During a recent haircut, as I took a seat in a salon chair and a stylist draped a cape over me to catch hair clippings, I couldn’t help but marvel at the amount of time wasted during this process. There’s no other activity – except for driving and sleeping – in which a human being is inert for such an extended period of time. As I pondered this dilemma, I realized I was about to unearth yet another mind-blowing epiphany.
While the stylist clipped away, I started adding up the hours in a lifetime spent getting a haircut. After a while, I gave up, as the math was making my head hurt. But I knew that if someone actually did the math, the amount of wasted time would be jaw-dropping.
Look, I don’t want to shortchange haircuts. We all need lots of moisturizing, and highlighting and ultra-firm styling gel. It’s just that it’s such a time vacuum. I actually shed a tear, thinking about all the hours wasted. As I dabbed my cheeks with the drop cloth, another epiphany emerged.
“I’ve got it!” I cried, shocking the stylist and causing her to nearly snip off my earlobe.
I ignored her apologies and the trickle of blood emanating from my ear and explained: “Because precious moments of one’s life are wasted sitting in a barber’s chair, let’s take advantage of this seemingly inactive time to do some multi-tasking. Let’s combine a haircut with another occasion when you’re just sitting around doing nothing – eating. I’m going to open a new restaurant / beauty salon. It will be called ‘Gyro & a Haircut’.”
Clips and Cucumber Sauce
The hair stylist regarded me with what I could only assume was awe. She was speechless, obviously humbled by my brilliance. As she continued snipping, I continued explaining. “It’s perfect. When you get a haircut, you’ve also got this nice cape, so you can eat a gyro without having to worry about the mess.”
“This multi-tasking could increase your productivity immensely. Think how much time this can generate,” I added. Now I tried to figure out how many precious moments you could save by combining a haircut with the eating of a gyro, but again, my mind couldn’t handle the math. But I was certain that it was a freakin’ lot of time.
The hair stylist wasn’t crazy about the idea. “What about hair falling in the gyros?” she asked.
“Only a problem if you’re eating while someone’s doing your bangs,” I replied.
“What about clean-up?”
“Just use a hose to rinse off the clipped hair and the cucumber sauce.”
The stylist voiced more disapproval. She insisted people who come in for a haircut wanted to chat and relax. I didn’t see it that way, and I bolted from the salon with a nice hairstyle and a tremendous idea that was ready to roll.
I began to set up Gyro & a Haircut. It was easy getting the storefront and the hair styling equipment. Getting the gyro supplies proved to be a tad bit more daunting, but I managed to score a few pounds of some mutton compound, and I found one of those gyro meat spits at a garage sale, of all places. I scooped it up for $2.50, and I now had my infrastructure.
Things got a little tricky when it came to hiring the help. You can find a hair stylist, and plenty of people can make a gyro, but locating an individual proficient at both is next to impossible. I decided to hire a person skilled at one of the professions, then cross-train them to do the other.
The Mutton Cutter Learns About Mousse
After two weeks of searching, it became clear that no hair stylists were willing to touch our scheme with a ten-foot pole. They were all snooty about their hair universe and close-minded about revolutionary new ideas.
I eventually hired a Greek gyro guy and cross-trained him into the hair care business. This really wasn’t all that difficult. I dropped off a few fliers at Greek restaurants, ran an ad in the paper, and soon I hired this guy named Nick. He was in his early twenties, dark-haired, and he spoke very poor English. In fact, his English was so horrible that I had to communicate via little doodles. My training document was a picture of a stick figure getting a haircut and eating a gyro. Nick seemed a little uncertain about the hair cutting part of the deal, but I give him tons of thumbs up signs and a cash advance, so he wound up being cool with the whole deal.
The next big problem was customers. Most people would not let an amateur like Nick touch their hair. However, there are always guys who don’t really care what their hair looks like, as long as the haircut is cheap. Real cheap.
I put a big sign out in front that said “Haircuts $3”. I was betting this lowball figure would be offset by the mark-up on the gyros. Guys who flock to cheap haircuts generally eat anything you put in front of them.
I decided to get some media coverage for my first customer, so I sent out some news releases. The TV cameras from three local stations lined up at 9:00 am, and we all waited for the first customer.
At 9:02 am, a man walked through the door. He said he saw the $3 sign outside. This guy was enormous, over 350 pounds on a six-foot frame, and he barely fit into our chair. His hair was scraggly, and kind of greasy. Nick eyed it with contempt. I realized I hadn’t trained Nick to ask, “How do you want it cut?” so the poor Greek was forced to point at the man’s hair and shrug.
“Just take a little off the top,” the guy said.
Then Nick pointed at the mutton, oscillating on the heating racks on the wall. “Gyro?” he asked.
The man seemed somewhat puzzled, then positively delighted. “Sure,” he said.
The Health Department Says “Heck No”
This was the high point. From there, things went progressively downhill. The customer didn’t seem to care about hair getting in his gyros, and as he shoveled the food into his mouth, the clipped bangs followed. The TV cameras captured it all, so that it looked like a series of mouse-tails were sticking out of the guy’s mouth.
Nick also got a little flustered by the cameras and the fact that this was his first haircut, and he soon mixed up his sharp objects. Eventually, he was using butcher knives on the guy’s head and trimming mutton with the feathering shears. To cap it off, the door was kicked in halfway through the haircut. Twenty men, decked out in riot gear and bearing semi-automatic weapons, slammed us up against the wall and identified themselves as the Health Department. They read us our rights, and Nick and I were hauled away.
Nick was eventually deported, and the storefront was shut down. The only thing I salvaged was the gyro spit, which I eventually resold at a garage sale for $3.50. In retrospect, things hadn’t turned out all that bad. Thanks to the sale of that gyro spit, at least I’d turned a profit.
I took my earnings and decided to treat myself for lunch. I walked up to a Greek restaurant, eyeballed the mutton on a spit in their front window, and moved along. For some reason, Chinese seemed like a much better option.
(Photo by Orin Zebest, Remix by Anna Mischio)