Am I The Only One Who Feels Mistreated When Visiting Some Asian-Owned Beauty Supply Stores Catering To Black Hair?

November 13, 2012  |  

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I dread going to most Asian-owned hair stores. No disrespect to those stores that do great work and have great deals, but at this point, I just do.  I have found their vast array of hair selections and hair care products usually comes with some discriminatory practices and poor service.  I have visited enough Asian-owned beauty supply stores to know that there are some that have exemplary customer service and value our patronage.  However, their numbers are few and far between.  My negative experiences at different Asian-owned beauty supplies are far too frequent for them to be considered simple coincidences.

I went into one of the aforementioned hair stores for the sole purpose of purchasing a half-wig.  After looking around intently, I saw one I liked, but before I could even point to it to try on, the employee quickly told me that I would need to purchase a stocking cap.  This would have been a non-issue for me (since I know how important it is to maintain hygiene in a place like a hair store) if it weren’t for the fact that there was also a white customer in the store trying on wig after wig with NOTHING on her head.  In all fairness, every customer should be required to wear stocking caps when trying on hair, but when I politely pointed this out to the employee, you would have thought I was speaking a foreign language or walked in that joint looking like Pig-Pen. She was far from concerned with the white customer’s head, but she very concerned about mine.

I was determined to have a positive attitude at the next hair store I visited (which was also Asian-owned) despite my previous less than pleasant experience.  I was eager to try a variety of hair products I saw in a hair magazine so I sought assistance from one of the hair store employees who happened to be white.  I gave her the names of the products and I asked her where I could locate them in the store.  She hadn’t heard of any of the products and had no idea where to start searching.  I switched gears to something I thought she could actually help with and asked her to price a couple of their best ceramic flat irons.  She informed me that all the flat irons worked the same and it didn’t matter which one I bought.  I asked her if she was new.  She said no, but I really wished she would have said yes. Maybe then I would have felt better about her lack of familiarity with the hair-care products that were all over the shelves that she didn’t bother to educate herself on.

A few weeks later I went into another Asian-owned hair store to buy a blow dryer and a few hair accessories.  There were three Asian employees near the entrance of the store.  None of them greeted me nor did they offer me any form of assistance when I walked in.  I proceeded to search for the hair accessories on my own, undeterred,  since my previous visit taught me to help myself as much as possible.  I found them, and afterwards, I asked for assistance. I told one woman what I wanted and she brought it out to me.  I went to check out with what amounted to be a large purchase.  The lady who helped me was so cordial and complimentary after noticing all the products I was buying, and I was not surprised to find that it was one of the same people who ignored me earlier. I decided enough was enough and that I had just put my last dollar in the register of an ungrateful business. I re-evaluated my choices of the hair stores I went to and decided to halt my visits to them altogether.

The deliberate prejudice practices of some Asian-owned hair stores I have visited is down right unacceptable!  Moreover, hiring employees with little to no knowledge of black hair care products to work at a hair store targeted towards blacks in a predominately black neighborhood when they clearly have no interest in trying to learn is equally shameful.  Sub-par service in certain Asian-owned hair stores is doled out towards blacks more often than not. Adding insult to injury is the fact that these stores set up shop in primarily black areas. Yet their unfriendliness, lack of good service, and unappreciative attitudes seems to be ignored as they make money off of black dollars. In my opinion, it seems that a loss in revenue may quite possibly be the only way for these establishments to feel the effects of their tired business tactics and poor customer service, and start treating all of their customers equally and a lot better.

Have you had similar experiences at some Asian-owned beauty supply stores?

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