Monday, February 21, 2011

Second Chances

By Christine Clark

“I am the queen of second chances,” I advised a young man who wanted to renew a relationship with one of my daughters. I also warned him: “I once was queen of third, fourth, and fifth chances, but not anymore.” Determining whether to extend a second chance can involve serious, life-altering incidents. Second chances can also be less intense—a teacher might give a student a second chance at a test or an essay. When deciding whether to extend a second chance, always consider the circumstances.
About a month ago, I gave a local business a second chance, a scary prospect when your appearance is involved—in this case, my hair. My natural blonde color disappeared by age 34, when I first had my hair highlighted—a fancy way of saying bleached. Since then, three salon visits ended with orange hair because the stylist did not leave the bleach on long enough to lighten my hair. Four years ago when my daughter Tarah became a stylist, I figured I would never have orange hair again. I didn’t until I moved 1300 miles away and went off the family hair plan. To find someone local, I checked the Internet for a recommendation, and made an appointment.
Moments after I sat in the salon chair, my stylist said she had completed school only four months earlier, and her mother had recommended her on the Internet. That concerned me, but Tarah worked in a high-end salon just a few months out of school and she was (and is) a superb stylist. Mothers know best—sometimes. My concern increased when the stylist did not sit me under the hair dryer for the bleach to work (other stylists always did). After she washed my hair and applied a color toner twice, I started to worry. After she combed out my hair, I saw the golden orange cast and got really worried, but she said the color complemented my skin tone. She put some shiny goo on it, and it looked okay, so I thought the orange glow might be from the salon lighting.
My home mirror confirmed that my hair indeed was orange. Tarah told me to wash it three times with a toner-removing shampoo. Didn’t help. She next had me apply a bleach, peroxide, and shampoo emulsion that should have revealed the highlights. I did that—no highlights—orange hair. I had wasted money on expensive highlights. I could not fly to Massachusetts for Tarah to fix the mess and color correction at another salon would be extra-expensive. 
The few times in the past I had returned to salons for color correction, my hair remained orange, so I was reluctant to contact the salon. Reluctance aside, I wanted my hair to be fixed, so I e-mailed the salon. I was surprised to receive the salon owner’s professional, polite apology and refund offer. She (I’ll call her Tressa) noted that mistakes can become learning opportunities, she had 20 years of experience doing highlights, and she offered to fix my hair. Her saying that she wanted me to “love my hair,” clinched my decision to give them a second chance.
The younger stylist obviously felt awkward when I returned because she stayed in the back of the salon. I was relieved when Tressa sat me under the dryer to be certain the bleach lightened my hair. As I unwrapped the towel from my shampooed hair, I was delighted to see blonde streaks. Tressa did such an excellent job styling my hair that I avoided washing it for days because it never looks that good when I style it.
My hair color is not exactly how I prefer it. To correct the orange, Tressa made it blonder than usual. A few strands have reddish-orange tones, but they are not obvious. Overall, I’m pleased. In this case, a second chance benefitted the salon and me.
I often hesitate to speak up when dissatisfied with a product or service. It is simpler keep the peace or chalk up some things to experience. Speaking up can create animosity and that was not my intent. Giving the salon a second chance produced several positive results: My resentment and disappointment dissipated. My hair color was fixed. The younger stylist learned something. The salon gained my trust and future business and helped their reputation.
Sitting on my negative feelings for a few days also gave me time to ponder the best outcome for me and for the salon. In the future, I will be more open to extending second chances and also be more open to asking people to give me a second chance. Who in your life deserves a second chance? How would you feel if you extended or received a second chance?

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