To Tip or Not to Tip: The Salon Consult
Our intrepid advice columnist is still on maternity leave. Here is a question she answered before her new baby, Ezra’s birth, in preparation for time off with her young ones. Applause, please.
Hi, Long-time reader, first-time emailer.
So, although my question will not be answered before I need it to be answered, I am asking anyway since my haphazard googling produced NO USEFUL RESULTS and others might want to know the answer to this all-important-question.
If I am going to my usual salon for a consultation about a service (not with my usual stylist), do I tip the stylist doing the consulting? It’s a free consultation (wait, I guess it is, but who knows?), and will likely end with my scheduling the service (which is not an inexpensive one).
I have discussed the above question with several really smart PhD students and we haven’t come up with anything outside of “google it” (which might say something about PhD students in general, I’m just saying).
Okay, that’s it. I hope you can succeed where we have failed!
No. You do not tip during a free consultation. You tip when actual services are rendered and received to your satisfaction, and that tip is based on a percentage of the charges. So…no tip for a visit that incurs no charges, or when the only “service” rendered is a discussion of…future services to be rendered. The salon is the entity that has decided to offer consultation services, and will be paying the stylist for his or her time.
Obviously, the point to the consultation is to ensure that you make the appointment for the expensive service, but also to help ensure that said appointment goes well and you’ll end up thrilled with the results — and will therefore tip the stylist generously (20%) at that point in time.
Think of a consultation as an interview. You don’t get paid for a job interview, you don’t pay people YOU might interview or prescreen before hiring them, be it a dog walker or babysitter or window washer. Same concept, more or less.