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Why a Saskatoon salon is offering appointments where no talking is allowed

At a Saskatoon salon, avoiding conversation with your stylist isn't considered impolite — it's encouraged.

Hairtech Design Salon owner Tamara Schreiner said saw a need emerging out of the pandemic.

“We just noticed that the public has been very stressed out, very anxious,” Shreiner told CTV News.

The salon decided to offer silent appointments where guests can book online for a conversation-free experience.

“It was totally just recognizing our clients and seeing how frazzled they seem. Especially in this last month — it seems to have hit really hard," Shreiner said.

"We’ve noticed their mental health and decided to do something for people who really need it,” Shreiner said.

There is still music playing in the background at the salon and other stylists and customers can chat, but for those who book a silent appointment, the obligatory small talk is eliminated.

We’ve come to adhere to in our society according to Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Saskatchewan, Sarah Knudson.

“This is super-interesting and definitely makes sense,” especially during a time when people are tired of talking about pandemic topics, Knudson said in an interview.

Knudsen says much of North America prescribes to the notion that if we’re not exchanging pleasantries, it’s considered rude which is not the case in other places.

“We have a lot of pressure on us compared to other places in the world to say things like 'Have a nice day, how are you?' And it’s really strange for people who have grown up elsewhere who say it feels forced, it feels a little bit fake,” she says.

At Hairtech Design, the appointment starts out the same as any other according to stylist apprentice Caitlyn Arbo with a consultation at the chair. Then the conversation stops.

The silent option hasn’t been up and running long, but it has received a lot of attention.

 "We have had quite a few people book in for it. You just book online so that also gets rid of the stress of calling,” Arbo said.

One a customer who tried it has become a convert.

“I think it’s very refreshing. It gives us a chance to turn off because in life we’re always on, thinking about our responses and conversation,” customer Leah Wignes told CTV News.

With a background in social work and education Wignes said it’s a nice change to not worry about talking, but instead, read a book or just sit in silence. She also sees it as a positive opportunity for mental wellness.

“People with anxiety overthink their responses so this just takes all of that out and makes it easier for people to just take time for themselves,” she said..

Knudson adds that the idea is also beneficial for the staff who are in a profession where conversation is expected.

“It’s a win-win for (staff) who might be more introverted and they don’t want to do the chatting and also for service providers who are also burned out too,” Knudson says.

“Even for us, having the same conversation several times a day gets exhausting so to have a client book in for a silent appointment means we don’t have to talk about COVID or the weather.” Schreiner said. Top Stories

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