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   Your Local Friendly Barbershop

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     Why do some barbershops have red and white striped pole in front?

     The local barbershop was once a bloody place.  Barbers doubled as doctors, dentists, and surgeons.  One procedure they specialized in was bleeding the patient, a common cure (when it didn't kill you) for many illnesses several centuries ago.
     To increase the flow of blood, the customer was asked to squeeze a pole to put pressure on the veins. The poles, naturally, often got splattered with blood. Dripping wet and bloody red, they were set outside to dry.  In the best traditions of contemporary hygiene, used white bandages were draped on the poles, also to dry. 
     That's the charming origin of the cute red and white barbershop symbol.