Monday, May 17, 2010
Lessons learned in a barber chair
PHOTO: Lessons are learned everywhere, even sitting in George’s barber chair.
Sometimes the best lessons are learned when you are doing something else. Like when getting a haircut.
I thought I had given up the vinyl chairs and linoleum floors of the classic barbershop, those man caves of Sportsman magazines and Fitch hair tonic. Like most men in my generation, I had migrated my hair care duties to the scents and soft lights of the styling salon.
But one day I had a frustrating time getting my hairs clipped. I started at one of those quick cut joints that advertised “Walk-ins welcome.” I walked in, wrote my name on the list, watched three people come in after me get served first, and walked out.
Next stop was at a salon, where they promised to work me in. But the fussy big-haired lady before me wasn’t ready to be worked out. I left in consternation and roared down the road, ready to go to a dog trimmer just to get the job done.
That was when I saw the banner, tied on an old pickup truck. It read in white and blue: Barbershop.
Long on hair and short on time, I pulled in, walked in, and sat in the familiar upholstered chair, giving myself over to the no nonsense sensibility of George. Then George did an amazing thing - he cut my hair.
And I’ve gone back to George for over two years, even following him when he changed shops. After thoroughly hashing over every popular topic - music, politics, the economy, taxes, even a bit of religion - one day I asked George a simple question: What made him such a popular barber?
He stopped snipping and stared out the window. The fan buzzed. The radio played. Then, as if realizing it for the first time, he said this:
“I solve people’s hair problems.”
I hadn’t expected that answer.
He went on.
He told me how everyone has something they don’t like about their hair. His job is to figure out what that problem is, then fix it.
Some barbers learn one style of haircut, then give that same haircut to everyone who sits in their chair. George listens to what his clients say about their hair. Then he uses that information to guide his scissors.
How simple. How profound.
George’s philosophy is the foundation of success. It is the same thinking that drives business and personal relationships alike. Sears doesn’t sell drill bits; it sells holes. Southwest Airlines doesn’t sell plane tickets; it sells relationships and reunions. A nursery doesn’t sell trees; it sells shade.
And at Club Ed, we don’t sell classes. We offer creative solutions to your self-improvement desires. Club Ed helps you grow a Texas garden, sing a solo, dance the two-step, speak another language, or cook a 4-course meal, and more. We are filling that hole - that “yearning” for lifelong learning.
It’s about keeping the world open to learning, whenever and wherever it happens. Even in a barber chair on a clipping-covered linoleum floor.
Club Ed offers hundreds of classes to solve your learning desires. Right now our summer camps and classes for kids and adults are open. To sign up, visit www.clubed.net or call 830-895-4386.
Club Ed is the Community Education program of the Kerrville Independent School District. Each year, we offer more than 400 classes with 3000 enrollments. The fall session begins in September. To sign up, ask a question, suggest a class, or apply to teach, call 830-895-4386, or visit www.clubed.net. Comment online at clubedcomments.blogspot.com, or follow us on Twitter @clubedtx.