Cool Tops

Lafayette, Oakland

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Cool Tops in Rockridge

Nov 2007

Re: Kids Haircut near Rockridge?
I really like Cool Tops in Rockridge. I have two boys and we go about once a month. They are very good with the kids and do a good job at judging their temperment and comfort level. It's a bit pricey for a cut - aren't they all - but they do a clean professional job, and very quickly too. I find their cuts look the best and for some reason, take the least amount of time. Go figure! Try it out! loyal customer

I went to Cool Tops for my boy's very first haircut, and it was a great decision. However, when I took him back a few months later for another haircut, they botched it terribly and I actually had to go back the next day for a repair. I won't be going back to Cool Tops, and I too look forward to recommendations for a place to cut a 2-year-old's hair. Snuggies

I recently had a horrible experience at Cool Tops. From the first moment my four year old son sat in the chair, the haircutter was curt and abrupt. When he asked about watching a movie, she barked, \xc2\x93the other boy was here first so he got to choose!\xc2\x94 Her behavior only deteriorated from there. As my son giggled and talked, she responded with statements like \xc2\x93You\xc2\x92re not very nice today, are you?\xc2\x94 and \xc2\x93You\xc2\x92re just not being nice to me.\xc2\x94 I was standing right next to him and can verify that the only thing he said that could be remotely construed as \xc2\x93not nice,\xc2\x94 was something along the lines of \xc2\x93this is taking a long time\xc2\x94 \xc2\x96 not an unusual sentiment for a young child, I\xc2\x92m sure.

Not only was she wholly unskilled in how she interacted with him (no anticipatory guidance to let him know what she was doing or was going to do, no asking politely for him to be still or move his head, no explanation of what she wanted), she was physically rough with him as she moved his head and body to suit her needs. Every time he moved (something many children do during haircuts), she responded with a heaving, loud sigh of exasperation and frustration, jerking him back to where she wanted him to be. In fact, at one point, her response escalated to the point where she actually became enraged, THREW down her scissors and comb, stomped off to the bathroom -- sputtering and huffing and puffing the whole way -- and SLAMMED the door! She gave every impression that it was all she could do to refrain from hitting him. I should have left right then, but it was so surreal and insane that I was paralyzed with shock and couldn't quite believe it was happening in the moment. My son, who had been well-behaved, cooperative, and polite, was totally bewildered and perplexed by her utter meanness and harsh words. I'm sure this isn't the norm there, but her behavior was flat out abusive and totally unacceptable and I will never go back there in spite of the fact that I live around the corner. To top it all off, I wrote a letter to the District Manager of Cool Tops describing the incident and never heard back from her.

I don't have the original post in front of me, but I wanted to respond to an inquiry about Cool Tops in Rockridge. First, let me say that we will probably keep going back to Cool Tops because my daughter loves it and we enjoy visiting the neighborhood together. (We live in Albany, but she doesn't love Snippety Crickets.) We recently went to Cool Tops, where we go approximately every 2 months. I think cuts are $28, but you can check online. The service there has been getting worse and worse. When we walked in, the man behind the counter (whom I assume is a manager, because he rudely bosses everyone around) barely acknowledged us. He looked up and said, ''Yeah?'' When I said who we were, he just called over to the stylist. Never said hello or anything. The stylist was fine . . . polite and friendly. The cut isn't anything to get excited about. But really, the customer service at the desk is almost enough to prevent me from ever going back. When we left, the man at the desk didn't thank us (I left a 20% tip), offer a lollipop (the whole reason my daughter goes), or say goodbye. Oh, and during my daughter's cut, while she was trying to watch the movie (the other reason she goes), the manager person and another stylist loudly gossiped about other employees who apparently are not pulling their weight. The whole experience was icky. One nice thing about Cool Tops is that the space is pleasant and they have good magazines to read while you wait. I'd say find somewhere else unless things improve at Cool Tops Rockridge. Disappointed mama

I have to chime in here and agree with those who've had mixed results with Cool Tops. We've had several good cuts there but generally find the service/attitude to be curt and dismissive. My child isn't the most fearless or cooperative hair-cut client but I think a place that specializes in CHILDRENS' cuts should be versed in child development, typical and atypical. And I wonder if it's unsanitary that the plastic shoulder-covers are reused. Going Back to Our Local Barber.

Oct 2007

Re: Stylish haircut for cheap guy?
My husband likes to go to Cool Tops, the kids hair place in Rockridge with our daughter. They cut his hair and hers and you get a discount for both of you. They have given him a good haircut twice and he has similar hair. Cheap too! And killing two birds with one stone. ACE

Re: Haircut for a 10-year-old boy (Feb 2005)
You should try the new Cool Tops in Rockridge. Across from BART, just off College Ave. We just had a great experience there with Marissa. anon

Cool Tops in Lafayette

Re: Haircut for a 10-year-old boy (Feb 2005)
We've been going to Karen @ Cool Tops for the past 3 years and love her. Their # is 925.284.5360. My son (now 7) has only had his hair cut by Karen (except for once -- big mistake) and she does a great job. The salon is set up for kids and they have videos to watch as well as toys to play with while they wait for their appt. It's worth a drive through the tunnel, as the big mistake haircut was at the Cool Tops in Oakland off College. MG

Re: Haircut for squirmy toddler (Dec 2002)
I think Cool Tops in Lafayette is great. We've been everywhere from Solano Avenue to Rockridge and Piedmont Avenue and have found Cool Tops the best by far. The stylists are far superior, thet have movies for the kids and your little one can have his/her haircut sitting on a horse, motorcyle or racecar. kristi

Re: Haircut for squirmy toddler (Dec 2002)
I always take my son to Nancy at Cool Tops in Lafayette. We've had mixed experiences with other people there, but Nancy has a gentle manner and talks to my son and encourages him through the haircut. She always asks what we want to do and how to cut it (i.e. scissors or shears). Their ''chairs'' are a car, a motorcycle, and a carousel horse. They also play videos for the kids to watch during the haircut.

Re: Haircut for squirmy toddler (Dec 2002)
We live in Oakland and had tried several places. We thought we found the perfect place--Cool Tops in Lafayette. While it was a 20 minute drive, it was very clean, had distractions to keep my son still, and I liked the cuts. Then we had two bad experiences in a row. In the last one, the hairdresser never showed up due to transportation problem--which she called about 15 minutes after our appointment was scheduled. The owner made no accomodation and told us that we should just come back later if we wanted a cut. This was even though there were no other customers in the store, there were two other stylists (including the owner) sitting waiting for their next appoinments, and not only did I have my 4 year old son, but a new baby. So we've gone back to Snips again. anon.