A simple trip to a hairdresser in Yambol evokes such a conundrum of incidents since I have been living in Bulgaria. Each time there is a story to tell, this one has a funny ending or in a strange way proving that crime doesn't pay.
There is a hairdresser I regularly go to which is run by a Turkish couple, most clients opt for he man and often wait until he is free. This is not because he is a better hairdresser, it is just that men prefer men cutting their hair in Bulgaria. Is this sexist? I find ti refreshing that there is still choice that exists. Is it any different from picking one of two men at then end of the day. If there where two women would the hairdressing business close, it is not a hairdressing saloon just a plain barber shop? Nevertheless The woman is usually always free in view of this and I use her as I'm not too fussed about whether a man or woman cuts my hear.
Every time I visit I am accompanied by Galia and the routine is exactly the same each time. this is namely to have the cut short on the left and right side as well as the back but only a little trimmed on the top. I explain this each time in Bulgarian and it is understood and implemented.
When the work is finished I hand over 4 leva and thank you to the woman. All is fine and everyone happy.. No issues, simple transaction of service for cash which incidentally is clearly advertised on the wall in the shop. I do know that because Galia is there there will be no issues anyway. Often I do wander what would happen if she wasn't present with me. Actually I have been to other local hairdressers many time on my own and there is a prejudice on many occasions, so would the same thing happen?
Today, I went to this particular hairdressers on my own for the first time since have been back here in Bulgaria in April this year. My gut feeling was it wouldn't be the same without Galia. The woman was free and a little queue waiting for the man, normal as mentioned earlier. I was invited to take the woman's chair ready for the work to begin. I explained yet again in Bulgarian what I wanted. This was understood and the work commenced.
All completed and dusted down, I rose and fetched a 10 lev noted from my wallet handing it over. The woman gingerly felt into her pouch on her apron and slowly raised up a brownish pink coloured 5 lev note. My mind was thinking is there a 1 lev coin held and hidden on the back of the note being handed to me? I looked her in the eye and it was a slightly nervy look she held on her face. With this expression and body language I knew it was a sole 5 leva note being passed over. She was trying it on, and who can blame her for trying as I imagine most would just accept that as it is the British way to just complain after they have left the scene.
Against my British cultured ways, I questioned why the cost was 5 lev and not 4 lev and also pointed and referred to the price list on the wall. She explained that she did a little extra work with my hair on the top. Now I know what she did, and it was exactly the same as all the other times I came here with Galia and was charged the normal going rate of 4 lev.
All said and done she was trying to rip me off for an extra 1 lev and the only reason this was the case that I can think of is that I was not Bulgarian. As stated before, you can't blame her, 1 lev would buy a loaf of bread and give change with it.
Will I go there again? Of course I will because now she knows I will not be tried to be ripped off again. I'm sure she will remember me. The question is, will she lower the standard of cut in retaliation? Only time will tell. If she does, then I think I will do like so many other there and wait for the man to do the cut.
The funniest thing about this event is if she hadn't had tried to rip me off I would have probably given here a 1 lev tip in anycase.