I went to a barber shop to get my hair trimmed today. I had never been to this place before and I don't think I have ever gone to a barber before - but it was close to my apartment and I thought it would be less expensive than a hair salon.
The man who cut my hair was very nice - he was older. I know this because he talked about cutting hair in the 1960s when men let their hair grow long. He told me that because I asked if cutting women's hair was different than cutting men's.
When he was finished and I asked the price, he told me it was on the house. Wow - right! To which I replied with much thanks and gratitude - (and shock) "how, wonderful", "I am a poor college student, thank you SO much." He then asked me what I was studying. I told him that my program was Public Health, but I was specifically interested in food policy and obesity. "You know", I said, "trying to make it a little harder to eat food that is not good for us and easier to eat the good stuff. In other words, I am a big fan of Mayor Bloomberg."
I expected to get some grief. Most people get nervous about policy and regulation. Instead the wise barber said, "You know I think that the food companies have had a big part in this." "Yes," I said, "that is exactly what I mean." He said, that it seemed they were always pushing food at us, always pusing food that was not good for us. He agreed that someone should make it harder for them to do that and that maybe someone should push the better food! We agreed that advertising two for one burgers should be replaced by ads for one dollar salads.
All in all - a good day - a good conversation - and wow - a free hair cut, too.