by Bob Bekins
What my barber taught me.
Conversations – he would stop mid sentence to let me interrupt him. In his opinion, my input was more important than his. Beyond that, he genuinely wanted to know what I thought about things. He would comment, “Interesting” or “Wow” or “I never heard that before.” I always left thinking what a great talker he was though I was the one that said the most words.
Perfection – He never overbooked himself. It was more important to get the job right than to rush on to the next person. If my condition changed, he would modified his approach to suit the needs of the situation. If I had showered three days ago, he would microwave a wet towel and remove the excess oil from my hair so he could do a proper cut. He finished my neck at the third level with a beard shaver so I wouldn’t have to come back too soon. My time was very valuable, and he respected that.
Gratitude – Mel always thanked me for coming in. There were times when I could not afford a tip, and his tone of appreciation didn’t falter even one percent.
Interest – He always found my stories fascinating and his interest was genuine. He was quite a student of the human condition, and his clients learned as much from him as he did from them. He was a better psychologist than any professional I ever paid to examine my thoughts.
Attitude – I can’t remember him complaining even once about his condition. Because of his age, there were times when it was hard from him to do the work. When his health failed him from time to time, it was he who apologized to me for not being able to cut my hair when I needed it.
Customer Service – my doggone neck hair always seemed to grow faster than the hair above it. Without charge, Mel would say, “Come on by and get a neck trim if you need it.” I was in and out in ten minutes and looked great again for another two weeks until I needed to go back for the full cut.
Human Novertur – Mel was constantly putting people together. No, not romantic unions, just people that needed help with those that could help them. He would say, “You know Howard is not feeling well. You should go see him.” “I know this guy that is good at that. Let me give you his number.”
Complimentary – He would always tell me what a great guy I was. Mel complimented my skills in business and life. I always felt on top of the world when I left his chair with more energy than when I had arrived.
My Goal is to be more like Mel. Thankfully, I continue to learn from him every three or four weeks with an occasional neck trim classroom session in between.