Cutting Babci’s Hair with Dog Clippers

by Sandy L on January 16, 2012

Babci’s hair has been a constant source of discontent ever since she moved to my town 7 years ago. No matter where I take her, she finds fault in the hair salons I take her.  The last time she was due for a haircut, she decided that hair dressers didn’t know how to cut her hair and only a barber to do the job that would satisfy her.  I suspect it was because she just didn’t think it was worth paying $26 for a haircut and she knew a barber would be a lot cheaper. So, one Saturday morning, we went from barber shop to barber shop looking for a barber crazy enough to cut babci’s hair.  After barber shop #3, we finally found someone willing to give it a try.  Luckily, she reserved her commentary until we were back in the car.

As we were driving home, her first question was “how much did it cost?”  After answering, she immediately shared all her sentiments about what a terrible hair cut it was and that it wasn’t worth the money, blah, blah, blah.   I roll my eyes and try not to let her complaining get to me.  This is exactly what happens after every single time we go to a salon.  The crux of the issue is that she just doesn’t like paying for hair cuts, period.  No matter how cheap it is, or how good a job they do, she just never thinks it’s worth it and leaves disappointed.  Then about 6 weeks later at the most inopportune times, she randomly shoves scissors in my hands and begs me to cut her hair.   Most of the time I refuse, but last weekend, she finally wore me down. I only had small jobs at her house that weekend and I agreed to cut her hair after I was done with my chores.

Grossly Inadequate Hair Cutting Tools

We walk into the bathroom and she has one of those giant pair of black handle metal scissors (you know the ones that your schoolteacher had in grammar school), a rusty pair of blending shears and an electric trimmer labeled  “PET GROOMER” on it.  I didn’t actually notice that the trimmer was for pets until my mom proudly pointed it out followed by the deal she got on them at a tag sale this summer.  I picked up the scissors and tried to cut her hair. They didn’t cut her hair at all.  It was probably the first pair of scissors she saw and she grabbed them.  I complained and she directed me to a sharper pair she reserved for sewing. After about 20 minutes, I did manage to cut her hair to her liking, dog clippers and all and she was very happy.   The blending shears and dog clippers actually worked better than expected and all was well in the world again.  She said it was the best haircut she has gotten in years. I suspect it’s just because it was free and she finally was able to make use of the dog clippers that she picked up a few months before.

So, I guess I will have to add old lady barber to my list of growing talents.  I would have been happy to delegate those duties to a trained professional but it does seem to make Babci happy.   When it comes to frugal living, are haircuts one of those things you skimp on?   By the way, in my case, I was scarred for life by Babci’s horrendous bowl haircuts she used to inflict on me.  I overcompensate these days by paying a small fortune on my hair on a regular basis. I love my hairdresser Becky.  To this day, I recoil in horror anytime babci comes near me with a pair of scissors offering her services.  Twelve years of looking like a boy was enough to last a lifetime.



{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy - yesiamcheap January 16, 2012 at 5:09 PM

I’ll admit to doing my hair myself. I just couldn’t justify the cost…but dog clippers? Nope! When you mentioned it, all I could think of was the poodle that I saw being groomed the last time I took the dog in for a bath.


Sandy L January 17, 2012 at 4:08 AM

Sandy – my mom didn’t realize they were for pets when she bought them. It wasn’t til my husband read the label for her that she understood. By then, she justified the purchased and sanitized them and they did actually work just like the regular ones. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were just a relabel of the human kind.


Jacq January 16, 2012 at 5:48 PM

I trim my bangs once in awhile. The oldest kid has alopecia so has never had a haircut and the youngest gets the mom clipper treatment about 3 times a year. When he’s not trying to look like Justin Bieber that is.

I used to think it was so wonderful when my mom and grandma would come home from the beauty parlor with their backcombed, hairsprayed, bouffanty hairdos. But my hair was first cut professionally when I was about 15 or 16. Before that it was waist length braids and pin-curls. Not a good look for me. 😉


Sandy L January 17, 2012 at 4:10 AM

Jacq – trust me, Laura Ingals is a much better look than Moe on any young girl. I would have given anything for long hair back then. In fact, it wasn’t til I got bigger than my mom and I could fight her off that she finally acquiesced and let me grow my hair a little longer.


retirebyforty January 16, 2012 at 7:14 PM

I just cut baby RB40’s hair about a week ago. He looks sharp. hahaha…
I hate paying for haircuts too because they don’t do a good job. The cheap $12 haircuts always look crappy and I don’t want to pay more. Mrs. RB40 needs to learn how to cut hair.
I’ll try to send you a PM with baby’s haircut. 🙂


Sandy L January 17, 2012 at 4:12 AM

Rby40- Babci and I tried cutting my older son’s hair once. It was a squirmy disaster. Luckily my daycare lady used to be a hairdresser and fixed it up for us the next day. She couldn’t stand looking at his butcher job.


Nicoleandmaggie January 16, 2012 at 8:32 PM

I get my hair cut once or twice a year (often in Boston during a conference) and spend minimum $50 on it.

My father cut my hair for many years, but no bowl cuts! That stopped once he nicked one of my ears (in third grade?) and I appealed to my mother.


Sandy L January 17, 2012 at 4:14 AM

N+M – It must be something about being made to get homemade haircuts as a kid where you start to see the value in spending good money on them as an adult.


Linda January 16, 2012 at 9:56 PM

When I first moved into the city I used to get my hair cut at one of the local “family hair cut” places that charged $5. My hair was long with bangs and I figured the simple blunt cut trims I needed could be easily done by anyone with sharp pair of scissors. I was satisfied just fine and those places still exist around here. Is Babci against paying $5 for a cut or do such places not exist in your area?

For a few years I went all out with layered cuts, highlights, and lowlights. Then I just got sick of it and let the layers and coloring grow out. Now I spend $70 about twice a year for an excellent cut that includes cleverly placed layers that make my long hair more interesting, but don’t look awful as they grow out.


Sandy L January 17, 2012 at 4:17 AM

Linda – no, we don’t have $5 places around here. I live in a small town. When I was younger and lived in a bigger city, I tried the hair school a couple of times. They were very cheap, but still not $5. I think the thing I like about a good haircut is that I can just wash and go and it looks “done.” When you get a cheap cut, it does require a lot more time and work for most people when your hair does what it wants.


Molly January 17, 2012 at 6:32 AM

Why does this not surprise me!
I’ve had the expensive cuts and the free ones. No one in my family can tell the difference (it’s one of the many perks of having curly hair). Mike cuts my hair but he’s not the best trimmer. He likes to hack it all off. I’m slowly training my kids how to trim my hair.


Squirrelers January 17, 2012 at 9:29 AM

That’s a great story. I wouldn’t be surprised if those things were quite similar, actually, to what people use. Sometimes it’s just the labeling that can scare us off from certain products.

I have to admit, I used to pay a fair amount for haircuts. This happened for many years, and I believed that somehow it helped me in the workplace to be dressed very sharp and have a great haircut.

Now, I don’t see it that way. Sure, it’s important to look your best, but it can done on a budget and without spending much money. Accordingly, for the last few years I’ve been going to a discount haircut chain, and paying 1/2 of what I did before. Admittedly they aren’t as reliable, but most of the time it’s the same and there haven’t been any disasters. I think it looks the same, so I now realize that I previously wasted a fair amount of money. No need for most guys to waste money excessively on haircuts, just get the basics and that’s fine enough.


Nansuelee January 17, 2012 at 11:19 AM

I am glad I can get a nice hair cut in my area for $9. Some folks would not say it is not a good cut but it works for me. The biggest downfall for me is I like to have a little length to my hair and it can get to looking shaggy when I am trying to stretchout the time between cuts. I am also able to purchase my favorite hair gel at this little salon for $9 which to me is a splurge but most other salons in the area charge at least $15 for it, so I splurge on the gel too.


Mutant Supermodel January 17, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Oh my that is a great story. I don’t skimp on hair cuts because i think they’re a waste of money, i just don’t have TIME!!! I need to invest in some good scissors though because my daughter wants me to keep giving her bangs. *sigh*


Well Heeled Blog January 17, 2012 at 6:00 PM

I go to a beauty school where they take 3 hours for a wash, cut, and blow-dry, but my hair looks great and the cost is only $15. I just take a good magazine and zone out for a few hours, then take the money I saved for a nice lunch. 🙂


frugalscholar January 18, 2012 at 8:14 PM

I hate going to salons, so I am lucky that my daughter can cut hair. She cuts mine and her brother’s. Dad is bald! She also cuts hair for many of her friends at college.

My son is in France for the year and he finally had to get a haircut. He brought a pic of his last cut and said his sister did it: the guy said “She’s really good.” In French, of course.


101 Centavos January 21, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Hah! Another great Babci story. My Mom used to cut our hair when we were kids, but having worked in a hair salon, she did a pretty good job. I’ve tried my hand at cutting our oldest’s hair when we were living overseas. I definitely saw that I didn’t miss my calling.


Practical Parsimony January 26, 2012 at 4:06 AM

I cut my the hair of my son, two daughters and my husband. He even begged me to cut his hair one last time when we had gotten a divorce. I cannot imagine why he would trust me with sharp scissors that close to his eyes and jugular! Son decided when he was 12 that he wanted to go to a salon. He did, refusing to allow me to even stay. He declared he like the cut. Two weeks later he told me he wanted me to cut his hair from now on. I hate the salon–hair washing hurts my neck, shampoo stinks, product on my hair makes me break out. Before I go to bed I wash my hair so I won’t have to smell their product and have it irritate my skin. So, I walk in the salon with freshly-washed, dried hair and walk out with a fresh haircut. I live four blocks from the salon, so I go home and do whatever I want with it. It is not about the money. It’s about not having to stay in there and be tortured!

Even when I take my own shampoo, they never get it all out of the hair at the nape of the neck. I just hate each moment I am in a salon. Oh, other people like haircuts I give them, but no one else seems capable of cutting my hair!


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