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August 27, 2009

Save 50 percent on a haircut?

A few months ago, I was taking a walk when I saw a woman from a distance and I had one thought: I want her hair. I want that long thick mass of spun gold. True, the color would wash me out, but the shape, the look, the line, and the style were absolute perfection.

"Excuse me, where do you get your haircut?" I asked, after following and finally approaching her.

"Oh!" She seemed a bit surprised. "I haven't had a haircut in like three months!"

"Your hair looks amazing."

"Wow, thank you. I get it cut with Marcus. Salon de Marcus. He just opened a new salon downtown, on 2nd and Broadway. He gives the best haircuts I've ever had in my life."

"Sounds good. Thank you!"

A few days later, I walked into the salon to check it out and my heart sank. The broad staircase and Versace style Medusa head above the tall door totally turned me off. They screamed one thing: "Money. I got it, and you better too, if you want a piece of me." So did the "de," which made me think he's wannabe European nobility and probably making his clients pay for the purchase of a title. The only welcoming hint was a "just opened" sign outside. Perhaps they were offering some specials...?

I walked up to the receptionist and asked how much a haircut costs -- "$275" I heard -- and quickly turned on my heels.

No haircut is worth that much. Not that I have that kind of money to begin with.

Fast forward to this evening. I've been looking for a new stylist, because mine is just okay. For $70, she does a good job, but nothing that leaves me ooing and aahing. I cut my hair very rarely, so when I do I need it to be fantastic. I've been spoiled by salons in other cities, but no one to rave about in San Diego.

I figure have two choices: look for someone in the same price range, but better -- or find someone cheaper!! Tough times, kids.

I checked out some reviews, made some calls, and finally, inspired by a coupon I saw online, I gave in and decided to try Salon de Marcus one last time. I opted for a phone call.

"Salon de Marcus."

"Hi. I've heard some great things about your salon, and I'm interested in getting my hair cut with you. What is the price range?"

"They start at $55." That sounded MUCH better. Was the first receptionist just messing with me, did I mishear, or have they lowered their prices since that opening week?

"And would that be with Marcus?"

"No, that would be with one of our stylists."

"Ok, I see. And how much does Marcus charge?"


"I see." Thwarted, again. But, why not suss things out? "That's unfortunately out of my price range. Can I ask you a question? Is there ever a chance to work with Marcus for a reduced rate? I know sometimes salons look for models, or they use guinea pigs to teach new styles. Does he ever do that?"

(This info was new to me. Just today I found out that another expensive salon charges $20 for haircuts with the "master stylist," but you have to be willing to do something crazy to your hair. That's not me. Buying one way plane tickets, eating raw shellfish off the street in Mexico, or volunteering to fix a bus in a hailstorm crazy? Bring it on. But a mullet or lime green bangs? Nooooo..)

"Oh, sorry, actually we just finished all the shooting for our promotional photos." She sounded nice, not annoyed. Keep trying...

"Oh, it's just that I've heard Marcus is amazing, and I'd so love to get a haircut with him, but honestly that's out of my budget. I simply can't afford that. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but finances are an important factor for me. Are there maybe any specials, now or the future?"

"Well, he only charges half price for his first haircut."


"Yeah, the first haircut is half off."


"Yes. Would this be your first time with us?"

"Yes! So that would be $75?" Just had to double check.


"Wonderful! Sign me up!!! Thanks for the scoop!!"

Funny she didn't mention the discount right off the bat.

We set my appointment for Saturday. I don't think I've ever been this excited about a haircut before. Ever.

Result: I will save $75 off of a $150 haircut.

Indeed, it will cost more than my current salon. But that woman's hair looked amazing. And it's with a man dubbed "by far the best hairstylist I have ever been to" on the (alas unreliable) Yelp. And I haven't touched my hair since November!!!

My tresses are in deep need of some expert attention, and I think the money will go a lot further under the exquisite care "de Marcus."

Maybe I'll upload a photo -- from behind. Teehee.
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