My hairdresser's is the same place I have gone to since I was about 12. It is located in our old neighborhood- my sisters and I used to walk there. I had my hair fixed for my prom and my wedding there. For a brief time I went to another hairdresser, but when she had a very unfortunate drowning accident, I returned to the old 'hood for my haircuts. Two of my sisters and my mom also still go there. Honestly, I go for the prices. They do a good job, but you can't beat $55 for a cut and color. It is the reason why I travel 1/2 hour to get there, even if there are salons right around the corner from my house.
The last time I went (about a year ago) they were talking all about a very well known (in these parts) flea market where you can get some cheap knock-offs.
"Oh yeah, I got this great Coach bag for $30!"
"I remember that- where did you find it?"
"Well, I was told to say that I was a friend of Linda's and the vendor would then get me into the van. So I go and say the "passwords" and they take me behind their tent to this big black van without windows. They motioned me to the back doors, and after looking around, opened them and hurried me inside. Then they shut the doors! I was so nervous- I thought I was going to be kidnapped so I called you, guys, remember? And told you that if I disappeared, that this was where I was."
"Oh yeah! We remember- and then you saw all the bags, right?"
"It was amazing! There were all kinds of bags and sunglasses, by every designer. I ended up getting this one." At this my hairdresser went into the back room to bring out her D&G knock-off bag.
"That's a great bag- we'll have to go sometime!"
And that was where the conversation ended. Coincidentally, this year I was sitting in the chair, getting my color done when this guy walks in with a huge tote bag. He starts pulling out all kinds of purses and laying them on the floor. "Who's that?" I asked.
"Oh, that's the 'Bag Man' He comes every couple of weeks to sell us bags."
"Really?" I asked incredulously. I mean, now they had the bags coming to them? "So what about the van at the flea market? I remember last year you were telling us about that."
"Oh yeah- we still go there too. In fact, Cindy is there right now" And as if on cue, another hairdresser got a text message from Cindy "I am in."
I watched as several of the other customers looked over the bags and made their purchases. "Do you want to go over there and look at them?" My hairdresser offered generously.
I quickly declined, "Oh, no, no. That's all right" I wasn't in the market for a new bag, especially since these bags were very, um, big. And shiny. And big. I probably would have been more tempted if he sold a cute Kate Spade. But I am definitely not big and flashy, and I am not sure about the legality of the whole scenario. Even so, I was fascinated by the exchange.
He sold about 4 bags in all. He also offered Indiana Jones, the Cameron Diaz movie, and some other movies. Sex in the City wasn't quite ready yet, but he promised it for next week. I thought those things were only in the Seinfeld world- I never imagined I would meet someone who taped movies with a video camera and sold them--as I got my hair colored! I also imagine that the quality must be horrible- do you hear the person next to you munching on their popcorn? Who buys these things anyway?
About 15 minutes later he packed up his stuff and was out the door, promising to return in a couple of weeks.
Later, as I was paying, I realized that I could have these really affordable haircuts, partly because they were spending $35 on a bag instead of $1000. So they get their cheap bags, and I get my cheap cut. Ed suggested that I was funding illegal activity by going there, but I don't see it that way. I mean, my great deal on haircuts isn't directly related to their great deals on bags. This establishment is definitely above board. Still, it was interesting to see firsthand that capitalism is alive and well in the northeast.