I'm really having hard time here. There are three barbers working there and there is no reservation possible. People go inside without an appointment.

One of the barbers is really skilful however the other two always end up giving me very bad haircut.

How can I politely let them know that I'd prefer to get my hair cut by their colleague without upsetting or being rude? I don't wanna bring any tension between the three either.

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    Hi Sam, welcome to IPS. Does this answer your question? How to refuse a hairdresser because I want someone who's cut my hair before, without being rude?.
    – OldPadawan
    Sep 17 '20 at 4:44
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    "how to deny".. why not "how to request (from other barber)"?
    – guest
    Sep 17 '20 at 10:14
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    @guest : sometimes, you have to refuse, because when you step in, one employee will ask you right away what you want (more often, just ask for compliance, with leading questions), and suggest you just sit there and go ahead. So, yes, if you haven't been proactive, you're stuck :/
    – OldPadawan
    Sep 17 '20 at 12:36

I used to visit a barbershop back before my hair decided to vacate the premises.

The response I heard from other men was "I'm waiting for Bob". So the barbers would look for whoever was next; he'd say "I'm waiting for Bob" and they'd move on to the next customer.

Based on what I saw there, barbers in the US are used to that behavior. No one seemed to think it was rude and they see enough customers in the day that they'll forget about you in about 5 minutes as they move on.

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    I've seen the same thing in Australia. The barber asks for the next person, everyone waiting looks at each other and the person who's next in 'line' says, "Nah I'm waiting for Chris, you go". The barber doesn't care, they just take whoever sits in the seat, and the person who's 'jumping' past you doesn't care because they cut back their wait time. It's a little more awkward if you're the only person waiting, but in my experience the barber will be happy for a chance to have a rest until the next customer shows up.
    – Kayndarr
    Sep 17 '20 at 4:16
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    It can also help if the barber you prefer recognises you - if when you say, "I'm waiting for Chris", Chris looks over and says, "Oh hi <name>" (or otherwise acknowledges recognising you), none of the other barbers are going to take any offence at you preferring to have your hair cut by a friend/acquaintance.
    – Kayndarr
    Sep 17 '20 at 4:35
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    ALso if the kind of hair / haircut that have OP is not easy to deal with for them, they might be happy to pass instead of doing something that they know is not as good as their coworker.
    – Walfrat
    Sep 17 '20 at 12:10
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    +1 This situation is so commonplace that it was the setting for one week's puzzle on FiveThirtyEight's puzzle column. Sep 17 '20 at 16:37
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    @Black Keep in mind that in many shops, barbers are self-employed and rent the chairs from the proprietor. They have an interest in NOT picking fights/arguing with potential customers. Also, "I'm waiting for Bob" is the explanation; no further clarification is needed. In over 30 years of visiting barbers by myself (before I quit needing haircuts), I never saw a barber argue with a customer over this. Sep 17 '20 at 17:38

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