DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a busy hairstylist, and I run a tight ship where clients are seldom kept waiting. However, I am frequently kept waiting by clients who feel that it is their God-given right to be on their cell phones during their whole appointment. They are too busy talking to even greet me.
I had one such client, who walked in on the phone, talked DURING her color application, the entire processing time, her shampoo (I had to signal for her to change ears so I could properly rinse the color out), the conditioning, the final rinse and her bang trim. When I turned my blow dryer on, she snapped her fingers at me and pointed in the most imperious manner possible.
I was so flummoxed by her rudeness that I meekly turned the dryer off. I am a person who is seldom at a loss for words, but this left me speechless.
I also decided that I would no longer put up with this kind of behavior, so I wrote to her and "fired" her. I sent her check back as well and kept a copy of the letter, just in case.
I want the message to get out: Clients, do not be rude to your stylists, we are people, too, and are highly sensitive, as most artistes are!! We love to visit with our clients, and become part of their lives, so please do not treat us as nonentities by spending the bulk of your appointment chatting on your cell phone. Please limit cell use for REAL emergencies ONLY.
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners was with you, even through the part about being a sensitive artiste, which she believes to be an oxymoron. Conducting business with you must take priority over whatever else the client is doing to pass the time. It is rude for her to fail to greet you, to be unable to comply with directions, to keep you waiting and, most certainly, to snap her fingers and point. If she were committing the common offense of talking too loudly, that, too, would be rude.
But when you declare that the opposite of being treated as a nonentity is to be part of your clients' lives, and you resent their visiting with others because you want them to visit with you, you and Miss Manners part company.
You perform a professional service. No matter how many people choose to confide in their hairdressers, you cannot consider that politeness demands that all clients do so. Miss Manners would imagine that others in your business would be relieved to be allowed to go about theirs.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Today my boss told me that while I was at lunch, my daughter called twice and wanted me to return her call on her cell phone. My boss often offers her unsolicited opinions and enjoys scolding people. She said that she almost asked my daughter if she was driving while talking on her cell phone.
While I also do not approve of driving while talking, I would never reprimand my adult daughter for doing so, and it is not illegal (yet) in our area. What assertive response could my daughter make if my boss scolds her in the future?
GENTLE READER: You mean such as "Mind your own business," which, in this case, would apply literally?
Miss Manners is afraid that polite people are never permitted to use this phrase. Instead, they pronounce "How very kind of you to take an interest" so coldly as to create the same effect.