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Barber Giuseppe Muré puts the finishing touches on a $7.50 military buzz cut for Pfc. Dave Watson of Stuttgart, Germany’s 554th Military Police Company. Watson, a regular at Muré’s shop, said he wasn’t bothered that the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is raising the cost of a high-and-tight by 25 cents next month.

Barber Giuseppe Muré puts the finishing touches on a $7.50 military buzz cut for Pfc. Dave Watson of Stuttgart, Germany’s 554th Military Police Company. Watson, a regular at Muré’s shop, said he wasn’t bothered that the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is raising the cost of a high-and-tight by 25 cents next month. (Ben Murray / S&S)

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service will increase its regular price for a military haircut in Europe starting next month, AAFES officials said Tuesday.

The cost of a standard-issue high-and-tight will go up 25 cents at barbershops across the region beginning May 1, said Shirley Carlson, AAFES’ European chief of services.

After the change takes effect, military haircuts will cost $7.75 in Germany, $8 in the Netherlands, $7.25 in Italy and the United Kingdom, $4.25 in Turkey, $3.25 in Kosovo and $3.75 in Bosnia, each up a quarter from current prices, Carlson said.

The pending increase is the result of an annual comparison, performed by AAFES, of barbershop prices near U.S. installations to see how on-post shops match up with local prices, she said.

AAFES normally determines the average off-post cost and cuts it by about 30 percent to generate its price, but because of the weak U.S. dollar the agency has been lopping off more than 50 percent of the average, Carlson said.

Still, as haircut prices around bases go up, AAFES prices have to increase in tandem to allow the agency to attract local barbers to U.S. posts, she said.

“We want to maintain an atmosphere where we’re competing,” she said.

AAFES last increased the cost of a haircut — also by 25 cents — in June 2004.

Giuseppe Muré, a Sicilian-born barber in Stuttgart, Germany, with 50 years of experience in the shearing business, said troops shouldn’t have much reason to complain about a 25-cent price increase. A $7.75 military buzz is still just a fraction of the off-base haircut price, and is cheaper than a chop at a stateside barber, he said.

“[Out] in the world, a haircut costs double,” he said, referring to the German economy. “When you go to the States, there’s a lot of barbers [where] you pay $9 or $10.”

Pfc. Dave Watson from Stuttgart’s 554th Military Police Company, freshly shorn by Muré on Wednesday, said many troops felt the same way: AAFES’ cuts are pretty cheap, and a quarter won’t make much of a difference.

“I’m used to back in the States,” Watson said. “In the States, I pay 10 bucks even, so this is cheap to me.”

Asked whether the potential loss in tips could hurt him as customers potentially plunked a quarter-dollar less into his jar after each cut, Muré — who boasted that he once cut 75 heads of hair in one day at Stuttgart’s Patch Barracks — said he wasn’t worried. Good service, fast haircuts and return customers generate good tips he said, regardless of the base price.


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