Hairdresser Offers Unkind Cut

by Brian on January 6, 2011

in A Parent in Israel,Only in Israel

My daughter's no dummy

I’ve written before about how our family has become addicted to GroopBuy, the Jerusalem-based knock-off of the uber-popular Groupon in the U.S. (which just raised a ton of money this week).

The GroopBuy service offers a single “deal a day” with a big discount – say, a coupon for a NIS 120 meal at a trendy eatery for only NIS 40. If enough people reserve the deal to meet a GroopBuy-set minimum, your credit card is charged and you can download your coupon. There’s usually a time limit and a certain number of coupons per person or table. We’ve purchased from GroopBuy several times and enjoyed the results.

But there’s a dark side too. In our case: the Israeli hairdresser. We bought our daughter a coupon for a NIS 200 haircut for only NIS 60. She went in this week to claim her ‘do. But when she presented the coupon at the end of her haircut, the stylist refused.

“The coupon is only for one of my workers,” Eyal Sadon, the hairdresser and owner of the shop on Emek Refaim Street bearing his name, told my daughter. “I don’t need to give away my own services, I’m very busy.”

Never mind that the coupon said NIS 200 worth of styling and Sadon was the only one in the shop who charges that. Was he pulling a bait and switch – pay NIS 60 for your coupon to get a NIS 80 cut from a trainee and maybe the teenage girl won’t notice?

My daughter called me for help and I got on the phone with Sadon. “She can get a cartisia,” he said, referring to a kind of “membership” card with 10 cuts for the price of 9. Yeah, like we were ever going to go back to him.

I stood my ground. “She doesn’t have NIS 200 with her,” I told him firmly. “She came in with her coupon and you’re going to honor it.”

Perhaps it was out of a sense that his actions wouldn’t lead to new referrals (true), or maybe the fact that, the way GroopBuy works, he already had the money in his bank account from when our credit card was charged. For whatever reason, he backed down, gave a curt “OK” and hung up the phone.

I don’t have any sage advice here. Some vendors will be honest, others scoundrels and it’s hard to know when you buy. In general, I’d recommend sticking with deals where there is a clear price for an objective service (a restaurant or an annual pass to the Jerusalem Cinemateque for half price, as offered by competing group buy site Baligam).

And avoid any too good to be true sales where ambiguity may necessitate unexpected bargaining – like with a hairdresser aiming to take an altogether unkind cut.

I ranted about Eyal Sadon on Israelity first.

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