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When I get my hair cut I always go to the same chain location, because it's on my way home from work and convenient. I don't have a particular stylist, so I don't make an appointment and just walk in and take the first available person. For the most part I don't care who cuts my hair, as they mostly all do a good job. However, there is one person who I have consistently had a bad experience with, and I would like to try to avoid getting her again.

When I arrive I just put my name on a list, and I don't know who I'll get until they walk up and call my name. Is there a polite way to request a different stylist once I've realized it's someone I don't want?

This person cut my hair just a couple days ago, and that's when I decided I want to avoid getting her in the future, so I haven't had the opportunity to try anything yet. One thing I have considered is checking in at the desk instead of at the machine, and when they ask if I have a preference I can ask who is available. This only requires me learning the name of the one person. I would like to find an option that still gives me the flexibility to stop in at my convenience without making an appointment.

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    Related but not a duplicate: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/q/20647/21067 – Ælis Feb 20 at 14:42
  • It might depend on the establishment, but instead of having one disliked stylist, if they ask you who would you prefer, could you offer 2 or 3 suggestions? Would that be a strange thing to do? Not a solution, but in playing to the odds, it might help avoid the one you don't like. – user8671 Feb 20 at 15:08
  • @Kozaky That could possibly work. I usually just check into a machine, and I can either choose one person or "First available", but there's usually someone working the desk I can check in with too. Part of my problem is also that I don't know anyone's names, and I don't want to accidentally select someone who already has a customer – David K Feb 20 at 15:28
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    Have you already tried/considered trying anything and were there any problems with that (even if you're just considering, let us know what's holding you back from just doing it), if so, which? It would help focus answers and prevent getting approaches that aren't feasible for you. Also... What is polite is usually depending on culture/country, could you clarify that too? – Tinkeringbell Feb 20 at 15:45
  • @Tinkeringbell I updated my question to hopefully clarify things. – David K Feb 21 at 13:28
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It is more difficult to frame this in the negative without being offensive than it is in the positive. Therefore I would say there are two methods potentially likely to work well.

One would be to go to the counter and speak privately to whoever organizes appointments (unfortunately this would prevent using the computer terminal system, but as you are seeking an IP solution this makes sense) and explain your situation. This would require trusting this person to a degree, so you might want to talk with them first to assess how you feel they might react to what you say about the stylist you do not want. They then may be able to help you get an appointment with another stylist without telling the one you have issues with or offending them. An additional plus of this route is that the organizer will know about the complaint and if many customers dislike this stylist they may act.

The other solution would be to find a stylist who is consistently acceptable and request them specifically. This will sidestep any awkwardness of your real request, and allow you to continue using the computerized booking system. However you may end up waiting longer as well as being reliant on a specific stylist working the day you come in. Additionally you will have to try and remember that stylists name. Additionally this will not result in anyone knowing the poor job you have had from the stylist you seek to avoid and the salon being unable to act on this.

Picking one of these solutions mostly comes down to personal preference, comfort with potential conflict and desire for convenience.

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    A modification of the first strategy would be to indicate someone of preference rather than mention the poor experience. OP said they don't know names, but they could tell the counter person they'd like the woman with the red shoes or the man with the green shirt because they liked their service last time, but they've forgotten their name. Then they are only trusting them to confide that they don't know a name rather than their bad experience with someone else. – Bryan Krause Feb 21 at 0:20
  • @BryanKrause Vality proposed two options, your comment describes the second one ;-) I think the first one is interesting because from OP's question I get the feeling that she likes the convenience of getting her appointment as fast as possible, and aside from one hairdresser she has no complaints. So reducing her choice in hairdresser to 1 or 2 will mean she'll have to wait for that hairdresser to be done, which might mean waiting for a while. – MlleMei Feb 21 at 11:29

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