The Tipping Iceberg

I got my hair cut last night (I’ll discuss my personal barbophobia, a word I just made up, another time), and at the end there’s always the awkward moment during which there is the question of a tip. I chickened out and tipped $3 on top of the $15 cost of the haircut (which, given the amount of time the cut took, makes $70 an hour, while I, as a college graduate, make the tiniest fraction of that), even though I had to wait 35 minutes to get in the chair despite the fact that I had an appointment. But the point is, the concept of tipping is too complex for me to handle. I can’t even balance my checkbook, let alone decide what situations merit a tip and how much.

First, there are differing tip obligations. I think that at a restaurant you should tip your server 15% as a base, and add or take away depending on the service. But I also think that when getting a haircut you shouldn’t tip unless the service was exceptional. But you also need to keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to anger someone who wields sharp metal instruments in the vicinity of your head (which makes me wonder why we don’t feel obligated to tip dentists). Then there are tips for valet parking, bellboys… the list goes on and on.

I don’t mind leaving tips in theory, but it makes more sense to me to include that in the cost of the service initially. That way, they get stiffed less (it’s true that they wouldn’t get the occasional huge tip that way, but I’m convinced they’d still be ahead) and I wouldn’t have to agonize over whether a tip is required and how much it should be.

On another note, how many people do you think would be afraid of having their hair cut by a clown?


Jar said…
I like Dwight's theory. Why tip someone for something I can do myself? I can drive a cab, I can (and do) cut my own hair... but I did tip my urologist. I can't pulverize my own kidney stones.
Krista said…
I was very not impressed with the last haircut I got and still tipped the girl 20%. I was scared that the next time I came in I'd get a haircut that was even worse if she remembered me as a bad tipper. Maybe I should just go find another person to cut my hair.

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