Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tipping dilemma

I need your advice!

The other day I went to a salon and got a haircut. It had been nearly a year and a half since my $85 curly specialist haircut, and my hair was growing out but needed some clean-up. So I read some reviews and found another curly expert here in Minneapolis, where I'm pleased to see that the cost of living means that a super haircut here only costs $35 instead of $85. Win!

I booked an appointment with the owner of the salon, went in, got a fantastic dry cut, a little bit of pampering, and a lovely 'do. I paid her $35 plus $5 and tax for a sample size of one of the products she used that I really liked. Because she was the owner, I did not tip.

That's what I have always understood is appropriate. I've seen it in Dear Abby, I've seen it in Dear Prudence. Only, when I got home, Peanut informed me that my understanding is way out of date! Nowadays, if the owner is also your stylist, you ARE supposed to tip them. (I confirmed it on the internet, with no less than Oprah's site telling me I'm old-fashioned.)

Oh, no!

Guys, this is like one of my favorite haircuts ever, and this place is my new salon. I'm not looking for anywhere else, and I'd 100% recommend them to everyone who crosses my path. But I didn't tip her! I didn't know! I thought it was insulting to tip the owner!

So. What do I do?

Option 1: Get over it, and be sure to tip (maybe double) next time. (Keep in mind, I get my hair cut once a year at most. So this wouldn't get resolved for a long time.)
Option 2: Go in one afternoon this week and give her a tip, explaining that I didn't realize that the custom had changed. A totally awkward five minute conversation for both of us.
Option 3: Mail it to her?
Option 4: Get over it, and instead leave really nice reviews online in a few places. (I intend to leave the reviews regardless.)

What option would you choose?


  1. Wow, I didn't even know not tipping the owner was a "thing", old fashioned or not! Honestly, especially since you're not going back anytime soon, I would just let it go and write some really great reviews. Good luck!

  2. I would go in, play dumb and say 'oh my goodness, I got home and realized I forgot to tip you for this awesome cut!' I always vote for playing dumb/spacey if it removes the possibility of awkward conversation. But it might make her day and allow you to not think about it anymore or again next year.

  3. Hmm I always thought that you should tip when a service is performed, whether it's from the owner or not. I'd go with option 2! If she is a sweet lady, then she will understand the situation will be less awkward than you think. :)

  4. Options 1 & 4 combined -- review her work nicely and tip her next time you go in. Refer people to her, if you find an opportunity. It'll be a year from now... she probably won't even remember that you came in!

  5. Embarrassing as it would be, I would go in and tip her. If she's sweet, she'll understand. That way, it won't be hanging over your head until your next haircut. (And I had no idea this piece of etiquette was outdated!)

  6. I choose Option #2. I agree to stopping in one day to tip her :)

  7. I think you should mail it to her with a nice card explaining how fantastic the cut and style was and how you really wanted to thank her a bit more. You could always take the card yourself with the tip inside as well.

  8. Oh, please do 2! It doesn't even have to be awkward, nor five minutes long -- I'd just put the tip in an envelope, say that you completely blanked on the tip when you were in last, and thank her for an amazing haircut. If that's still too much, then I like the idea of mailing it with a card with the above sentiment.

    Good on you for trying to make this right.


Thanks for commenting!