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Vintage KSDK: Barber's union raises the price of a haircut in 1966

Most customers weren't happy about the increase that helped fund a barber's union pension plan.

ST. LOUIS — Our Vintage KSDK takes us back to the spring of 1966, when members of the barber's union voted to raise the price of haircuts from $2.25 to $2.50.

That's only 25 cents, but it all caused quite a stir.

Then-KSD reporter Chris Condon covered the story by visiting several barbershops. At each one he asked customers and barbers alike, "Do you think the increase is called for?”

Here are a collection of responses from unidentified customers:

“No, I think they're making fair wage right now. And I think all it's going to do is instead of coming two-and-a-half-weeks between haircuts, you'll come three-and-a-half-weeks," a customer said.

Another said, "I don't know how justified it is. It seems to me they're getting a pretty good wage already."

Condon also interviewed barbers, asking, "Are you going to lose some businesses because of this rise?”

One responded, “We probably will for a while until, you know, customers get adjusted to it."

In 1966, there were about 1,600 union barbers in St. Louis and the surrounding counties, working in about 700 shops. The 25-cent increase brought prices in line with other cities, and part of the money from the raise went to a newly established barber’s pension fund.

Condon asked one barber, “What would a barber who is employed there, what would his take-home pay be generally?”

The barber answered, “I would say about $100 dollars a week.”

“What was it when you started barbering?” Condon asked. “How much did you charge then?”

A barber said, “I was paid 10 cents for a shave and 25 cents for a haircut.”

“How long ago was that?” Condon asked.

“Oh, about around 1915,” replied the barber.

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