Monday, May 21, 2012
Cross-Cultural Hair Experience at Lush Cosmetics Part 2
As I mentioned earlier, I had no idea that Lush takes its customer service so seriously. A White saleswoman reached for my hair, my eyes grew large and I thought, "Wait, is she about to DO my hair?"
YES!!!! Before I could jump up, she put her hands in my hair and began to scrunch the R&B product through my bangs. As she scrunched, she said things like it will soften my kinky hair, make it smoother, longer, etc. Wait, did SHE just call MY hair "kinky"? Yes, I have kinky hair but that's for me to say not her, right? Right? Why in the world did I find that adjective so offensive when it came from her mouth? My observant Mother was giving the saleswoman the side eye and looking at me as if to say, "No she didn't". We walked out of the store with our sample in hand (still need to try it) venting about the saleswoman's gall to call my hair kinky.
Don't get me wrong, I think the saleswoman was an absolute sweetheart who was doing her best to educate me about what looks like a great product (White saleswoman, if you are reading this, please know that I am not hating; sorry, I really should have gotten your name!). However, I do believe that such organizations should recognize potential pitfalls when working with different hair types and textures. Specifically, I think their employees need to be sensitized to the fact that hair is intimately connected to identity and that identity is connected to ingroup (us) and outgroup (them) dynamics. Because of this, outgroup members may accidentally set off identity landmines and be completely unaware that they have incensed a customer.
What do you think? Have you ever experienced such an interaction? Do you think that I should write Lush Cosmetics and have this discussion with their management team?
Curious to hear your thoughts.