'It's just insane' - one customer calls 425 times for hair salon appointment
Hair salons are scrambling to meet a relentless demand for appointments ahead of reopening on Monday.
With the third phase of the roadmap to recovery approaching, salon phones have been overwhelmed with customers hoping to have their ends chopped and their roots coloured.
Alan Keville, who owns salons in Dublin, Wexford and Naas, said customers had been so persistent in their quest to bag an appointment that one client called more than 400 times.
"It's been insane from when I came in on Monday. I had two staff in each of my salons just working the phones," he said.
"We had one lady who put a picture on Instagram showing she rang 425 times. She said, 'I hope you don't think I'm weird, but I've tried to call you 425 times this morning, and haven't been able to get through'.
"We rang her back and she got her appointment."
Mr Keville said the salon's phones became so clogged they stopped working.
His salons are fully booked "for the guts of two months", even with stylists working longer to clear the backlog.
Elsewhere, Noelle McCarthy of Blow Salons said she began receiving requests for bookings as soon as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said hairdressers could begin operating on June 29.
"With the announcement last Friday, people started emailing. We mainly do bookings online, so they were able to do that too," she said.
Ms McCarthy, who has salons in three locations across Dublin, said that despite the demand she had been able to book a large number of clients in for the next two weeks.
"A lot of our old customers are coming back, thank God. We have a lot of new ones as well. We have quite a bit of space so we've actually managed to manage to book in quite a few appointments," she said.
"We're booked up mostly next week and the week after, but I wouldn't describe us as booked out yet."
Ms McCarthy said slight price increases for some services had been introduced to offset costs that had gone into preparing the salon for safe reopening.
She added that revenue will take a further hit as they will not be able to serve the same number of customers as before.
"It's been very expensive, which is a challenge because we've had no revenue for three-and-a-half-months," she said.
"Hopefully, we will get that back, and obviously there's government aid and things happening to reimburse us.
"We can't take as many customers as we used to, so that then results in price increases, which is just unavoidable."
Alan Austin, of Dublin's Grand Barbers, said he had spent thousands on installing tracing systems and PPE.
"When you walk in you will put your name in to the computer," he said.
"Your body temperature is monitored by a screen."