On Thursday I wanted a haircut.
The hair dresser I've been using pretty much for the last 20 years is called 'Men Only' and is a little shop in Dean's court just of the high street. It's changed hands a couple of times, but without changing the character of the business - until recently.
I got to the shop around 4.45pm, and although the 'closed' sign was up, the door was unlocked and there was someone in the chair having a haircut. So I went in, only to be told "we're closed". :p
There's a shiny new hair dresser on the high street, right by the passage to the first shop, and as I wandered past they had 4 chairs, fully occupied and a queue.
So I went in.
I felt like a traitor - the other shop has been hurt by the new hair dressers, and I talked to the proprietor about it a few months back, just before she emigrated. However it's a hassle to go into Bicester just for a haircut, and I wanted to get it done there and then.
So in the new hair dressers they were quick, polite and really made it obvious that they wanted your business and were prepared to work for it. It lacked the 'personal touch', and there was no way you could have a personal conversation in a busy room, but at the same time there was a continual emphasis on service. They even finished off with a brief scalp massage (effective after a number 3 cut!).
Where will I go next time? Good question.