a picture, just not today! After all that excitement yesterday I’m back on the couch miserable again today. This version of the flu seems to be lingering for FOREVER! 🙁

    1. I was sick over Xmas but got a flu shot this morning. Hopefully that will help! Feel better, lady!!!!

  9. Dana,
    What a great story. I wish I could have seen that woman in action. Great research for that unreasonable character we all want to write. LOL.
    I know exactly what you mean about authors writing faster and faster. I’m not really sure what the appeal is for that. It’s not like I, as a reader, am going to ONLY read that author’s book. And it’s not like I’ll refuse to buy another book until that particular author’s book comes out. I would rather read the very best book that can be written, rather than a fast one that doesn’t live up to that author’s reputation.
    Great way to connect the crazy with some other type of crazy. 🙂
    Hope you feel better! And I’m glad you’re hair looks great.

  10. I have seen some people act like that, but it is rare. That self-importance and entitlement can sometimes come from having your own business, especially if you have “people.” You can really get to feeling waaaay to important. Why wouldn’t they just refuse these people service any time they walk in the door? They should. No one who acts like that should ever get service. It rewards bad behavior.

  11. Thanks for stopping by Beth! I agree, but as a small business owner it would be seen as discriminating and could lead to bad publicity for the establishment. After not getting service on demand, hopefully the crazy lady will think twice before she pulls those types of shenanigans again. 🙂

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