Hi, local Supercuts employee. We hadn’t been to your particular branch before, and after seeing how you treated our 3-year-old this past Sunday, we won’t be going back. Given that you’re apparently willing to serve very young children, we assumed that you would have some experience handling toddlers who are uncomfortable with haircuts. Clearly we were mistaken.
We fully realize that nobody relishes the experience of dealing with screaming kids. We understand the stress and difficulty of it, and we know this probably won’t be very enjoyable for anyone involved. That’s why we told you ahead of time that our youngest was prone to anxiety and crying during haircuts. If this wasn’t something you felt equipped to deal with, you could have mentioned this at the outset. We would have gladly taken him elsewhere, as we later did with our eldest, even though he would have been much better behaved for you.
But because you decided that you were willing to give our child a haircut, we believed that you – and your manager – would have a somewhat more tactful approach than repeatedly getting in his face and telling him he needs to be quiet because there are other people there. It should have been clear from the state he was in that he was not at all able to cope with what was happening. When a child is so alarmed that his only means of communication is screaming with such sustained intensity that he very well might make himself vomit, he will not be able to comprehend what you are saying.
And even if he were calm enough to understand you when you told him he had to be quiet, he still wouldn’t understand why. At that age, a child has no concept that his distress might be impacting everyone else’s enjoyment of your establishment. And as our son was sitting there, all he understood was that he was terrified. He was simply frightened out of his wits, beyond the use of language, and not amenable to reason. Please try to understand that from his perspective, there were much more pressing matters at hand than your complaints that you can’t stand the sound of children screaming.
We know that such behavior makes your job harder. That’s why my partner held him in her lap for you. That’s why I was doing my best to distract and entertain him the entire time. That’s why we told you we weren’t all that concerned about accuracy – he’s three years old, and he’s not going to be on television any time soon. That’s why, even when we do everything we can to make this as quick and easy as possible, we still put off his haircuts for as long as we can. That’s why we tipped generously even though we had no intention of ever returning.
All we hoped for was that you would show the slightest bit of professionalism as someone whose job it is to provide haircuts. We were already sorry for putting you in that situation. It’s not something we enjoy, and it’s certainly not something he enjoys. If there were a way to calm him and teach him not to be afraid, we would do it in a heartbeat. This isn’t something we want to inflict on you or anyone else. He simply needed a haircut. And everyone needs haircuts, even screaming children.
But no matter how loud he was, remember that he held still for you, the stranger who did nothing but reprimand him when his terror was out of control. He even said thank you, with tears running down his face, when you gave him a lollipop. I dare say he handled the situation better than you did. Even if you had no desire to try to make this any easier for him, simply saying nothing would have been better than what you did. And if you were concerned that his presence would impact your business, you should have been more worried about your own behavior toward a 3-year-old in front of other customers. We won’t be back, and maybe you don’t even want us back, but there will be others like our son. Think about the next fearful young child who walks through your door, and how you’re going to treat them. A little understanding goes a long way.