Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To tip or not to tip: the hair salon owner

Tipping has a storied history. Though there is some controversy to this particular tale, it is widely believed that once upon a time, tips were given before a service was rendered — “To Insure Promptness,” get it? Tip beforehand and get better service, people thought.

How the times change! As we’ve mentioned before, it’s customary to tip your hairdresser at least 15-20 percent. But what if your hairdresser is also the salon owner?

You might be wondering why that would make a difference. Conventional etiquette wisdom has long held that you do not tip your hairdresser if he or she is also the salon owner.

But when we talked to several friends who are certified etiquette experts, we were reminded again how etiquette changes with the times.

Several of the experts tip their hairdressers (who are also the salon owners) every time, saying the gesture is thoughtful and shows appreciation for their services. One said she would tip a hairdresser/owner only if the service was exceptional.

One expert said that after going to the same hairdresser for years, the hairdresser opened her own salon. Our friend still tips her for her quality services. The owner shouldn’t be penalized for taking a business risk and probably needs the tips more now than ever, she said.

If you are going to a new hairdresser, there’s no need to ask whether he or she is the owner to determine whether to tip—err on the side of caution and tip anyway! If the hairdresser makes it known that he or she is the owner, then you have a decision to make.

To tip or not to tip a salon owner? If you feel strongly compelled to tip, then do so—just know that it is not required.

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