How do I survive a bad haircut

Hairdresser unpacks: "Had eleven customers today and yesterday too"

"Today I did eleven people's hair, yesterday too."

After the first lockdown, the five weeks in March and April 2020, the hard times really began for the self-employed hairdresser who wants to remain anonymous. Most of the customers stayed loyal to him, but he lost quite a few.

“There are customers who have their hair cut every week. They were in lockdown with colleagues who earned a golden nose, ”says the salon owner, who also has customers from the Unna district.

In the first lockdown, family and friends do their hair

“I strictly adhered to it,” assures the owner of a medium-sized shop in which he caters to all age groups, from toddlers to grandmothers. Yes, he admits, he had already done a good ten people's hair during the five weeks of lockdown in the spring; however only family members and close friends.

When he was allowed to reopen his barber shop on May 5th under high hygiene standards, the rush was initially immense. Everyone who had let their hair grow for weeks wanted an appointment right away.

Canceled an opening day after the lockdown

But afterwards the boss of four salaried hairdressers realized: Not everyone who used to be regulars is coming. After a few weeks he even had to cancel an opening day because the appointments became fewer, only two hairdressers were temporarily in the shop.

"We're in Germany - we're still fine."

“I'm an employer and I have to earn money,” says the master hairdresser. However, the sales were no longer sufficient for a decent livelihood for everyone. In the fall, one of his employees left him and moved to a salon closer to where he lived. “He made the decision for me,” says the boss; otherwise he would have had to fire the employee.

Great uncertainty about the emergency aid

In addition to this experience during the first lockdown, there was another that led him to break the rules in the second lockdown. If he pulls everything together, he has fixed costs of 10,000 to 11,000 euros per month. His tax advisor has calculated that he would have to reimburse the 9,000 euros in emergency aid for three months from last year in full. Shouldn't something change for the better in Berlin.

“I draw my conclusions from that,” says the man in his mid-thirties, who is the father of a three-year-old daughter. Because his wife's mini-job was also "put on hold" and a further 450 euros a month are missing from the family budget, he continued with haircutting after December 16.

Moving to a prime location is off the table for the time being

“Today I did eleven people's hair, yesterday too,” he says, who is usually a very fun-loving person, but who looks exhausted in conversation on this day in January.

"It's not responsible, but should I watch my business go to the dogs?"

Everything runs under hygienic protection precautions, his child and his wife do not come into contact with the customers. Nevertheless, the master hairdresser admits: "It's not responsible, but should I watch my business go to the dogs?"

He had planned to enlarge his salon before Corona, perhaps moving to a prime location - the plans are currently just a dream.

The hairdresser is torn. "We are in Germany - we are still fine," he says emphatically. Denial or “thinking outside the box”, he has nothing to do with it. “But where is the moral of the story?” He asks rhetorically when one is practically compelled to behave against the regulations.

Policemen come as customers

Those who sit in front of him on the barber chair do the same. Even employees of the public order office, police officers and detectives have come to his home in the past few weeks.

Solidarity is high. Sometimes there is a tip of ten euros. Nevertheless, in the end it was still a strange feeling. That so many are coming. Against the rule. “The general opinion keeps me alive,” says the master hairdresser and with this realization he comforts himself a little about his guilty conscience.