Barbers and surgeons used to be the same thing. If you needed a bullet extracted or an amputation you would see a barber-surgeon.
During the Civil War barbers would take care of wounded soldiers on the battlefield under a tent.
The reason why the pole looks like it does is because the “customer” would hold on to a pole outside of the shop to deal with the pain while a barber surgeon would practice the “art” of bloodletting. The rags used to bandage the “client” would be hung from the pole. The wind would blow the red bloody rags around the pole. The blue stripes are still a mystery (although many people have their theories). I am thankful that barbers and surgeons parted ways. I am also thankful to share in a tradition that has such a rich and interesting history. I used to think the barber pole only resembled a sweet candy cane.