MILD afternoon breezes, lively conversation, some picong and an outpouring of love.
Such was the ambience at the recent Tin Man New Image Barbershop’s fourth annual customer appreciation day.
As usual, the event attracted scores of clients to the popular Brierley Street, Sangre Grande barbershop, with some already anticipating this year’s venture.
Dexter “Sharky” John, one of the shop’s longest-serving barbers, said the event was an important event in the life of the facility.
He told Newsday: “Without the customers, we don’t really have a life. So, this is just to let them know that we appreciate what they have been doing for us throughout the year because they could carry their business elsewhere. So, the fact that they keep coming, it is only fair that we give something back.”
John disagreed with the view among some people that the customer appreciation day was extreme.
“I don’t see it as something extreme for people that putting money in your pocket. They are supposed to be appreciated at some point in time.”
This year, the theme, Backayard Christmas, featured dishes such as wild meat, provision, vegetable rice and macaroni pie.
John complimented the barbers for their selfless contribution to the event. They are Brian Lewis, Kendell Paul, Curtis Bain, Keilon Charles and Sherwin Lee (who is overseas).
“Every year, they go to the extreme to make this event possible. And this year, when customer appreciation came up, everybody was on board and for that.”
John said the event has grown in popularity.
“Every year, the event keeps getting bigger and bigger because there are people who would come here who are not even customers of the shop. But based on how we carry about ourselves and the things we do, they will come and be a part of it.”
One customer, who recently moved to Sangre Grande, said he had never experienced a customer appreciation day at any barbershop.
“This is really something nice and they should keep it up,” he said.
John said the barbers also get the opportunity to interact with the clients more intimately.
“With this, you get to know the person as an individual not just as a client.. This is something that has been growing and we want to keep it on that level and see if we can reach more and more people,” he said.
John said the appreciation day has also extended to others in the community, including the homeless.
“Some people may look down or look up at you. But at the end of the day, the same colour of blood that runs through my veins, runs through everybody else’s veins. So, a man must be treated with respect. Give respect where it is deserved and you will get it back.”
This year, the barbershop is hoping to solicit support from businessmen in the community with a view to introducing toys and other items in keeping with the spirit of the season.
“Even though the barbers doing something for the community, we have our own families and there is only so much we could do. But if we get sponsors, we could try to appreciate the children when they come by giving them toys. That is something we are looking forward to achieve this year.”
As for the future, the barbers are hoping that all of their counterparts in Sangre Grande could come together to host a big celebration for clients, possibly at the Monte Cristo Park, one of the prominent recreational spaces in the eastern district.
John joked that if and when it comes to fruition, “We would not be working but going there to serve the people.
“This is something I am looking forward to in the not too distant future, to see if we could get more barbers involved in what we doing here.”