I've found a place nearby that seems to do a pretty good job, so I felt comfortable going back even though I knew I would likely have a different person than the previous times. The first time, I was able to get through using only Dutch and the woman cutting my hair seemed to understand everything I was trying to say, and everything came out fine. The second time, my brain wasn't quite operating on full-power and my Dutch failed miserably, but the woman had no problem letting me carry on in English and was happy to chat with me in English - and it came out even better.
This time, things were... different...
Again, I had a different woman, but she just wasn't as friendly as the other two. First, my stumbling Dutch did me the disservice of accidentally telling her "nee" (no) when she asked me to take off my glasses - I apologized and explained that I'm still learning Dutch, but still... Strike one. Next, I got all jumbled up trying to say how short I wanted her to go and reverted into the English out of desperation... Strike two. Then, I asked her to keep thinning out the back when she was just about finished. She took the extra moment to finish it off as I asked, but was pretty annoyed that I wasn't satisfied... Strike three. She slapped some wax in to "finish" it, took my money, and sent me on my way.
The way the wax went on my head, I walked out looking like I just had an oil shower, and the crazy thought of, "Maybe I should just shave my head" popped into my mind without invitation before I could talk myself down. But as a friend once said, you walk out of a haircut "salon-ified" - you just need to wait until you shower and dry it yourself the next day and things won't look so unnatural. So I kept my cool and waited.
Thankfully, as morning came and I "Ace-ified" my hair, things were better, though it will still take a few more days for it to feel "normal." I'll probably still go back to the same place, but next time I think I'll wait for someone else.
So, now I put to you: What are your terror-inducing "every day" errands in a new/different country?