Dubai: So what is the price of the cheapest haircut in town? Dh15? Dh10, you would imagine.
But if you were to head to International City you could get a mop up for as little as Dh5.
“Five for a haircut. Two for a shave,” claims a busy Mohammad Tahir at a popular barbershop in the Greek cluster, motioning waiting customers onto the wobbly red chair whose cheap rexine is tattered in places, hinting that it is constantly occupied.
“We started this [reduced pricing] a couple of years ago only to wean customers away from our rivals. Little did we imagine that it would become the order of the day,” explained the 32-year-old ‘Mohawk’ specialist from Faisalabad while juggling between a haircut and a shave.
The Dh5 haircut seems to be the standard market rate in International City, advertised brazenly in big, bold letters atop almost every barbershop in England, Greece, China and every other cluster. “There are fliers as well advertising these low rates and you can’t miss them. I went for one such trial and it turned out to be quite good, actually. Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad,” said Bangladeshi Abdul Hannan, exhibiting his perfectly-trimmed ‘bowl cut’.
For the thousands of blue-collar workers who live across various clusters in the development, a Dh5 haircut works quite well, with or without frills.
“I don’t care if they use top stuff or not. Dh5 suits me perfectly fine as long as I get a haircut that looks good on me,” said Imran, a Pakistani pick-up van driver earning Dh750 a month.
With such low rates, you’d think barbers would be complaining. But not so.
“It’s a bit of good and bad. While we have had to bring our prices down from Dh15 when we set up shop more than two years ago, lower prices have brought in more customers, so business has increased,” said another Pakistani barber, Noor Hayat, while taking a a 5-minute break at a quarter past midnight on a busy Monday.
He says he’s seen off 12 customers with varied demands since evening prayers. Dinner can wait because it’s brisk business time!
So what’s the next price war gonna look like? Will it be a Dh3 revolution?