Thursday, March 26, 2009

To Tip or Not to Tip?

The day before I flew out to California for Jenny's wedding, I decided to get my hair cut.

I've been going to a salon at the mall near my house, and I like it quite a bit. It's not Supercuts or whatever, and even though I am broke as shit lately, it's definitely cheaper than what I used to shell out for cuts in DC. So I can justify the expense.

I hate the whole tipping process. I hate that I can't just add it to a line on my receipt and leave. I hate that the cashier asks how much I want to tip and hands me the cash, forcing me to stroll over to my stylist. "Um, thanks. HERE." And it's not like I can afford to tip her amazingly well, so it's usually a tatty old five dollar bill. Is there any way to remove the awkwardness from tipping at salons? (I mean, hell - at the Aveda Institute, you leave your tip at the desk. I suppose that's because they don't require tipping, but I always do. They're students, after all, and a haircut costs all of eighteen dollars.)

There was an instance where deciding how to tip was not a problem - I didn't tip at all. I feel no remorse or shame for this. It was easily the worst haircut I ever had, though not in terms of the style. I still remember it.

I look young. I know this. And sometimes it isn't a good thing (getting hit on by 9th graders on a field trip, being handed the children's menu at restaurants, ETC).

But I don't care what a person looks like - in a professional capacity, everyone should be treated the same.

One weekend in college, I was visiting home for the weekend and needed a quick cut. I headed to JCPenney's and asked for a walk-in appointment. This was the same JCPenney that saved my poor high school hair before my senior pictures in order to fix the disastrous results of my run-in with Sun-In. (It said "Heat-activated" on the spray bottle. I didn't realize that meant heat from a hair dryer. I figured it was all about the sun.)

I should have known that I was not in for a treat by the way the receptionist hesitated. The only available stylist was apparently KNOWN for her assholity, and I was pretty much warned to that.

Long story short (too late), the woman treated me like a five year old, yanked pieces of my hair from my head using a comb more suitable to a pixie cut, and dared acting shocked when I practically jumped from the chair at the conclusion of the cut.

"Don't you want me to dry it?" It was December. In Michigan. I paid for the cut, refused the receptionist's questions about a tip and pretty much ran out the door with dripping wet hair. And I never returned. I know now that I should have spoken with a manager or at the very least written a letter. But at the time, I had been treated like a child, so I acted like one.

Was I out of line?


Kristen said...

It's amazing that I'm still friends with you, knowing that you went to JCPenney's. For a hair cut. IN COLLEGE. When I KNEW you.

Heather said...

k-10 - Yes, I know. Your hatred of JCP is strong.