Owner of Luke’s Barbershop, Luke Dolan shares some home truths on shop floor cleanliness.
The BBC reported recently, and I quote, “Health and safety concerns over untrained barbers.” It’s a beautiful headline as per usual from the BBC. So, now the people that watch the BBC or look at their website are asking themselves ‘hmmm is my barber trained?’ So, now we are tarnished with the same brush. Thanks BBC, pat yourselves on the back for a job well done. Tarnish an industry in one foul swoop because one of your over paid numpties can’t dream up a better headline!
Yes, there are untrained barbers out there and no there is currently no licencing for the barber industry. I have no doubts this will change in the near future for many reasons other than the training the barber may or may not have received. Fair play to Mike Taylor from the British Barbering Association, who was on the end of the BBC report lobbying local councils to try and get them to get involved. I also saw that his interview and comments were cut short because his answers were too diplomatic and fair to everyone and so were deemed useless by the BBC, which left people looking at our industry with judgemental prejudices.
Folliculitis, impetigo, herpes, warts and MRSA are the things now that people think are linked with our industry. Awesome! So we’ll be used as excuses across the land by lads who pull the wrong bird. Boy – “Yeah, sorry love I’ve got herpes’, Girl – “OMG you cheating rat”, Boy – “Nah it’s not like that, I got it from my barber when I got my last beard trim innit”… COME ON!
This is a serious point but come on; it could have been handled so much better. Also I’d like to question how true the reports actually are from the people that have said that they caught any of these things from their barbers. How do you know? All I know is that from doing this job for 20 years one thing is constant and that is that people lie, fact. Most of the above infections are from being unclean as an individual, how many people will admit that they are minging and need to have a word with themselves and have a bath? Of course they’ll lie, “Yeah I got it from my £5 barber because he didn’t change the blade.” Think about it, the reporting in this is so vague and the only thing it does it paint us ALL in a bad light.
Last Saturday I was in my Watford store. Happily cutting away. A lady comes in with her grandson, sits and waits. 10 minutes pass and she sits her grandson in one of barber chairs and describes his cut as “As short as possible please, the shorter the better”, the boy has about three to four months growth and is about 10. She then exits the shop to go ‘shopping’ and I’d like to add, she did this FAST. My barber gets his clippers and starts to take out the bulk. He then looks at me horrified and says “Luke, come and look at this”. So I walk over and peer into this boy’s hair. Sure enough there is a family of nits jumping about. Fully grown and looking lovely. My barber says to me, “OK, what to do?” I told him, you can’t cut his hair. You need to stop now and clean all your equipment and get sorted for any further cuts. The boy leaves the chair and I prepare myself to speak to his grandmother. She enters the shop again and says “Blimey that was quick”. I talk to her quietly and explain what has happened, to keep the embarrassment and awkwardness to a minimum. Well, she goes mental. “YOU CANT LEAVE HIM LIKE THAT! HOW DARE YOU! THERE ARE NO NITS.” There were a lot of swear words as well. I did my best to calm the situation….to no avail. She stormed out of the shop, got to the door, screamed “Insert inappropriate language here” at me and punched me in the arm.
Did she know he had nits…of course she did! But when she tells her friends later what happened and why little Tommy looks like he’s been attacked with a knife and fork, it will be Luke’s Barbershop’s fault. So, is it always our fault? NO NITS NOT!