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Tips on Tipping
A Real Pet Peeve of Mine
I'm not exactly sure where that expression came from, but do you know what I mean? I don't like to acknowledge that we can be so terribly inconsiderate towards each other, especially when the "other" is my beautician. Oh well, let me start from the beginning.
Our Beauticians are Miracle Workers
In over 30 years, this satisfied marcoujor has frequented the same beauty salon and gone to a total of three beauticians. My first, named "J", left, moving to Florida with a career change as the chemicals were so harsh on her hands. My friend "E" still works there but had to streamline her caseload, as she took over as the manager of the boutique. I have been so very satisfied for the last 10 years, or so, with the ever creative and delightful "T".
This is the kind of shop that is sort of like a second home to many of us as it has seen us coming in "at our worst" and leaving "looking like movie stars". These women have prepared me for my wedding day in white and for my Mother's funeral in black. I'm not sure how much more intimate a shop can be than that. The manager drove to a city hospital in 1999 when my husband asked her to do my hair. She knew that would forever mean the world to me. Several years later, she was kind enough to travel to a local Rehab when Mom had fractured some ribs from a fall to give her the most gentle shampoo and set. These are just a couple of the many acts of kindness that all of these fine women do for all of their customers, without even blinking an eye.
So, just the other day, when I went to see "T" for my scheduled therapy (I mean, hair) session, I noticed she was looking a little more tired than usual. "T" definitely stands for trooper, and my appointment time did not suffer in any way. She did comment, in passing, that she was "looking forward to an early night". Never one to complain and, only because I asked directly, "T" went on to explain why she was so tired.
She had stayed at the shop until 11PM the night before with one customer, who had a 6PM color appointment. It usually takes me 90 minutes for a color treatment. This woman was dissatisfied three times with T's color selection, still calling her first thing in the morning at the shop to report continued dissatisfaction! With a little rest and fresh perspective, at least "T" was able to say that she had done the very best she could and that her hair needed a break at this point!
I really have to commend my beautician for her professional behavior in this situation. The customer knew that "T" had to cancel personal plans that she had made after work. The shop was scheduled to close at 7PM. Only the two of them were there until 11PM. Apparently none of this mattered to the client. It was truly "all about her hair"!
T's motto is that "your head is my billboard". She takes more pride in her work than most anyone I know. I have never been dissatisfied. In fact, strangers have stopped me after I have stepped out of the shop and asked me where and who I go to. She is "that good"! So, I know this lady got three excellent color jobs. I would have never personally subjected my hair to this harsh treatment for such a minor vanity issue. The icing on the cake, however, is that she did not leave a tip!
Are You A Big Tipper...?
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Here's the Scoop
No matter how you tend to feel on the spectrum of "to tip or not to tip", there really are suggested guidelines aplenty for those of us who choose to do this socially acceptable behavior of expressing appreciation, but may not be sure exactly how much is appropriate.
Some common tipping guidelines (although many more exist and can be found in some of the recommended readings) are:
- 10-20% BEAUTICIAN, MANICURIST, SPA SERVICES STAFF
- 15-20% (pre-tax) WAIT STAFF
- 10-15% (tab) BARTENDER
- $1- $2/ item COAT CHECK
- $3- $5/ day HOTEL HOUSEKEEPER
- $1- $2/ bag HOTEL PORTER
- 15-20% TAXI DRIVER
- $1- $2/ bag AIRPORT SKYCAP
Of course, all bets are off on the "extremely rare instance" when the service has been very unprofessional or rude. I do not make a practice of faulting wait staff when there is a shortage of staff. In fact, I often feel very sorry in these instances. Nor do I fault a waiter or waitress for the quality of food. It is certainly your right to follow up politely but never to "take it out" on the server.
I suppose, the older I get, the fewer rules I appreciate "having" to follow. One rule, however, is always GOLDEN to me: and that is to TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WANT TO BE TREATED. And I love the feeling I privately get from a purely random act of kindness. I enjoy giving a few extra dollars to the stressed out waitress, that I will never see again, when I noticed she just "got stiffed" by her last customer. I find, in return, that unexpectedly sweet things seem to happen to me. It reminds me of the "Pay It Back" movie, which has me in puddles every time I watch it.
If this applies to you, you might think twice. If you know someone it applies to, please give them an "ever so gentle" nudge that it is so uncool to be non-existent or rude with your tipping etiquette. I will continue to hang onto my belief that simple reminders and and non-defensive consciousness raising will truly help in the decrease of this issue. I remain so eternally grateful to those who assist me in these activities that I cannot do for myself. I cannot, frankly, imagine not expressing my appreciation, both verbally and with an appropriate tip. And I thank each of you for listening to my pet peeve, at least my latest one!
© Maria Jordan (revised January, 2015)