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The man who makes Ben Bernanke look good

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.

This final note today. We saw an item in The Atlantic magazine the other day about a guy named Lenny Gilleo, saying he's the barber at the Federal Reserve.

And we wondered two things. A) The Fed has its own barber shop? And B) C'mon, really? That's where Ben Bernanke gets a shave and a haircut?

But then...

Ringing

Operator: Federal Reserve Board. Dennis speaking, how might I direct your call?

Kai Ryssdal: I'm looking for Lenny the barber, please.

Operator: One second.

Ryssdal: Thank you.

Ringing

Lenny Gilleo: Hello?

Ryssdal: Hi, is this Lenny?

Gilleo: Yes it is.

Ryssdal: Lenny, it's Kai Ryssdal at Marketplace in Los Angeles, how are you?

Gilleo: What is Marketplace?

Ryssdal: So we're a show on business and the economy. Mostly what we want to know is what it's like to cut Ben Bernanke's hair.

Gilleo: Just like cutting yours, I'm pretty sure.

Ryssdal: Except I have more hair than the chairman does.

Gilleo: Well yeah, but do you have a beard too?

Ryssdal: No I don't, and that's the thing. Do you do his beard too?

Gilleo: Yeah, I do trim his beard.

Ryssdal: Now, how often does he come in for a haircut?

Gilleo: About every three weeks or so.

Ryssdal: Is your shop actually in the Fed building?

Gilleo: Yeah.

Ryssdal: And can anybody come in and get a haircut?

Gilleo: If they know me. Yeah, I won't take anybody new. You have to get a reference.

Ryssdal: No, come on.

Gilleo: No, I'm serious.

Ryssdal: So you're a sole proprietorship, I guess.

Gilleo: I am a sole proprietorship, and I do pay rent on this space. The Fed doesn't give me anything.

Ryssdal: No, come on, really?

Gilleo: Yeah. I don't want a congressional hearing because of the damn space that you're giving away.

Ryssdal: So let me ask you this: Is Ben Bernanke a good guy?

Gilleo: Ben Bernanke is a great guy.

Ryssdal: What do you guys talk about when he's getting a haircut?

Gilleo: We talk about baseball a lot.

Ryssdal: Is that right?

Gilleo: He's a great baseball fan. He should be the commissioner of baseball, that's what he should be.

Ryssdal: Well Lenny Gilleo, thanks very much for your time.

Gilleo: OK. Well see, I didn't get to plug my son's book.

Ryssdal: Well go ahead, what's the book?

Gilleo: It's called "Love Thy Neighbor" and it's by Mark Gilleo and it's been out three weeks. You look it up.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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