Every once in a while, people in Washington have a good idea. A really good idea. An idea that creates jobs and provides a service people like.
Then, the government gets involved.
Did the politicians honor these entrepreneurs for contributing to the community? Find ways to encourage others to do similar things? Well, the government did respond. But it wasn't with encouragement.
Local bureaucrats ordered Uqdah to cease and desist, or be "subject to criminal prosecution." Why? Because he didn't have a license. "It's a safety issue," said the regulators. Those who run a hair salon must have a cosmetology license. The chemicals they use dyeing or perming hair might hurt someone.
Hair dye is hardly a serious safety threat, but even if it were, Cornrows & Co. didn't dye or perm hair. They only braided it. That didn't matter, said the Cosmetology Board -- they still had to get a license. In order to get one, Uqdah would have to pay about $5,000 to take more than 1,000 hours of courses at a beauty school.
It's unclear what beauty school would have taught him. Beauty schools didn't even teach the service Cornrows & Co. provided. They taught things like pin curls and gelatinized hairstyles that hadn't been popular for 40 years. One rule required students to spend 125 hours studying shampooing . I didn't realize it was that complicated -- have I been doing it wrong all these years?