I’ve never been much of a conspiracy theorist: Roswell, black helicopters, the JFK assassination. Not really buying into it, until yesterday, when I exposed the grand daddy of them all — The Supercuts Cover Up. To understand the significance of what I revealed, you must go back a ways … to my birth. Unlike the other babies in the maternity ward, it quickly became apparent to my parents, and most of the hospital staff, that I was born with pubic hair on my head. It was a curse I would take with me through my teenage years. As other kids were parting their hair in the middle, growing Aerosmith-like locks and generally spending a lot of time shampooing and conditioning, I was having my wirey white ‘fro shaped like a set of hedges. It started with the Chia Pet rounded ball on top of my head, transitioned to the modified Gumby where I tried to part it, causing the hair to incline from left to right at a 45 degree angle, and eventually resolved itself in the straight-back let’s just keep it military-short and hope no one asks me if I’m still in basic.
Now, while I equate this ridiculously kinky and unwieldy hair with Saturdays watching “Love Boat” — instead of making out with hot Boston chicks in acid washed jeans in front of White Hen Pantry like my buddies were — it has been liberating as an adult. Why? Because I now realize that it doesn’t matter who cuts my hair — you really can’t screw it up. OK, you can, but it’s kind of like buying a house for $16,000 — there’s only so much downside. Armed with this knowledge that no matter what you do to it (my hair will always be in the D+/C- range), I have chosen not to pay men named Shane or Renaldo to cut my hair in favor of women with nametags that say things like, “Claire,” “Sante” and “Lewanda.”
Yes, I’m a Supercuts regular. Been going there for years to get the Russian roulette of haircuts. And despite what I said earlier, there have been good haircuts and bad haircuts. Occasionally, an ear has been nicked.
Which gets us to the conspiracy part. I’ve noticed recently that the downtime between Supercuts visits has been reduced. Yes, what I’m saying here, is that I need to get my hair cut more often. In fact, I looked on my Supercuts loyalty program card (the Supercuts equivalent of the Black Amex), and it was 18 days since my last haircut. Yes, 18 friggin days. Now, there’s only two possibilities: The hair on my head is growing at the same alarming rate as the hair on my ears, or Supercuts is taking less off the top. At first, I thought it was just the decision of my particular stylist du jour. But after the third visit in a row in quick succession, I think there’s something more sinister at play here. I think somewhere at the very top echelon of the Supercuts headquarters a decision has been made — a decision to cut less hair. Think of the genius. Instead of 10 to 12 haircuts a year, imagine the average customer coming in 14 to 16 times. That’s roughly a 25 percent increase in traffic. Never mind the fact that as a company you’re reducing the number of complaints about bad hair cuts, which are typically cuts where too much is taken off the top or sides. Like the marketing people who figured out how to drive sales simply by making the hole in the top of the Tabasco bottle bigger, the Supercuts folks have figured out how to profoundly affect their bottom line without running a single ad, hiring more stylists or opening new locations.
Of course, it’s also possible that my pubic hair is just growing faster in my advanced age.
Exhibit A: The hair on the top of my head.
Exhibit B: My armpit hair. Can you tell the difference?
Exhibit C: Still don’t believe? Check out this photo of short hair clippings on the floor. Granted, it’s not my hair, and it wasn’t taken at Supercuts. But still, pretty chilling.