Setting The Tone For Good Shop Etiquette
The Barbershop is traditionally viewed as a place where men can be men. A place where you can speak about sports, politics, culture, family, ...and sometimes even women. Because it has been lauded as this place of masculine freedom, opinions vary on what that actually means.
I was in the shop the other day having a conversation with a client when he began speaking about a situation that was on-topic, but his perspective was mildly inappropriate and language colorful. I shot a glance to my left, aware that a young boy was standing near by- pretending to sweep the shop as his father got his hair cut.
I could have either said something to the guy, potentially offending him and possibly risking him not coming back, or said nothing - allowing him to continue talking and potentially offend nearby clientele as well as introducing someone's child to concepts they shouldn't be aware even exist.
Ultimately I told him to be aware of the kid right next to us as professionally as I could. He was offended, but he stopped.
Clients have to be aware that even though a barbershop is an open space to vent its still a business and if I'm renting space my chair is my storefront. My job is to service the people that patronize me. To ensure that I can do that effectively, the environment I create has to convince them that this is ultimately the best place for them and their families.
The barber has to set the tone and standard for the shop or there will be none. It’s great to talk freely about life - but if the conversation doesn’t align with the values of the establishment you’re working in it’s best for you to just change the subject.