Demand meets Supply:
Barbers are an unlimited source of cultural insight. Perhaps because they interact with large numbers of people from a cross section of society every day. Quickly, they become experts in every subject from politics to sociology to what the neighbors are doing. However it comes about, they do seem to be a good barometer of current public thinking (rivaled by taxi drivers, no doubt).
Although I enjoy talking with my hairdresser, I resent wasting 30 minutes each month on a haircut. My hairdresser has the opposite view. Recently, she complained to me "You should get your hair cut more often, how do you expect me to earn a living wage if you only get your haircut every 6 weeks?". Initially, I laughed it off as friendly banter. However, as I encountered similar attitudes by other service providers time and again, I began to appreciate that it is more than a joke. For example, recently a friend and I shared a cab. We were going in the same direction so after hopping in, we instructed the cab driver to drop me off along the way and my colleague would proceed to his destination. Much to my surprise (why am I continually surprised after more than 50 years living in Korea?), we were chastised and told that we should take separate cabs, otherwise, how could taxi drivers make enough money to survive. In today's paper, there was an article about a new AI program to help taxi drivers find fares (as opposed to assisting riders to find taxis). I face this phenomenon all the time. Recently, I chastised a bus driver for running a red light to which he responded "If we obey all the traffic laws, we will never make any money!". The city has ordered major box stores to curtail their shopping hours to provide more opportunities to smaller retailers, never mind the inconvenience to consumers. Time and again, the message is that consumers exist to give jobs to service providers! Demand and Supply is the economic imperative, not Supply and Demand. Adam Smith would be a nobody had he been born in Korea.