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Team Building

What's the Weirdest Thing to Happen At Your Salon?

Stacey Soble | October 30, 2018 | 2:33 PM
The team at Rituals Salon-Spa color clients in the dark when a snowstorm leaves them without power during a holiday promotion.
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A client eager to get to her weekly appointment takes out the front window of Frangipani Hair Studio in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
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When a snake dropped from the ceiling into a client's lap at Blo in Raleigh, North Carolina, a stylist quickly swept it up and released it outside.
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Snickers the clown surprises a stylist with a bouquet on her 4th anniversary at Bella Style Salon in Slidell, Louisiana, but another team member has a fear of clowns.
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A nail technician gives birth to a healthy baby boy after her water breaks while working at Interlocks in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
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After an extreme cold snap, a raccoon finds refuge above the retail area at Urban Betty in Austin, but that's only half of the day's adventures.
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The team at Zinke Hair Studio in Boulder, Colorado, have experience dealing with an unusal client.
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The team at Bijou Salon in Skaneateles, New York, find a new temporary space when a blackout makes it hard to complete a keratin treatment.
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As salon teams face busy holiday seasons, the Salon Today team thought the timing was right for a little levity, and asked owners: "What's the weirdest thing to have happened at your salon, and how did your team deal with the situation?" Their replies make for some fascinating tales to tell at your next staff meeting:

“One of the spectacular things about living in the state of Michigan is the beauty of the change of seasons.  That being said, on rare occasions we do get weather severe enough to cause guest cancellations that affect business.  On one such occasion while experiencing a blizzard we had a married couple travel to the salon on their snowmobile, fully decked out in helmets and snowsuits, for their services.  Talk about loyal guests!”—Mary Randolph, Randolph Salons in Rochester Hills, Michigan

“It was the beginning of Zinke Hair Studio in the fall of 2011, and we met probably our strangest client to date.  A man with about four hairs on his head booked a deep conditioning treatment with one of our stylists.  When he arrived, the stylist figured the appointment had been booked wrong....but no, no, this guy really wanted a deep conditioning treatment.  His service began with a sensory journey followed by a neck and head massage, and then a relaxing shampoo.  I can't remember the reason this guy gave at the time for wanting a deep conditioner, but we all figured that he just wanted the massage.  This guy became a regular for about six months.  His visits got creepier each time, as he would comment on all the girls at the salon. He always booked a deep conditioning service, and continued making inappropriate comments. Eventually, we had to part ways as he was a security risk.”—Megan Robertson, Zinke Hair Studio in Boulder, Colorado 

“In January of 2018, Austin dropped below freezing and our salon had to shut down for one day. The next day we re-opened and we had also scheduled to have our hot water heater replaced by a tankless system. The plumber got there and informed us that we would only have the hot water that was left in the current tank for the rest of the day and the rest of the water would be room temperature for our guests. One hour later a pipe burst in the nearby neighborhood and our water was completely turned off. But guess what? That actually wasn’t the worst thing that was happening in our salon at that time. Believe it or not, we had a raccoon inside the salon hanging out above our retail shelving. Apparently since it had frozen the night before, the little guy was trying to find warmth and had crawled through a hole in the side of our AC unit and fell through the ceiling! We could see his little tail right above our retail shelves. In the midst of this we also were going out to buy gallons of water so that we could rinse out color and shampoo our guests. We called pest control to see what to do and they said that they could come in two-three hours! This is a busy time of year for them because obviously it was happening all over town and we weren’t the only ones. Who knew? In hindsight, I know the minute that we saw that tail and our water was shut off we should have closed. However in the moment and being a small business owner, you try to take care of everyone and everything and make it work. So finally the pest control guy came to the salon wrangled the racoon down out of the hidden lighting shelf and set him free outside. All of this while we were still rinsing guests’ hair with buckets of water. We now have fixed the AC hole, replaced the ceiling tiles with metal ones, and we have an amazing tankless hot water heater. In 14 years of owning a salon, I have never dealt with anything that weird/crazy before! Oh, on top of that, I had a magazine coning to do a photo shoot featuring myself and the salon.”—Chelle Neff, Urban Betty in Austin, Texas

“Once during a huge storm we had a power outage.  It was horrible outside and dark...then poof, the lights went out.  One stylist was right in the middle of a Brazillian blowout and her next step was to flat iron the hair. Her husband had a company about mile miles away and he had power. So we packed everything up, ran to his business and set up a satellite Bijou Salon in his office, finishing the service.  We were not letting that power outage stop us from getting the frizz out of her hair!”--Kim Baker, Bijou Salon in Skaneateles, New York

“We recently had one of our weekly guests run her car right into the front window of our salon. She is a loyal client who NEVER misses her appointment. In fact, she still stayed for her weekly blowout after the incident. Her husband made sure to mention that she likes to make a grand entrance!’ Following the dramatic episode, the staff and our guests were in a state of shock as you can imagine. I ran to the salon and boarded up the windows immediately. We then called the police and our insurance company, and took a fair share of photos, but in typical Frangipani fashion we continued business as usual! Because of this unfortunate accident, insurance not only paid for new windows, but supplied our storefront with brand new images, which we are very grateful for!”-- Shanna Kalynych, Frangipani Hair Studio, Inc., in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

“Like many salons, our team is a predominantly female workforce, many of child-bearing age. One of our nail techs was experiencing her first pregnancy and just had begun her maternity leave, only to become bored and fidgety at home, so she returned to the salon to help out on our front desk. Mid-shift, she suddenly felt all warm and wet, then realized her water had broken! It was the kind you only see in movies, producing a large puddle at her feet, and an upholstered chair dripping at the seams. Genuinely surprised, she sat there thinking, ‘Oh my God, what do I do now?!’ Our Manager, a mother of two, sprung into action, grabbing a robe and slippers from our Spa. Then a quick call to the hubby was made, and our manager and expectant nail tech drove off to the local hospital. A few hours later, a healthy baby boy arrived! The upholstered desk chair was the only casualty that day; we opted for a new. This scenario occurred 15 years ago, and we’ve had many expectant team members over those years… each gets a fair amount of teasing that maternity leave begins AFTER your water breaks… and that Spa Robes and Slippers are on standby!”—Ginny Eramo, Interlocks Salon in Newburyport, Massachusetts

“Studio 700 is in a downtown area, on a fairly busy street, and we are used to rescuing stray dogs quite often. However, we were never more surprised than one morning about 10 years ago, when I arrived to open the front door and there on our cute front porch was a chicken. Yes, a beautiful, full-grown chicken, sitting in the corner looking at me as if I knew what to do for her. I blinked a couple of times because I couldn’t believe my eyes and hadn’t had my coffee yes. She strutted around a bit and all I could think of was, ‘Now what?’ When I opened the door and she walked right in the salon like she had an appointment. The team started to arrive and every one oohed and ahhhed and she seemed to love it—who knew chickens liked that much attention? I finally had to call animal control. We didn’t think a chicken mascot would be appreciated by all our clients. We placed her in an upside down laundry basket, until animal control came and whisked her away from her day at the spa. To this day, we still talk about the day the chicken crossed the road to come to Studio 700.”—Tamara Segert, Studio 700 in Corona, California

“One day the bomb squad came into our salon and told everyone they had to evacuate the building immediately because there was a possible bomb outside.  We had to take our clients, with shampoo, foil and half haircuts and all in their client capes, outside and down the street.  It was quite a sight, as we are a large salon. We all stood out on the street watching the bomb disarming robot open the box in question.  It turned out to be just be a box someone had left sitting on a corner and not a bomb.”—Charlene Stratton, AYA Salons in Petaluma, California

“Two years ago we had a snake come into the space through the HVAC system. We have a floating ceiling so we could see it peek its head out over the ceiling from time to time, but we couldn’t get to it because the floating ceiling did not permit the weight of a human being to climb up on it. The tension in the salon grew as the days passed and we all tried to make light of the situation. It was just a garden snake but no one likes snakes—especially in a hair salon.  A few days passed and the unspeakable happened. The snake finally fell off the ceiling, in search of food I guess. But here’s the kicker… It fell off the ceiling ONTO A CLIENT’S LAP WHILE SHE WAS GETTING A HAIRCUT! The universe was looking out for everyone though, because the woman literally thought that the friend she was with was playing a joke and threw a rubber snake on her lap. It bounced onto the floor and because our entire team already knew about the snake, Shayna, one of our quick-thinking designers grabbed a broom and dust pan and quickly swept it up and carried it outside.  It was unbelievable.”—Bryan Nunes, Blo in Raleigh, North Carolina

“On July 19 we came into the salon to find a power outage. We had a full book with a lot of lovely ladies and dedicated stylists who all chose to get it done in the dark. I couldn’t contain myself and did a Facebook Live to document it—I was really, really proud of my team and my clients.” — Ruth Ononogbu, The Full Spectrum Salon in Murphy, Texas

“One of our strangest request came from a client when we were getting ready to open our salon back in 2004. There were plenty of clients pitching ideas of services they’d like to see offered, such as facials and massages. But this one client requested specialty bra fitting services. Although we aim to please we all agreed this was way beyond our skill set.”—Kim Hammer,  Fringe in Maplewood, New Jersey

“We had a client that we charged as a woman for years, even using the curling iron during the appointments. One time, this client was checking out and overheard a male client paying less and complained. This was when we realized She was a He.”—Kitty Tierney, Impressions in Mequon, Wisconsin

Each year on their anniversary I send team members a floral bouquet to show my appreciation. Our stylist Lorrie loves Halloween and she dresses up each year in costumes while she working, so what would be better than having Snickers the clown deliver the flowers. Lorrie and our clients loved it, but I didn’t realize our salon coordinator has a fear of clowns. You can see the video here.”—Jennifer Bellau Baudier, Bella Style Salon in Slidell, Louisiana

"A couple years ago, we had a guest come in wearing a large floppy hat. We were a little curious as to why, and when she removed the hat, we saw that she had a round brush firmly stuck on the top of her head.  At home she had tried to remove the brush from her hair, and in the process had broken the handle off!  At one point, we had three senior members of our design team standing around her trying to figure out the best way to extract the brush. After a few different attempts to get the brush out of our guest’s hair, we had no other option but to enlisted the help of our maintenance person. He had to get a tool that we could use to cut the brush bristles in order to remove it!"--Francesca Fontanelli, marketing director, Rumors Salon & Spa in Latham, New York

“I happened to be away at a training when our exciting story started with what the team thought was a clogged toilet. Six of them were trying to plunge it when they discovered the other toilet at the opposite end of the salon was also plugged. What?!? Angela, our team lead, was delivering daily tickets when she slipped on some water in the mani/pedi room. She discovered that water was from one end of the manicure room to the entire other end of the pedicure room, as well as two inches deep under all four pedicure chairs. And there was no running water. Angela ran and grabbed all the girls who were not with guests and gathered as many towels as they could to help. Getting a bucket and mop, they start sanitizing all those rooms. After a third panicked call to the plaza management office, they finally get a response. Come to find out, the pump outside to the septic system was not working, causing all the sewage-smelling water to come up through any possible outlet. While a cleaning crew was being sent, it was way too late, because the salon already had guests. After about two hours of minor inconvenience, the salon was back to work like nothing has happened.”—Luisa Gladymir Garcia, Soleil Salon and Spa in Windham, New Hampshire

"One of the weirdest days in the salon was during our biggest shopping event of the year. We plan and prepare for month for a jam-packed two days of holiday shopping and service specials. While the elves were all hustling and bustling at the peak of traffic flow, the power went out due to an unexpected and unseasonable snow storm! We lost power for more than four hours! Instead of rescheduling appointments, our clients were so accommodating by letting us move our stations closer to the windows to perform hair services. Each aesthetician was assigned an assistant to help hold camping lights in order for spa services to continue with ease. Because we had so much walk-in retail traffic, we simply wrote hand-written receipts and rang up retail orders later in the day. Luckily we were heavily staffed because we needed the help in more ways than imaginable that day! The team was so flexible and worked their ‘Christmas magic’ to help our guests receive the best care possible. We extended our specials the next weekend as a way of thanking our guests for their patience."--Sheri Polignone, Rituals Salon-Spa in Midlothian, Virginia

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