Samantha, I understand your frustration when all you're looking for is a trim, as opposed to an involved cut. Reflecting on what you've said here, I'm reminded that some stylists have an attitude that having to do anything with curly hair is like sweat shop labor and worthy of charging a full day's salary for ... Is that along the lines of what you're getting at?
I actually second that idea about trimming curly hair ourselves as a cost-effective alternative. Then, when I want to get it cut and shaped, I do a bunch of research and choose a stylist who specializes in curly hair. I make sure to check out any online reviews on that stylist too, before committing. It really is a shame that we can't just stroll into any old salon and hope for a decent curly trim or cut.