Call me loyal

Hugely sought after and hard to keep, customers are by and large fickle beasts.

I am absurdly chuffed this week because I’m going to Auckland on Saturday. Yes, yes, I know, for many people that sentence will make no sense whatsoever. I mean, Auckland?

But, Auckland is the home of my hairdresser. Aha! I can almost see the disgust on your face. It is not with pride that I admit to my carbon hairprint of shame. Don’t panic – I’m not flying there every six weeks for a trim. I haven’t been to Auckland for a year so I’m a shaggy mess with severe regrowth but with a firm conviction that only one man gets to wield scissors that close to my ears.

I realise this does make me sound a bit ... spoiled? There are heaps of hairdressers. But there’s only one Brandon and in the six years he’s been cutting my hair he’s never dimmed my beauty by lopping too much off or pouring on too much peroxide. Other, lesser hairdressers have made these errors. I have cried after a bad cut and dye. And I know it’s petty – it’s only hair, it’ll grow back, you can re-dye it – but if you’ve found someone who gets it right every time – you’ll sacrifice a lot to keep him. And possibly make him biscuits too.

Customer loyalty is hugely sought after and hard to keep. Personally, I am loyal to my dentist and my hairdresser. And Best Foods mayonnaise. I am less loyal to cobblers (one in every suburb) and when it comes to dry cleaners I whore my clothes around.

The problem with the things I am truly loyal to is that in addition to not living near my hairdresser, I don’t live very close to my dentist either.

Like my parents, my dentist lives in Palmerston North and, unusually for anything involving PN or pain, I look forward to the trip. Mum, dad and a good drilling. The man has magic hands and as anyone who’s had a bad dentist knows, the good ones are worth travelling to.

What inspires customer loyalty? Good customer service? Low prices? The attractive waiter? The fact a place has no minimum EFTPOS purchase? Great buttery crumpets but I loathe the $10 minimum EFTPOS purchase. I am not a cash carrier. Because I spend it and then I forget to get more out. Because I can use my shiny EFTPOS card at most shops. If you have a $10 minimum then for the love of badgers, please ensure nothing in your store is under $10. Or at the very least, please have an obvious sign advertising this fact so I don’t get to the counter and flare my nostrils alarmingly when you refuse my card because I only have $8.30 in purchases.

This sort of outrage is right up there with places that refuse to let you split the bill. If this is advertised, fine. If it’s not, or you’ve spelt split as spilt then I shall pay the bill but I’ll be mighty irked and probably won’t bother you again.

Loyalty to a brand, a product, a person, a country – what makes us cheat and what makes us stay? I spent years in a monogamous relationship with TV One news. But then Judy left and I started to stray. And in first year I proved size does matter when I changed banks purely for a larger overdraft.

I like to think I’m loyal, but once you’re past my teeth, my hair and my mayo, I’m fickle. You? Would Dave Dobbyn call you loyal?