Chav walks into Toni & Guy.
OK, so I use the term chav loosely. Although peoples’ perceptions of me did suddenly enter my mind the moment I saw my Nike Air Max trainers reflect back at me in one of the many full length mirrors.
Toni & Guy was new territory to me. I’ve never cared much for my appearance; I generally accept that I am how I am and spend little time or money on the matter. I had, however, spotted an advert for Toni & Guy saying they wanted models for their trainees, at a cost of only five pounds. Five pounds?! This is the exact same price I used to pay for a cheap barber in Soho during my uni years many moons ago. It was also exactly half the price I pay at the local salon I frequent nowadays. It was a deal. I didn’t care if it was the trainee’s first day on the job, nor if she wanted to practise her perming or colouring techniques. Hell, I didn’t care if she turned out to be blind! What’s the worst that could happen? I end up with a skin head? #Worthit.
On arrival, a girl floated out of the back and through the buzz of the salon to offer me a drink. Was this an up-sell? I wondered. Would I be charged an additional fiver at the end of my visit? I accepted that I was already exploiting a bargain so I bit the bullet and asked for a brew. If they add on an extra few quid I’ve still saved, right? I was then whisked away to a sink area and asked to take a seat. Again, I thought, will they charge for this component? The lady who came over to wash my hair asked if I wanted the massage option turning on. Why not, I thought, whilst wondering if they were aware that I was actually here as a model?! The trainee who started working on me seemed far too confident and friendly to only be ‘in training’…
Before imploding over the thought of inadvertently encountering a full on, full price experience in a high street icon, my trainee asked if I had been a model before.
Thank the Lord, I thought. Thank. The. Lord.
Whilst working though my hair, Emma offered me more drinks alongside the usual chit chat. The attention to detail throughout the store was very impressive; from slick flat screen TVs to the heavily branded merchandise / utensils used throughout. It looked and felt impeccable. And, it was spotless. For the sixty minutes seated in that chair, I felt like somebody. I asked how much the treatment would have been had I booked with a normal stylist. Between £27-£47 depending on their level, she responded.
To be fair, I thought, if I hadn’t just been sacked from my job, I could happily justify becoming a regular here. In fact, it may only be a small change in habit, but I think that £27 for a shampoo wash on a massaging chair, with a therapeutic head massage, followed by a scissor cut (rather than clippers) and a constant serving of tea or coffee may just be worth it…
To conclude, despite being on the old dole at the moment, I’ve come to the realisation that I may just treat myself to the full shebang next time I’m in the market for a cut. From what I experienced today, I know it’ll be totally worth it.
And, if it gives additional confidence at job interviews? Bonus. On paying, I tipped a fiver too; the last ten pounds I had to my name. That’s how impressed I was.
I’m normally all about supporting the local and small businesses but, to any Toni & Guy virgins out there, I’d definitely recommend you make an appointment and try them for yourselves.