First off, let’s observe a moment of silence for all those who were lost in the Great Haircutting By People Without the Correct Paperwork Tragedy of ’91. I know I’ll never forget it.
Thank you. Now, on to business.
A young man in Tennessee makes a bad choice in life – dropping out of school in the 12th grade and failing to earn a diploma. This young man, whose mother died and dad abandoned, drops out after spending months falling asleep in class because he was up working the night before.
Fast forward a decade and that young man is a 28-year-old barber, working and apparently doing good work as he held on to the job – until the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners walked through the door. The young barber, who honed is craft after years or working and observing in his uncle’s barbershop, lacks the proper piece of state-approved paperwork and is busted. By the haircut cops.
(Quick aside – if you are man, can you imagine telling someone “I make sure barbers have the right piece of paper” when asked what you do for a living? I think I’d make something up.)
Anyway, the young man, with a wife and child loses his job, gets thousands of dollars in fines and is unable to enroll in barber licensing programs because he dropped out of high school.
And so he sits unable to do what he’s good at and provide for his family.
Don’t come at me with “All the other barbers got a license, he should, too!”. That’s not the problem. The problem is a state licensing board that exists to oversee haircuts and related work. If there is one market that can decide who should be working it or not, certainly it would be the world of making people look good. If you can’t make the person look good, are you going to last long in that job? Whether you have the right piece of paper on the wall or not?
How embarrassing for the state of Tennessee. Disband that board posthaste!
From Eric Boehm at Reason:
The Tennessee barber cops caught up with Elias Zarate on January 18, 2017.
Zarate was working upstairs at The Revolution Studio, a small barbershop on trendy Front Street in downtown Memphis. The job, which he had held for only a few weeks before getting busted, was like a dream come true for Zarate. He’d learned to cut hair while helping out in his uncle’s barbershop as a kid, and he had honed his skills over the years by cutting his siblings’ and friends’ hair.
…But getting that job required a state-issued license. Zarate had bought one a few months earlier from a friend “who knew a guy.”
…Jerry Biddle, the field inspector from the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners who stopped by the Revolution Studio that day, quickly spotted the fake.
“He came straight to me and was like, ‘That license is fake,'” remembers Zarate.
…With no previous experience in dealing with state licensing boards or navigating the quasi-judicial workings within them, Zarate assumed the hearing would clear up some of his confusion about what he had to do to get a legitimate license.
The hearing went quite differently. He didn’t have an attorney, and because it was an administrative hearing, he wasn’t provided one. In all other ways, it was essentially a trial. There was a judge, a set of witnesses (including Biddle), and evidence filed by the state.
“I thought it was to tell me what I’d done wrong or how to go about getting my license or getting right with the state,” he says. “Once I got there, though, it was a full-on case against me. They slaughtered me.”
He was hit with a $1,500 penalty, followed by $600 in additional fees that included court costs, attorneys’ fees, and the expense of the investigation that had busted him for the fake license. There was no information about how to get licensed correctly. The state didn’t want to help him. It just wanted money.
Well. Isn’t that a surprise?
Much more at the link.