Sunday, March 27, 2005

Robbed, I bin ROBBED!

Wow. Turns out that people charge different prices to cut hair, with women paying more. Call Larry Summers: either women are not bright enough to open their own hair care salons, and compete the price differential down to zero, or else there is SOMETHING DIFFERENT about men and women in terms of the level of quality and service they expect in haircuts.

Here is an excerpt from the exciting expose:

When the haircutters who charged women more than men for a basic haircut were asked why a price disparity existed between men's and women's identical services, the following responses were given--25% stated that a combination of hair length, extra time, and hairstyles were the reasons...22% attributed the length of a woman's hair...11 % stated that the extra time spent on women's hair was the main reason...9% said that women's hairstyles and the complexity of some of them were the reasons...15% replied that that's the way the prices are set or that the owners sets the prices...12% said that they did not know why women were charged more than men. The remaining 6% either hung up, said it depended on which hairdresser cut the hair, didn't want to speak about it, said that the price was a special, or said that the prices were set ". . .because a man is a man and a woman is a woman. "

These responses suggest that many haircutting establishments rely on gender-based stereotyping in setting prices for basic and comparable services. Despite the fact that Council staff informed the haircutters that both the caller and her, his boy/girlfiiend had the same length hair, these haircutters did not appear to factor this into consideration when quoting a price.


Now, those of you who have had the great pleasure of beholding Kgrease in the flesh know that (1) there is a lot of flesh, and (2) my hair is shoulder length, very curly, and with lots of blonde highlights. Some of those highlights are from the sun, but most come from chemical products applied by a trained and highly competent hairdresser. (That's right: "My name is Blonde....Fake Blonde.")

A wash/haircut/highlights job from my hairdresser costs $90, plus $15 or so tip. Turns out that is the same price my lady charges women for the "same" work.

So....I have been ripped off! I should have been charged less, 'cause I am a guy. Next time I get a 'do I'm going to drop trou and show her Mr. Winky, and demand a refund. (She might give me the money, too, out of amusement, or pity for my wife).

You might want to look at this, by Russ Roberts. He says his kids are wary. Mine are, too. Hard to have an econophile for a dad.

(Nod to RF, who wrote this)