Amy Dickinson, the voice behind Ask Amy, an advice column in the Chicago Tribune, offers sounds, common sense advice on a variety of topics to questions posted to her by readers. Today's question might speak to many stylists who feel frustrated by a co-worker's obliviousness.  Read more of Ask Amy at


Dear Amy: I work at a busy hair salon as a stylist. I love my job and the salon where I work. I get along well with the other stylists. However, the stylist I work next to lets his clients bring a friend or two to stay with them while he does their hair.

I can understand if it is a child, but these are adults.

These friends will plop themselves down in another stylist's chair (usually mine) and converse the whole time during their appointment. (Some of these procedures can take hours). They even, at times, bring food (the detritus of which is often left behind for me to clean).

I'm as polite as I can be when I have to inform them that I need to have my chair for my clients and point out the reception area, suggesting that they might be more comfortable waiting there.

Though most people will apologize and move, usually to another stylist's chair, some people actually get angry that I've had the audacity to make that request.

I've had some of his guests ask if maybe I could move!

I've even had people walk in front of my clients while I'm working and just stand there between my client and the mirror. How would they like it if I brought my friends into their office to enjoy a pizza while I did business with another person in the company?

I've attempted to talk to this other stylist, to no avail. What should I do?

— Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: If you politely correct people when you ask them to move, and your request bothers them — too bad.

You should see if the salon owner can switch your chair to another station. Also ask the salon owner to enforce a no-eating rule at the hairstyling stations. It seems extremely unsanitary, unappealing and faintly gross to eat while tiny pieces of hair (not to mention chemicals and other products) are set loose in the atmosphere.

If you are trapped where you are and can't switch chairs, speak with the neighbor stylist again and remind him that you each rent your space, and that you don't want his clients' guests in your space. Perhaps a piece of colored tape on the floor marking the space from your chair to the mirror will serve as a visual reminder of the sanctity of your space.

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