I am not proud of this, but one of the few things I actually watch on TV with any semblance of regularity is the Bravo show Tabatha's Salon Takeover. Like many reality shows, it consists of a star (Tabatha Coffey, a bizarre looking, severe Brit) teaching Basic Adult Skills 101 to a bunch of complete idiots. Isn't that what most reality shows really boil down to? Whether they're about weight loss, finding a job, kicking booze, finding a date, or running a hair salon it all plays out identically. There are a bunch of adults who are failing at something because they are emotionally about 14 years old. The host/star saves the day by introducing them to revolutionary concepts that most people should have learned before they started to grow hair in funny places.
Salon Takeover is amusing in part because (again, as is common for this television genre) each episode is remarkably similar. How much you want to watch it basically boils down to how much you enjoy the host's personality. In every episode Tabatha teaches the owner of a failing salon business how to turn things around. Her advice consists – in its entirety, episode after episode – of the following revolutionary ideas:
1) The boss should fire or discipline employees who don't show up to work or are terrible employees
2) Someone should clean the salon, preferably daily (note: this has never occurred to a single person on this show)
3) Someone should take out the trash
4) Employees should come to work every day at their scheduled time
5) Employees should not drink hard liquor at work
6) The owner should in some way keep track of the business's revenue and expenses. Perhaps on a spreadsheet.
7) Employees should not swear at clients or talk loudly about their recent anal 3-way while clients are present
8) Employees should not steal money or equipment from the salon
That's it. And the owners are routinely amazed at how their business improves. None of this ever occurred to them, or for some reason they couldn't implement these wild ideas. Basically, Tabatha is a big, odd-looking prop with lots of British witticisms who teaches people how to act like something resembling an adult.
Here's the interesting part. There is a "How much financial trouble are you in?" segment in the introduction of each episode. Week after week the owners report being hundreds of thousands – sometimes close to a million – dollars in debt. And no matter how many times I see this, I ask the same question every time: is it really that easy to get a bank loan for half a million bucks? I mean, do banks really give out six- to seven-figure small business loans to people who look, sound, and like Jerry Springer contestants and can't do 8th grade math? People with no collateral, education, or experience running a business? Is "I worked in a salon for a few years" really a good enough argument for a loan officer?
If these knuckleheads – Can I repeat one more time that some of them do not realize that they should keep an accounting of money coming in and out of the business? – can walk into a bank and walk out with half a million bucks to open a salon (or whatever), what in the hell am I doing? What in the hell are any of us doing? Why don't we all just go sign up for our $500,000? If these mouthbreathers can get a loan, anyone can. And not you, I, nor anyone else could possibly be worse at running a business than any of these people. Hell, I wouldn't even need the rescue from Tabatha. I already know that a service oriented business should be cleaned. And that we shouldn't drink hard liquor at work.
What am I missing? If it's really that easy, then fuck this. I'm opening a bar. You know what will be on the menu.