T Gordon Salon Talks
Episode 15

Reluctant Clients: A Conversation with a Salon Customer

Tony Gordon published on

In this podcast I talk to Reid Zurlo, she is the Reluctant Client. She reviews her funny, kitschy hair salon history. If your in the salon business or if you can simply relate your salon histroy. Please take a listen. 



The Life Cycle of a Reluctant Client 

My freind Reid is a classic and yet reluctant client. She is the type who doesn't want to commit to doing her hair regularly. “it is too expensive, too time consuming.”  But the salon environment offers so many more benefits for her, the friendship, camaraderie, the calmness, the rejuvenation, the downtime from the daily grind, release from the psychosis of life, of family, divorce, drug addiction and more. Reid doesn't just come to the salon for hair, she comes for solace.

Reid like so many others wants the results of coming to the salon but not the commitment. At least that is how she intellectualizes the experience. “I hate it.” I didn’t go to salons for years she says, I was young and I let my hair go wild. This is when she was young with three young children a deadbeat husband and a nagging pain that wouldn’t go away. The pain was in her right frontal lobe. It was above the right eye and was always felt when she considered divorce. Divorce was an anathema,  a subject never to be. Now an expert, Reid runs a podcast supporting men in their time of divorce. Reid recognizes the pain as the relationship that should have never been. Is the girly salon she goes to a reaction to it all?

My sister Liz is the same, a reluctant client: too expensive, too time consuming. But being one of five generations of hair stylists-how is this even possible? Granted that she is the black sheep, the only one to not go into hair design as a career. Removed from that salon dominance, Liz is a reluctant client. She would rather be spending her time doing one thousand other things. But Liz too finds herself in need of the salon environment. This isn't just for her hair, it is her familial interactions. She lives in California and waits to get her hair done. She wants that family interaction, so she waits.  Flies into Chicago every 4 months to get her hair done spend time with her stylists; her sister in law or brother. She switches back and forth depending on conversations she needs to have.

While Liz is in the salon, she interacts with the other humans. She meets one that speaks Italian, another tells her a story of how the salon comes to her house to take care of a daughter who cant and wont leave the house.

Modern life has this potential. It is the potential to never leave the house, to become a hermit. Can’t Amazon deliver everything, bank deposits made over the cell phone, even when going from place to place you can hermetically sealed yourself in the car. The opportunity for a solo life is very real, but is this really what humans crave? When confronted with too much technology we use it to create Facebook, with the promise of social interaction. But social media  fails to deliver and just estraines us further from each other.

My future prediction is that places like salons become the go to for real social interactions. Sure you get your hair done, but also you get that mandatory dose of humanity.

Reid will tell you she goes to the salon to get her hair done and Liz will say the same, but too costly, too time consuming; it may be too costly and time consuming not to go. My theory is that human needs drive us to human interaction. The salon is one of the few places left where that can occur.


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