Military haircut's $1 rise sparks AG cartel probe

Legal News Line Mar. 12, 2007, 8:30am

Rob McKenna

SPOKANE -- Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna's office fears that military clips might be clipping the military. So the office's anti-trust division has begun investigating whether barber shops in Lakewood, near the Fort Lewis military base, recently conspired to raise the price of a military haircut by $1. The standard-issue trim, claims the division's gumshoes, has been bumped up from $6 to $7 since January this year in the Tillicum neighborhood. The area houses at least eight barbershops, the AP reports. And a recent letter from a Deputy Attorney General to six of the barbers accuses them of colluding "in illegal price-fixing of haircuts." The letter also cites evidence of price-fixing from previous years. McKenna's spokesperson said the AG's office had sent letters "requesting a meeting" with the haircutters. McKenna received two complaints from barber-shop customers last Friday, she added. Barbers who serve the military in Lakewood say they raised the haircut price this year after holding it at $6 for several years despite rising costs. Civilian haircuts typically cost $7 around town. Some barber shop customers in Lakewood found the flap a little hard to figure. One typical reaction, reported by the AP, was: "Hasn't the AG got anything better to do?"

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