A Hairy Situation?


I was in a hair salon the other day, and as I was checking in, another client was checking out.  Her hair looked fabulous, and I overheard her telling the receptionist she had just had a Brazilian Blow Out.  –And although it was a super pricey treatment it was so worth it – she loved the results!  As the cashier swiped her card, the client asked — “what’s the normal tip? I left 10%”. The receptionist delicately responded that it was a bit low – the norm was 15-20%.  To which the happy client responded, “Well, the blowout was more than I expected – but the next time I come I will leave a bigger tip”.

I just stood there stunned.  She seemed to be saying that because the treatment was expensive somehow the tip should be reduced?  Am I missing something?  Is there any validity to her “make it up next time” (presumably on a less costly service) approach, or was she simply being cheap? Has anyone else out there ever heard of this – where the percentage goes down as cost goes up??  Tell us what you think!

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6 Responses to “A Hairy Situation?”

  1. Kiki says:

    If the service sucks the tip is low. If it is good I’ll give between 15-20%.
    I don’t think the price should dictate the tip ever.

  2. Andrew says:

    There’s a couple of ways to look at this. First, there might have been a question of available finances (although the person probably should have forgone the treatment if they could not afford it). Next, while more expensive, one might look at how long it took. People tip a hairstylist for the work on the hair (cut/style/dry). Do you tip on the materials needed for the process? Maybe so. When we tip a waitress/waiter it’s based on the amount of the food. In summary, given the state of the economy, I’d rather have part of something than all of nothing. Thanks for maintaining a great site!

  3. Tara says:

    To quote my mother, “If you can’t afford to tip, you shouldn’t eat out.” She was referring to dining out, but it applies to this situation also.

    If you can’t afford an expensive treatment, including an appropriate tip, don’t get the service.

  4. Kam says:

    There is something left out of this scenario the walk-in client does not state:
    Was the previous client aware of the price before having her hair done? Had the pricing changed and perhaps the client was taken by surprise?
    In either case, she may truly not have had the money. Should she have canceled her appointment because she did not have the “required” tip? Truly a lose lose if she did so.
    I’ve been on both sides of the counter. It is embarrassing when you think you have the exact cash for the process as well as the tip and then find out pricing for process is higher. Something had to give, in this case the tip.
    Also, I was a receptionist at a hair salon after college – I would have been fired immediately had my boss ever heard me tell a client, even “delicately,” that his/her tip was “a bit low” with another client present.
    Professionally, the receptionist should have stated the facts, “The norm is 15-20%, but whatever you are able to give at this time will be appreciated by the stylist.”

    • Elvia says:

      I think Kam has the best comment, especially so since Kam’s viewpoint is from both sides.

      I know that from my experience I have done this before. Sometimes I only give $2-5 for tip; very few times I don’t tip at all! I’m a college student that needs a splurge every once in a while… sometimes I tip if I have extra money and sometimes I don’t since I feel the service could have been better. Everyone is different; who are we to judge?!

      • Amy Saves says:

        agreed. everyone is different and the receptionist was kinda rude. also, people seem to just expect tips all the time now even if they don’t do a great job.

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