Saturday, January 21, 2012

Unlicensed Barbering?

Hoosier hair stylists and cosmetologists are chanting, "Doom, doom!" Indiana's legislature is considering doing away with the requirement that they obtain state licenses -- and that might be The End Of Everything.

...Never mind that these are skilled trades; never mind that the schools that teach those trades are generally a lot more than license mills (because most of us can recognize a bad haircut, dye job or makeup application, even if we're not so good at those things ourselves); nope, we're warned that disease and disaster will inevitably follow. Also poverty, 'cos who doesn't want an amateur hair-hacking for pennies on the dollar? (I should talk -- I cut my own hair, mostly, and not too well.)

Amusingly enough, while barbers and their distaff-serving counterparts have raised most of the hue and cry, the same bill would lift the licensing burden on private detectives and security guards, too -- and they're not making much of it. (Ditto dieticians and hearing aid dealers. I don't know if optometrists are jumping with joy over the prospect of being able to prescribe controlled substances or not, but I will note they treat some very painful conditions for which aspirin won't do much.)


Carteach said...

Best haircut I ever had in my life happened in a carport in Puerto Rico, done by a 19yo kid who had two other jobs besides that.

I'm not a fan of requiring a government license (government funding opportunity) to earn a living. It's not about quality or safety.... its all about the money.
Anyone can give a haircut, at any time... it's only when money changes hands that government sticks their sticky paw in.

Anonymous said...

The Cult of the Professional is built on a few different assumptions:

1. That people are so stupid and gullible that some wise, benevolent organization must regulate and license various activities to stop people being duped. Consider the old traveling medicine men; to stop people dosing themselves into kingdom come with any quack nostrum that was shoved under their noses, we started licensing physicians and pharmacists so that all but the most credulous rubes could easily distinguish the quack from the (cue stately music) Licensed Professional;

2. That people have the ludicrous idea that a government license means that the licensee has been subjected to grueling, exhaustive examinations by top men (Top. Men.) to prove that he is ALMOST as smart, as knowledgeable, as conscientious, as they are;

3. "Professionals" learned quickly not only that a license on the wall was cheap, excellent advertising, but also that requiring a license was a damned good way to limit the competition. It's not unlike requiring membership in a guild or union to be allowed to ply one's trade.

I recall reading a few years ago that there was a hullaballoo in Louisiana over the licensing of FLORISTS. Yep, the political leaders of the State of Louisiana were wrestling with the thorny question of whether armageddon would come if unlicensed people were allowed to arrange bouquets. Natch, the people pushing the licensing requirement were professional florists. Wonder why...

Anonymous said...

"because most of us can recognize a bad haircut..."

Speak for yourself! I usually only find out when the ladies screaming/children pointing/cameras clicking thing occurs when I walk out of the barbers :-(

I always begrudged paying £10 for a trim of the rapidly thinning and greying thatch (and a small area polish too). Now I just shave it at home, Hey, it's fashionable (with matching goatee), I've never been fashionable before!

Preaching to the choir again I know but it's like almost all licensing schemes, not to protect the customer, to limit the competition (think doctors, lawyers, etc.) so they can keep their incomes up.

When I had hair (in the Cretaceous period) the only barber I liked was an old Greek guy in Camden (London) who always gave me a reasonable appearance (harder than you'd believe) mainly, I think, as he didn't speak any English and so ignored whatever I asked for (and why did he call me falakrós all the time?).

Dave H said...

Tattoo artists in Indiana don't require a license. Are people with tattoos dropping dead or bursting into flames? (They do have legal requirements for regular training in sanitation, and they usually need a health department permit and inspections. That seems to take care of most of the risks.)

In Ohio the main difference between a barber's license and a cosmetologist's license is that the barber may legally put a straight razor to your neck. I think I'd like some sort of licensing test for someone who's going to shave me that way.

Tango Juliet said...

"Professional" does not equal "expert."

Guffaw in AZ said...

WHAT? No government oversight and a free market?
Can't have that. The government knows so much better than I...

Midwest Chick said...

I either hit SuperCuts or one of its shops (once a year or so) or cut my own. I think, like Dave says, training in basic health education and health inspections should do it for most of those types of professions.

I believe they wanted to start licensing professional decorators in Florida or something, basically to keep their monopoly and make it harder for others to enter the field.

All licensing does is create a false sense of security and prevent competition.

Home on the Range said...

License doesn't mean good. I remember going to one place where the girl had a long 8 syllable name and English was NOT her first language. "just the ends trimmed please" in her native tongue translated to "please ruin my life" and I left looking like the backside of labradoodle.

Anonymous said...

Heh. Bet that would lead to an explosion in the "blow flame into the ear to trim ear hairs" method of ear-hair trimming currently frowned on here in the US of A, but used as a matter of course in most of Asia.

The first time a barber approached me with a flaming stick to perform this little trick, I nearly came straight up out of the barber's chair.

He chuckled - I suspect he got the same reaction from other American tourists from time to time. He didn't speak any English, and I didn't speak any Turkish, but we both got a smile out of it.



Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

It was a licensed "professional" who actually managed to make me bleed with clippers when she nicked my ear. That was a big sign (if I hadn't already known) that "license != competent".

I've seen some real idiot doctors, too, with all the licensing that being a practicing physician entails backing up their stupidity over my dinky little EMT certification.