Why playing the field is good for your relationship

I’ve strayed. Tasted the forbidden fruit. Discovered the grass is not greener. And I want to come back…

But I haven’t been able to summon the courage to return to my hairdresser.

You know how these things happen: a funky barber shop opens up round the corner. you’re enticed by its plush, overstuffed waiting couch, enamored by it’s old-school barber chair, seduced by its general air of vintage chic and rarified cool.

A month passes, the experience fades, and a few cracks are showing in the mop. The haircut’s not aging like a fine wine; more like a Polish car.

And then….regret sets in. A hint of paranoia surfaces: “He’ll know I’ve been somewhere else, he’ll ask me who’s been cutting my hair. He could barely camouflage his disdain when I went in with the ‘holiday haircut’ I’d got while in Coffs Harbour”. I don’t think I can go back now…

I reckon one of the worst things a business operator can say to a customer is, “haven’t seen you in a while.” There may be no malice in the statement, but it can set off a defensiveness in the customer. This is crazy, I know. After all, the business operator’s been playing the field with anyone who walks through the door, while the customer carries an unexplained guilt arising from his lack of monogamy.

Hey, seeing other people might not be such a bad thing. The other morning I tried a different cafe for my morning jolt. The coffee was fine, but the lack of friendly attention renewed my appreciation for what my local was offering.

I hate it when a business can’t help me with something, but they won’t give me a referral to somewhere that might be able to. I’d actually be a lot more likely to return to them because they were able to solve my problem.

If you’re running a great business you should be open to your customers playing the field. It will remind them of how good you are.

So, travel widely, eat from many tables, greet each other like old friends when you reconnect, and enjoy the moment for what it is.

Ok, I think I’m ready to give my hairdresser a call…

© Ryan Spanger 2010

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3 Responses to “Why playing the field is good for your relationship”

  1. On 09/06/2010 at 5:04 AM Adrian Elton responded with... #

    ‘Leon The Barber’ is a harsh and vengeful craftsmen of the follicle so I think you’d be well advised to burn it all off first, citing a freak lightning hit than risk the ire of his unforgiving steely scissors.

  2. On 05/10/2010 at 11:55 PM Damian Newton responded with... #

    I need a haircut…

  3. On 20/10/2010 at 4:26 PM Cindy Schulz responded with... #

    Hi Matt,
    you don’t know me, but I heard you speak and saw some of your work at Ivanhoe Photographic Society some time ago. Still have the bookmarks!!

    I enjoyed this post. It made me think of my dad who is a retired barber. Brought a smile to my dial! He used to “crucify” regulars who went elsewhere and then returned, with his sarcastic wit. They never strayed again….or never came back!!

    Anyway, if you get desperate…he taught me to cut hair!! (LOL)

    By the way, I love your photography and enjoy your blog. Thought it was about time I stopped being the “silent watcher”.

    Reading your blogs and newsletters and watching your web page encourages me and inspires me to try to be better. Thanks,

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