Battlepanda: An interesting business model


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

An interesting business model

So, Gene and I are running around like headless chickens trying to find jobs and apartments. He got an interview lined up this afternoon, and needed a haircut badly to look presentable. So we wandered around the Taipei Station area until we saw a set of barber's poles. Thinking nothing of it, we entered and asked for the price of a haircut. An older woman with too much eyeliner hesitated, then said $500nt, which seemed reasonable to us as it's about $15 USD.

It wasn't until after Gene sat down and got aproned up that I realize that something about this placed seemed a little...unprofessional. There were many old barber chairs and women sitting around, but we were the only customers. Instead, one of the staff sat down and started primping herself furiously in one of the chairs. Gene's hair was falling straight onto...carpet. What kind of barber store have carpet? I watched the woman snipping Gene's hair gingerly, inexpertly. A slow, weird realization settled upon me: we were in one of those houses of ill-repute in Taipei that uses a barbarshop as a front.

As if on cue, several tired and skankily clad women wandered in and sat down in their own chair. One started taking long, weary drags from a cigarette. The older woman started counting off large bills and gave a wad to another girl. There was a monitor discreetly displaying security camera image from outside the door. I'm pretty sure those aren't standard issue in most hairdressing establishments.

Actually, Gene's "hairdresser" didn't do a bad job. He certainly didn't suspect a thing, except that the place seemed to be kind of run-down. I don't think that they'll be getting any repeat business from us though.