Sweetening the pill - discounts for balding customersHair loss can be a traumatic experience for many people. It’s often one of the earliest signifiers of the onset of the ageing process and heralds an unwelcome change from a more youthful, hirsute style. Although not everyone is equally distressed and some people can eventually come to terms with balding there are very few who actively welcome it. By and large developing a large bald patch brings few benefits, although one American restaurant has recognized a gap in the market.

Sliding scale of discount based on level of hair loss

Congdon’s in Maine has been offering a range of discounts for bald customers every Thursday (men and women) for the last ten years. They use a sliding scale to work out the level of discount from a mere 10% for a receding hair line to 30% for extensive hair loss.

This approach occasionally has amusing consequences, as the owner Gary Leech explained, “We get some construction guys in here and they will buy coffee and donuts for the whole crew and they will send the baldest guy in so they can get 30 percent. That’s kind of funny,”.

Discretion maintained

Although the discount is well known locally, Leech is careful to be discrete and avoiding offending people. Unlike one Japanese hotel chain, where the staff operate a similar scheme and actively approach balding customers, Congdon’s only ever offer the discount if asked, avoiding drawing attention to a patron’s balding scalp.

Will we start to see these kind of discounts popping up around the UK? With up to 60% of British men beginning to lose their hair by their mid-thirties there’s a ready made market for an entrepreneurial approach to baldness in the service industries.

After all, when it comes to innovation in business, where America goes Britain often follows. Maybe though, it’s too much of a stretch of the imagination to picture Hair Loss Happy Hour at the local pub or discount bacon and egg butties for baldies, after all.

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By Ian Watson

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