While sitting at the kitchen table, I was reconciling the checking account by entering transactions into the register. My wife walked up beside me and dropped off a receipt from a cut and color she’d received earlier that afternoon. I saw the amount charged, as well as the amount she’d written in for a tip. It was something I’d seen countless times before.
As a tip, she’d left about 5%.
The Problem with Tipping
I should probably mention here that I’m not a huge fan of tipping. I’d much prefer merchants to raise their prices enough to pay their staff and get rid of the awkwardness of trying to figure out who to tip and how much. But, given that’s not happening anytime soon, I’m doing the best I can to live within the system.
The salon that my wife visits happens to be owned by a friend of ours. Because of this, we have a very clear view of how the shop is run — and know that the employees rely heavily on the tips they receive for their income. My wife’s hair is very long and thick, so a full cut and color can take quite a long time.
Given the amount of time and labor it takes to color my wife’s hair, and knowing how reliant the employee is on tips, I feel like my wife should be writing a bigger number on the tip line at the salon.
What Should I Do?
I know she has the ability to quickly calculate 10% and 20% tips. While paying the bill once at a restaurant, I showed her the trick where you just move the decimal place over one place for a 10% tip, then double that for a 20% tip. I know she retained the information, because I’ve even witnessed her teach someone else the trick.
So, I’m not sure why she leaves such a small tip — even when she’s out-of-this-world happy with the job performed.
I’m also not sure how to suggest she leave a bigger one.
It should be as easy as comparing her tipping practice at the salon to what we do at a restaurant and asking why it’s different. Maybe she has a good reason for the amount she tips, or maybe she’s simply unaware of the difference. But I don’t want to make her feel bad either.
Do you think I should have that conversation with my wife? What wold you say to a habitually low tipper?