Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)

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Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)

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Review of "Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)"

published 09/07/2003 | ShoppingGirl
Member since : 26/09/2002
Reviews : 80
Members who trust : 77
About me :
Not for me
Pro Well I'm still alive and bear no physical scars
Cons How long have you got??
very helpful


Well it’s a good thing they took the word ‘gullible’ out of the dictionary is all I can say. I’d hate to have to use such a word to insult my wee sister, but just look at the evidence….

Here in Edinburgh (as in many cities, I’m guessing) we have a plague currently inhabiting our main shopping thoroughfare – albeit a very attractive plague. The deal is this: A good looking, trendy young bloke (or occasionally, a girl) stops you and asks you where you get your hair cut. Flattered by this rather glamorous young mans attention, you are supposed to go all fawny and start getting into a conversation with him. Once he’s managed to make you feel all relaxed and lovely about yourself, he proceeds to bash you on the head with his sales pitch.

His product is a hairdressing loyalty card, offering massive discounts at a city salon. Currently being flogged is a loyalty card for a place called ‘Keith Angus’, which I’d never heard of but which sounds damn good according to the hype on the card. Here they wax lyrical about how they offer both classical and cutting edge styling, using top of the range products and employing only the very best stylists. The bloke my sister spoke to (she was having ‘one of those silly days’, apparently) suggested that she bring a few of her friends and a bottle of wine!! Uh – right mate, whatever.

The card offers various discounts, including a half price cut and blow dry for yourself and two friends. There are also myriad other little offers such as ten quid off a deep conditioning treatment, eight quid off having your hair put up. Etc etc. The total value of the card is meant to add up to £250. The cost to the gullible, oops I mean lucky customer is a mere £40. Yes, that’s forty of your earth pounds folks for a discount hair card that must be used within four months of purchase date and which is totally invalid in the month of December.

But it’s summer now so my wee sister whopped out her credit card (which the pretty boys accept with glee) and paid up. One month later, she hasn’t used the card at all, so as you can see it’s really paying for itself. Not.

Ok so fast forward to this week. Only one week to go til my holiday and my hair looks like a rats nest. My regular hairdresser is fully booked at such short notice, and I remember Emma’s discount card. I only need a trim, so I decide it’ll be fine to go somewhere unfamiliar – after all, how bad can it be?

My sis duly made me the appointment and handed me the card. I’m entitled, as her friend, to get my cut and blow dry for half price. This is a bonus, but I have to say that price has never really been much of a factor for me in choosing a salon, as most decent places here in Edinburgh charge a bloody fortune anyway so what can you do – it’s better than going somewhere rubbish for the sake of saving a few quid.

The cards promises were very enticing, so much so that I almost laughed out loud when I turned up to the salon and saw what it was actually like. Far from the gleaming, contemporary salon I was expecting, the place is a complete and utter dump. Dodgy Eighties’ frontage, naff pictures in the window, dead flies on the dreadful linoleum – and that’s before I’ve even stepped into the salon. At this point folks I’m going to do a ‘Sliding Doors’ and take you through the experience I normally have at the hairdressers, contrasting that with the service I received from Keith Angus. I normally go to the very lovely Heidi at Patersons in Dalkeith.


Patersons: The friendly girl at the counter welcomes me, crosses my name off the list and tells me to sit down. She takes my jacket and asks if I’d like a drink. I sit on the gorgeous leather sofa and flick through a choice of this months glamour mags.

Keith Angus: A man who looks like he’s just wandered in off a building site looks up at me expectantly but says nothing. I announce myself, and he points at a grotty sofa that clearly came from the Argos catalogue ten years ago.


Patersons: Heidi greets me with a huge smile and sometimes a wee hug. Before she even mentions hair, we have a chat about all the latest news. She then takes me over to a cutting chair and asks what I would like today. Even though I have had the same hairstyle for years now, every time is like the first and she discusses what she plans to do in detail, all the while running her fingers through my hair and showering me with compliments!

Keith Angus: A sullen teenager drags herself away from the mirror and awkwardly asks me to sit in the chair. I smile and say, ‘Are you going to cut my hair?’ I assume she’s just the hairwash girl but no, this nightmare in bleached denim is my stylist for the day. She doesn’t introduce herself so I have no idea what her name is, and she doesn’t ask mine either. So far, so impersonal. She asks me what I want and I explain I just want a trim. She appears relieved at this and it strikes me that she looks about seventeen, and probably has very little experience. It’s too late to back out and I decide to grin and bear it.


Patersons: A ludicrously slim, trendy and exotic teenager takes me over to the bank of wash basins, where she makes sure I’m fully comfortable before washing my hair. She makes traditional hairdresser conversation with me, and I go along with it, discussing Posh and Becks, my holiday plans and Madonna’s latest single. She washes twice with lovely Redken products, and then applies the conditioner along with an expertly executed Shiatsu style head massage. Patersons are the leading hairdressers in this field, and many other salons now do it too – but they were first. I melt with pleasure as I have my scalp stimulated by her highly trained and surprisingly strong fingers.

Keith Angus: A hopelessly awkward child (she’s about 15) jams my head backwards into the bowl – we appear to be in a badly fitted kitchen circa 1983. She washes my hair, and makes one conversational gambit – ‘Got any nice plans for today’. It’s not a question, so I just smile and mutter something about how sunny it is. She doesn’t rinse my hair properly, and when I sit up I can still feel soap bubbles round the edges of my scalp. She dries my hair in wet dog fashion, and leads me back to the chair.


Patersons: Heidi talks animatedly throughout, apparently not paying the slightest bit of attention to what her hands are doing as they zip through my hair, snipping away at the ends. Experience has shown me that good stylists can do this – they have an instinctive feel for the hair. Heidi is so professional she wouldn’t dream of cutting one hair out of synch. Her gift is that she can cut hair like a demon whilst making eye contact with me in the mirror and keeping up an intelligent conversation. Her touch is always gentle, and if she needs me to move my head she asks me politely.

Keith Angus: Slower isn’t better! My own personal Sweeney Todd is clearly nervous, and takes an age to make even the first snip. She appears to finish the cut about four times, and then proceeds to go back to bits she clearly hasn’t got right the first time. She has a vice-like grip on my head, and pokes me quite badly with the scissors. Her fingers smell horribly of fag smoke, and she keeps banging her styling comb down on my head, causing me quite a lot of discomfort. There is not one word of conversation. To avoid embarrassment, I simply shut my eyes.


Patersons: Heidi gets out her wee brush and busies herself with the drier. I sit and relax, enjoying the sensation of being pampered. I don’t even look up until the very end.

Keith Angus: This muppet hasn’t got a clue. She keeps pinning my hair back with clips, to focus on specific sections. This would be fine, but frizzy hair like mine doesn’t respond well to too much touching, and it starts to look pretty rank. I don’t relax, as again I’m being assaulted with her lethal comb, and am now suffering the added indignity of having the dryer flex yanked across my body at all angles. I’m really not enjoying myself now but we’re on the home stretch and I just try to think of something else.


Patersons: Heidi looks again at my hair when it’s dry, and gets her scissors out to chop into any areas that don’t come up to her standards. I can never tell the difference but she insists on doing it. She asks me what kind of product I’d like on my hair, and obliges me with whatever I fancy. She then spends a good few minutes just touching it and putting it into place, as if I was going to an Oscars party and not just to Safeways for the shopping. Then she shows me the rear view, using a mirror. I’m always delighted with it.

Keith Angus: I wondered what that burning smell was and now I know. My stylist is planning to use electric hair straighteners on me, and has had them switched on all along. I notice the flex has been mended with tape, and the plates don’t look too clean. No hairdresser should ever need to use electric straighteners – they should be able to blow dry it straight with a brush. I realise that my hair is wonky, and gently ask her to ‘soften the line’ of it. She doesn’t look too pleased but starts chopping away. I realise it’s just getting worse so I say it’s lovely and try to limit the damage.


Patersons: Heidi fetches my jacket and helps me into it. At least two other stylists in the salon pipe up about how nice my hair is, and we all have a giggle. Heidi recommends products for me if I ask her to, from the salon’s huge range. She doesn’t push me though, and once told me not to buy her stuff as it would be cheaper when I went on holiday to America. I pay up and leave the salon feeling a million dollars, with Heidi and the girls shouting after me to have a super weekend.

Keith Angus: I’m shown my final hairstyle without ceremony. I’m still worried about one side of it being wonky but there’s no way I’d trust this chump to correct it so I smile sweetly. She asks if I had a jacket with me, which is stupid as she was the one who would have taken it from me if I had. It’s all very awkward and I walk over to the desk to pay up, and say ‘thank you’ to her. No mention of a return visit, would you like to buy products, enjoy your day – nothing. As I pay the bill she hovers nearby, pretending to be watching the traffic. I realise she’s waiting for a tip. You’re joking love! Learn to cut hair and I’ll think about it. I leave feeling total relief to be out in the fresh air and out of that grotty place.


Patersons: Roughly thirty quid. It’s a lot of money for a trim, but I don’t grudge a penny of it. My hair will be in great shape for weeks and weeks.

Keith Angus: With the discount, I pay £12.50. I haven’t got away with this kind of price for a haircut since Duran Duran were riding high in the hit parade, but I still feel ripped off. I’ve been manhandled and made uncomfy for the last hour, and I feel a real sense of disappointment. I haven’t been pampered or made to feel special – I feel like I’ve just been though a production line.


I will tell all my friends to avoid this butcher’s shop like the plague. Never again will I attempt to try a new hair salon I’ve never even seen before, and certainly never to save money. In future, I’ll pay full whack and get a decent service. Those guys who sell those discount cards should be embarrassed – this salon is a disgrace and I’d pay forty quid never to have to go there again.


Keith Angus
Haymarket Terrace


Paterson SA
129 Lothian Road

Also at:

Paterson SA
High Street
0131 660 5722

Must dash, I’m off to buy a paper bag….

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Comments on this review

  • KateHurst published 25/05/2009
    If these are still in business (and if what goes around comes around, maybe they won't be?) this is an excellent warning to avoid them like the plague. It is only when reading your very well-constructed comparison notes between this place and your usual hairdresser that you realise how many "extras" go into making a hair cut a good experience.
  • MarcoG published 27/03/2008 all I can say....
  • jesi published 20/11/2007
    good comparison there ~ if l want an "in-expensive" haircut l'll book into the local college salon ~ there is a well-qualified adult supervisor there who will sort it out if it doesn't work ~ and the students usually work to a very high standard (and are clean, tidy, fresh-smelling and pleasant) . . . . ~ ! ♥♥ ! ~ ........................................................... ~ jes ~ ! ♥♥ !
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Product Information : Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)

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Listed on Ciao since: 27/09/2000