Paying Too Much For Service


Depending on where you live in the country, it’s common practice for Americans to tip a waiter or waitress 15-20%.  It is well understood that waitstaff earn most of their salary through their tips.  But does the 20% tip rule extend to ALL services or just the services where you know there isn’t much of a base salary?

Heather gets her hair cut and colored at a pricey hair salon in town.  Her short ‘do’ and highlights require a maintenance cut & color that costs her about $300 every six weeks or so (without tip)!  She loves her stylist and tips her 20% ($60) after every visit.  She had never really questioned the amount of the tip she gave before until her friend said that you should tip less when a service costs so much.  Really?  Her friend’s opinion was that the more a service costs, the higher the base cut is for the service provider.  Heather then found out that her stylist makes well over six figures a year, and she began to really question whether the 20% tip rule should apply to everyone in service industries across the board, or just the ones who you know work for tips only?

Whether it’s a massage therapist, hair dresser, taxi driver, valet, manicurist, landscaper, there seems to be a lot of uncertainty and confusion around the protocol of  tipping different service providers. Are you cheap if you tip 20% for some services and 10% for others?  Should it depend on how much their base salary is, or should you always tip as a thank you for good service?  If someone gives spa treatments out of their home,  owns the taxi they drive, salon you go to,  or even the neighbor kid who cuts your lawn, do you tip them at all since they are keeping the full cut?

Is Heather’s friend cheap or frugal for having a different set of rules depending on the situation?  Is Heather cheap for questioning the amount she tips her stylist?  Tell us what you think and help us determine the proper protocol and etiquette of tipping!

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One Response to “Paying Too Much For Service”

  1. Jessica says:

    This is a great question and something I have been thinking about a lot lately. A tip is a reward for good service, yet most of us tip whether the service is good or not. I think we should increase or decrease the percent of the tip to reflect the quality of the service received. Also, most of us tip on the total bill, but actually you should tip on the bill before tax. As far as the “owner” getting a tip, I have always been told when the owner gives you a service, you don’t tip. So, the owner of a salon gets nothing extra cause he doesn’t have to split the money. In a restaurant 15%-20%, depending on where you live and the type of eatery. You would tip less at a diner than at a fine restaurant. Does that mean that we tip if the service is awful? Somehow we all do, even though TIP is an abbreviation for “to insure proper” service. So why do we tip full amount regardless? We should adjust the amount according to what kind of service we have received. As far as the tipping for a service that is way overpriced to begin with, and the service giver is charging sooo much…..I think maybe 10%-15% is sufficient. If it is costing you $300. for cut and color, they are making a lot of money and adding to a meager salary isn’t the issue. There is a big difference. Maybe we are so caught up in trying to be “correct” we are over doing it. As far as a taxi I would tip 10% and round up (probablly making it 15%) It is all confusing and what is proper, I think, is to tip according to the quality of the service you receive. When a service is good, it is a pleasure to tip, but I don’t think it is necessary to give away the bank. Maybe we need to stop acting like we are responsible for something that is supposed to be a reward and at our discretion. Don’t be cheap with your tipping, but don’t overdo because you think it is expected.

Any Thoughts?

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