You can’t get your hair cut online.

After my first month here in the sunny green fields of Holland I have come to no conclusions whatsoever, as it simply isn’t possible to do so in such a short space of time. If I want to be honest with myself, and let’s be honest – who wants to do that? – then I reckon I’d probably need a few decades to be able to get a handle on things. That’s the way it is with assimilating into foreign cultures, even with a culture that has similar roots and pedigree to your own.

It’s why the entire multicultural charade is simply that: a charade. I have old Australian buddies who have lived for over 20 years in Japan. I love Japan; it is one of my favorite cultures on the planet. But they’re not Japanese, they will never be Japanese, and the kids that they have with Japanese wives are doomed to some half-breed existence, forever wandering between two half closed doors.

But while I have come to no conclusions, I have made a few brief observations of these Dutch folk. One of them is to do with shopping. The Dutch are quite possibly the tightest people on earth. As a consequence they like to shop around. They like to get a bargain. If they have the choice between a piece of merchandise of good quality and something that will fall apart a couple of minutes after you breathe on it, they’ll take the piece of rubbish if they feel like they’ve got a good deal. Afterwards they will proudly show you the junk that they purchased while boasting of how much money they saved.

However, the internet and internet shopping have taken this to new lows. I am living in a modestly sized town. It has a nice shopping hub with a number of creative and interesting shops. But the number has dwindled in the eight years since I first visited this area. The locals tend to use the shops to inspect what is on offer, but once they have decided on something they rush home to buy it cheaper online. Even more bizarrely, the same company will charge you more for an item if you purchase it from their physical location as opposed to getting it from them on the internet.

Another strange aspect is that anything purchased online has a 2 week grace period where it can be returned for a full refund with no questions asked. This is an actual law. But get the same deal from a physical shop of the same company and all bets are off; you signed the contract, it’s all yours, buddy.

I have always been of the opinion that you get the community that you deserve. With that in mind I have always tried to support local businesses as long as they were making some effort to provide me with a modicum of service. As I said to a Dutchman the other day who was boasting of buying something online after he inspected it in a shop from a different company, what happens when there are no more shops to go and look at this stuff? It’s not just the shops that won’t be there. Your children or grandchildren won’t be able to find a part time job after school where they can learn their first skills in the workplace. You won’t have a nice center to walk through and look in the windows because there won’t be any merchandise on display.

But I fear that it is already happening in this area. The most ubiquitous businesses are hairdressing salons and barbershops. They’re everywhere, there’s excellent competition, and as a result I’ve discovered the best barber I’ve ever had the pleasure of frequenting in my life. I’m rocking a cut right now that is stratospheric, man.

So if you’re a young person thinking about what part time skill you’d like to pick up, go for something that can’t be ordered online, like being a barber. Just try not to be a total cliche and turn into a raving queen while you’re at it.

5 thoughts on “You can’t get your hair cut online.

  1. I see the same trend happening in Australia. I have lived in Narrabri, NSW for 26 years and in that time our once thriving retail sector has declined significantly.

    We used to have three shoe shops, now we have none. People would go into the shoe shop, try a few on to get the size right and then order the shoes on line.

    It’s a good thing we have coal mines and coal seam gas to provide employment. And Maccas and KFC for the kids to get jobs.

    Like

  2. Bernd

    It is the same over where i live.
    But honestly, as much as these shops are complaining and as much as i want to buy some kinds of stuff in person, the shops here really suck. It is always the same. I go there “Hello, i want to buy XYZ” and get the answer “We don’t have that” or “We have to order that”, which usually takes at least a week and i have to go there again and pick it up. Have i said that i have to drive 25 min to the city center and parking is expensive?
    And i don’t talk about some special stuff, but this happened to me when i was shopping for things like a lightbulb. The Staff usually cannot answer any questions at all because they are incompetent and the stuff often is boxed or behind glass so you cannot see for yourself.
    That’s why i order a lot online, but without the bother of going to the physical stores beforehand. Usually i get what i want very fast (next day delivery is standard in most shops) and the shipping usually costs less than the parking fee.

    On the positive side some shops seem to get the message. I regularly visit a motorcycle shop and their service is really great. You can see online if they have in stock what you want to buy and even order it online for pickup in their shop. Or you can go there and if they don’t have something in stock they will send it directly to your home, no need to come back a second time. Same for stuff that is too big to transport if you are there with your bike. They give you the possibility of test riding new equipment like a helmet before purchase and are generally very competent. Also they have a service that sends your old stuff to your home. So if you buy for example a new helmet, you can put it on directly and they will send your old one to your home if you want to. That is real service. Needless to say, they get a lot of money from me.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Innovate or perish. – Adam Piggott

  4. I try to shop locally but I have a rule. Two stops without what I need, I am ordering it once I get home. This became my policy a couple years ago when I needed ink for a fountain pen. Didn’t care what brand, didn’t care whether it was a bottle or cartridges, but I went to seven stores and nobody carried anything. Wasted several hours and decided “never again”.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s