News this week of raids in Florida in an effort to stamp out illegal, criminal haircuts in that state. Here is the story of the round-up and arrest:
This crackdown called to mind my own childhood, where every month, my brothers and I were taken to the private home of a middle-aged lady named Mrs. McAfoos. To see her on the street, you would never imagine that she was a career criminal, a black market barber. You see, she was not licensed, but she was fast and cheap.
On Saturday, the mothers in our neighborhood would pack up their sons to drive over to Mrs. McAfoos’ house. Each of us was frequently warned: “Remember never to tell anyone that she cuts your hair. She can get into trouble.” We never told; and every Saturday Mrs. McAfoos would cut 10 heads an hour, all day long, at fifty cents a head. Great money. No overhead. I doubt that any father in my neighborhood was earning $5/hour in 1964.
Barbering without a license has long been a crime. Today it can get you 15 days in jail. I suspect such criminals still are among us here in Missouri. I also suspect that their customers are happy for the service. Licensed barbers–like all professionals whose monopoly business is protected by the state–may feel differently about the services of black market barbers.
The state doesn’t like them much either. Here is a list of fees that black market barbers do not pay: BARBER FEES
Most people do not appreciate how many occupations are criminal activities unless the practitioner has the time and money to meet state licensing requirements. Click here for the LIST OF OCCUPATIONS.
Naturally, people are concerned about the public welfare and safety. But the costs of such government regulation is seldom a concern: the cost to people who have the skills, but not the education or the money required; and the cost to people who want good, inexpensive services. How can we explain higher rates of electrocution in places with more regulation of electricians? Easily, once we consider that fewer people can afford the higher cost and decide to do-it-themselves.
Should it really be a crime to give a haircut unless your papers are in order? Must we trust the government to say who is a qualified Interior Designer? Does a license guarantee the quality of your Private Investigator.
Regulations can be also be dangerous to a public who thinks that just because a tattoo artist (or doctor or lawyer, for that matter) is licensed by the government, they will do a good job. This a ridiculous assumption. You can get more reliable quality assurance by reading product reviews at Amazon.com.
Anyway. Thanks Mrs. McAfoos for good, fast, cheap haircuts. You were a criminal and I was an accomplice, but the statute of limitations has probably run out by now.