Every two-weeks for 20 years I visited my barber Alex at the Katonah Barber Shop.
It was Alex’s job to stop me from looking like a bald guy with steel wool growing out of his ears.
He did the best he could.
Alex was one several Russian Jews who emigrated to the US together, settled in Queens, NY and opened a barber shop in upstate Katonah. A long way to come just to cut my hair but none-the-less, I always felt warmly connected to this group of Russian-Jewish men. With their heavily accented English, warm visages and propensity to kibitz (Yiddish for “bust your chops”), any one of them could have played my grandfather Harry or any of his siblings in a movie about their lives.
More than a haircut but a 30-minute journey to my past! Always ready to make you smile, Alex even let Buck trim my hair once! Here's your proof!
Alex and his Cossacks made it tough to leave them. After we moved to Stamford, it took months of driving to Katonah in the winter just to get a haircut and shave, before I was ready to change my behavior-and part ways with Alex.
I found Junior right here in Stamford. Like Alex in Katonah, Junior's shop was close enough to walk to on a nice day. Though not possessing Alex’s talent with a blade, I liked going to Junior. Junior's English was so bad that we didn't even try to create conversation. As long as I could say "numero quatro"....Junior could figure out the rest.
While I missed the Russian banter, I learned to enjoy the quiet time I spent in Junior's chair.
You all think about your barbers this much too, right?
A few weeks after Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont closed the barbers due to the coronavirus outbreak, I was desperate for a haircut. But with all the barbers in New York and Connecticut closed, it was time to grab my beard trimmer and get to work on my runaway locks.
Angered at the thought that I had to cut my own hair!
Yesterday, I gave myself my second pandemic-cut. When I turned the blade on I remember thinking "I can't believe I have to do this again!"
When I was done though I remember thinking “I can’t believe I can do this myself and save $60 a month!”
In an instant, a behavior which took me over 30-years to make a habit; was gone!
I was patterned to go to Alex for my cuts. I liked him and his work. I had only left him because of my change in circumstance: We had moved! If only Alex could have had a barber shop right where I was at the exact moment I realized I needed a barber?
My guest this week on the “Mark, My Words!” podcast is Jean Hauser. Jean is the owner of the 5-store chain THE Color House, in Cranston, RI. The Color House stores have remained busy during much the Covid-19 outbreak. When I asked her why she felt that that was the case, she didn’t hesitate: Her e-commerce strategy has been a “game changer!” You can listen to the episode here: