**See update as of 11/14/15 at the bottom of this post.
I decided to try a new hair salon in downtown Boise, and after a lot of research and asking around, I made an appointment with Graeber Salon. Little did I know at that time how big of a mistake that was.
In my research I found that Boise Weekly had named Graeber best salon for the last several years. Also, I had several people say they got their hair done there or knew people who did and were satisfied.
If you follow us on Instagram or here on the blog, I’m sure it’s very obvious that I’m a natural redhead. Always have been. This means I’m pretty limited with what I can do in terms of hair color. I had been feeling the itch to attempt a little bit richer of a red for fall, which led me to making an appointment at Graeber.
Even with my research and referrals, I was still a bit nervous and hesitant about trying out a new salon. I made sure to prepare in advance by talking to friends in the field about the correct terms to use (i.e. “sombre”, “balayage”, etc.) as well as gathered specific pictures that depicted what I was wanting to achieve.
Basically, I wasted my time with all that prep work. Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll explain my experience from start to finish.
My appointment was scheduled for 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I arrived a few minutes early and was greeted by a young lady at the front desk. There were already several other women standing in the cramped waiting room full of Aveda products. When my stylist came out to meet me, she asked if I would like either water or coffee to drink. This was definitely a nice gesture and exemplifying pretty good customer service, so I started to relax a little.
When I sat down in the chair, she asked about what I was wanting for today. When I had called to schedule the appointment, I let the girl on the phone know that I was seeking a balayage with a richer color on top, so I reiterated this info to the stylist. I also pulled out my phone and showed her pictures, explaining that the first one was the balayage I had last year that I loved, but I felt a bit more daring this year and wanted to try something perhaps similar the second photo for the top of the balayage.
After a few minutes discussing this, she said she would go mix up the color and be back to apply it.
EEK! I was so excited at this point. The next several minutes were spent with the stylist working like a mad scientist slapping color all over my head. She was extremely sloppy about it, but I think that is only because she was feeling rushed. The front desk girl came back to her station 2-3 times to give her updates on her next client. i.e. “Your next client is on her way.” Then ten minutes later, “Your next client just arrived.” I think these updates and the fact that she was a little behind schedule all led to the stylist feeling rushed which in turn made her sloppy.
So sloppy in fact, that she got a giant glob of dark dye on the side of the chair I was sitting on and a giant glob on the cape I was wearing. I believe this is what led to dark dye being splattered all over my favorite jeans. Yes, of COURSE I wore my favorite jeans to my hair appointment-I was prepared to walk out of there feeling fabulous! I wasn’t aware that I needed to wear my paint clothes to go to the best salon in Boise. Not only did she get dye on the chair, the cape and my pants, somehow it also got on my leather purse, which was sitting on a second chair at her station a couple feet away. I saw later there was also dye on her mirror. I pointed out all of the dye she had gotten on my pants and she tried to get the splatters out with hair spray, but that didn’t even make it fade. She even made the comment “It looks like you weren’t even wearing a cape!”
After she had painted my ENTIRE head (I went in for a balayage, remember, which does not require all over color) and my hair was dripping with dye, she let me know that she had another client and I would need to sit in a waiting chair while she attended to her next client. At this point I also noticed that there was dye all over my hand as well. That shit was everywhere. I glanced around to find an open chair while trying not to get dye in anymore places on my outfit. I asked if I needed to move my personal items from the second chair at her station (I had my purse, coat and scarf on the second chair). She said yes I would need to, but didn’t offer to assist me with it, even though I had dye all over my hands and my hair was dripping with dye.
I grabbed my personal items with the hand that didn’t have dye on it and walked to a waiting chair. It was at this point I realized she hadn’t clipped my hair up at all, and my hair is longer than the cape covers in the back. Since my pants and purse were already ruined, I wanted to at least try and save my shirt, so I sat very awkwardly stiff and tilted my head back slightly so as to not have the ends of my hair touch the back of my shirt. I sat like this for OVER AN HOUR as I watched her cut and style (and give a neck massage) the hair of her other client. I don’t have a lot of experience with this, but from asking around and in the few I’ve had, I have never heard of a stylist leaving color on for over an hour. I don’t think she would have left it on that long if she hadn’t had a client scheduled at the same time as my appointment. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about efficiency, but I’m also about customer service. There are so many ways this could have been handled better (even just helping me with my purse and coat would have helped).
When my stylist was finished with her other client, she took me over to the sink to wash out my color. When I was sitting back in the seat in front of the mirror I started to have a little mini panic attack (I’ve never actually had a panic attack, but I totally freaked out on the inside). The color on my previously strawberry blonde hair was BLACK. Or so it appeared to me. Never in my 28 years have I ever been anything but a redhead. I was in shock, and not in a good way. She asked what I thought about the color and I just started shaking my head “no” and let her know that it was too dark. She assured me that it looked dark just because it was still wet and once she started to dry it, it would lighten up and be red. I didn’t say anything and just crossed my fingers she was right.
I watched in the mirror as she dried my hair and it stayed dark. Super dark. With not a hint of red in it. When about half of my head was dry, she asked again what I thought of the color. I blinked back tears like a little kid and told her it was way too dark and not what I had asked for, as there was no red to be found. Her response was very defensive, stating that she “thought it looked good”. I am not a confrontational person, so I just sat silently for the remainder of my appointment, blinking back tears like I was 6 and someone had just stolen my favorite toy.
By the end of the appointment once she had trimmed my hair and finished my blow out, I think she had come around and felt a little bad. She offered to set up another appointment to try and fix it (umm, no way I’m going back and spending MORE money at that salon). She also tried getting the dye out of my pants with pure rubbing alcohol, but that didn’t work either. She gave me her personal phone number and said if I couldn’t get the dye out at home, she would buy me a new pair of pants. I give her credit for that one, but I’m sure she knew I wouldn’t take her up on that offer. How awkward would that be?! I can see it now….”Hey, remember that girl whose hair, pants and purse you ruined? The one who cried in your stylist chair? Yeah, that’s me and I would like you to buy me some new jeans.” No thank you I would rather not.
I will also give her credit (kind of) for only charging me for the color and not the trim. The only reason I’m giving her partial credit is because it was a nice thought to not charge me for the trim, however she shouldn’t have charged me anyway because my hair is still full of split ends. I think she trimmed maybe 4 hairs total on my head. Oh but don’t worry she dyed ALL of them the wrong color.
I was checking out and paying at the front desk when the overly chirpy front desk man asked how my appointment was. In my head I was screaming “My hair is ruined, my pants are ruined and my purse is ruined. How the hell do you THINK my appointment was!?!?!” But instead I responded with “It was ok.” Then tipped over 20% and sprinted home to cry to my husband.
I originally wanted to write this post as documentation of a weird (hopefully funny in the future) instance in my life, but I turned it into a review of Graeber. I did this because a few days after my appointment I wrote them an email just to let them know about my experience. Want to know what they said back? Nothing. Not a damn word. Not even “Oh sorry about that.” I’m not asking for a refund, although I think it’s definitely deserved, but to not even acknowledge the terrible experience I had? That’s not very good customer service, and from what I experienced, I have no idea how they are the number one salon in Boise.
Needless to say I have an appointment to get my hair fixed, and it is NOT with Graeber.
**As an update, the co-owner of Graeber contacted me on 11/3 and offered a complimentary color fix. They also refunded me in full for my appointment as well as provided a gift card to replace my ruined pants.