It’s no secret that I have very little hair left. About every four weeks I get a trim and, frankly, there isn’t much a stylist or barber can do (good or bad) that I would notice. I usually opt for the standard $15 haircut at one of the national chains. I’ve never been disappointed.
Last week I went for my usual coiff and everything was fine and dandy… until it came time to pay. When my stylist flipped the iPad payment thingy around, I was given four choices when it came to the tip:
- $5 (33 percent!)
- $7.50 (50 percent!!)
- $10 (66 percent!!!)
What is other? A $15 tip for a $15 haircut? Or do you want me to feel like a schmuck and type in a lower amount so I’m labeled as the local Scrooge? Flustered and confused, I clicked the $5 option and turned heels for the door, feeling a little dirty.
Before I come off an el-cheapo, I will tell you that I never tip under 20 percent at a full-service restaurant. Having worked as a waiter, I understand that those folks depend on tips to scrape by and sometimes perceived poor service may be due to short staffing, problems in the kitchen, or just a bad day. In rare cases of exemplary service I might push it to 30 percent or more, but 50 or 60 percent? Not even for my own dear momma!
Tipping has become quite confusing in general. Some restaurants offer only counter service and make you bus your own dishes. Should I hand over 20 percent or more for that? If I buy a cup of coffee for $2.50 and throw 50 cents in the tip jar (which is 20 percent, mind you) am I subject to a sideways stare from the barista?
If the barber needs $20 a pop to make a living, I’m cool with that. Raise the price. I’ll go five weeks between cuts and it will all work out in the end. When I get my ears lowered, my savings account and self-worth shouldn’t get lowered along with it.