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Gossip or Friendship?

Notes & Transcripts

SeMildred Fister's beauty parlor in Jefferson, Iowa, has an unusual rule. Mildred refuses to allow gossip. A columnist for the Des Moines Register reacted this way:

This is a beauty parlor, for goodness' sake, one of those places women come to say things—loving, kind, unkind, and, sure, maybe downright nasty—about their friends and neighbors—whether it's true or not.

It's as basic in a beauty parlor as a blow dry. Isn't it?

"Not here," [Fister] says. There is absolutely no talking about other people in Mildred Fister's shop. Talk about you and yours if you like. . .but in the meantime, no gossip. At least [Fister] doesn't have to worry about keeping secrets….

She knows secrets because she's a friend to everybody who comes in the place. They know she can be trusted.

"Sometimes people don't have anybody to talk to," she said. "So they confide in me. They tell me things about themselves. They know I'll never repeat what they say."

That's better than gossip.

It's called friendship.

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