I got hooked up yesterday Jarrad over at Best Cuts. If you're in D.C. it's directly across from Howard's School of B, a few doors up from Soul Vegetarian. Anyway, news of my need of a cut floated across the Atlantic office's , and after some conversation about the Herculean task of getting a decent cut while traveling, I started to wonder why their wasn't, say, a Hair Cuttery for black men.
Now, econ is Megan's area, so I can only think from the perspective of the customer. I think I'd instantly distrust a chain barbershop, but I'm not exactly sure why. There's something very personal about the barber-client relationship. Even if I'm traveling, I generally use referrals to find a barber. There's a real risk in putting your head in the wrong dude's hands--a crooked line-up is always a problem. That said, the best haircut I ever got was when I went on BET about a year ago. They actually had a barber in the make-up room hooking dudes up for free. He was nice with his.
Anyway, it seems to me that a chain could come in and basically try to institute some quality control--like a caesar in Harlem could be caesar in West Baltimore, much like a Big Mac is the same in both neighborhoods. I don't know. Maybe there's something specific to cutting hair. Maybe it's a skill that requires specific, rare talents. I mean, very few high-end restaurants become chains.
When I interviewed Michelle Obama, I couldn't wait to ask her how Barack managed to keep his wig tight for the whole campaign. I don't think I caught dude woofin once. She said that he flew home once every week and always got his hair cut by the same dude. I wonder if they brought dude to Washington....