How Do I Tip on Gift Certificates at The Beauty Salon or Restaurant?

Receive a gift certificate for a manicure or other service? You know that we all love free money, but how much should you tip?

Gift certificates for a personal service or for a dining experience do not include the gratuity!

When you receive a gift certificate for a service such as a haircut & style, the tip to the stylist is not included.  That means you really need to leave the tip of 15%-20% to the stylist.  Maybe your relative has made an appointment with you for her stylist for your visit to her home.  She may not want you to leave a tip and will give the stylist the money up front.  If no indication has been made to you that the tip was paid ahead of time, you should pay the gratuity. 

The workers in the service industry, including hospitality of any sort, depend upon tips to make their livings.  Often Uncle Sam will tax those people on their income plus a percentage which would be their tips.  People not in this industry often do not understand the concept of tipping.  And people in that industry forget how to earn that gratuity with smiles and kindness. Tipping at a full service restaurant is the appropriate customer response.  If you want to be waited on at the restaurant, include the tip as part of the money you need to set aside for that meal.

Waiters often make a very low minimum wage which the government and restaurant owners feel is supplemented by patron’s tipping.  High end restaurants give personal service such as shaking out the napkin and crumb brushing your table between courses.  The food will be more expensive, but the professional waiting on you makes sure that you are comfortable and pampered.

Hair stylist do not get all the money you pay for the haircut.  They generally rent their station or booth and pay their share for laundering of towels, shampoo, conditioner, etc.  So when you give that $20 for the haircut and shampoo, remember that the stylist is only getting some of that money.

Massage therapist, unless they own the salon, have the same situation as the hair stylist.  Even if they own the shop, the money isn’t all income for them.  They have rent or mortgage on the salon, utilities and supplies.  Most businesses must have insurance for their own protection and for yours. Tipping is that little extra that helps buy their kid’s shoes and books. 

Feel better about tipping when you know what goes on behind the scenes  When you’ve had bad service, your waiter is probably miserable with himself anyway.  Don’t leave a tip or leave that dirty penny and your server will not only remember you, but the whole waitstaff will!

You should always tip on what the whole bill would be rather than on the discounted amount.  The discounts are given by the owner to get more business in the door or as a donation for a cause.  The waiter can’t live through these specials without your tipping on what you ate, not what you paid! Remember that they share part of these gratuities with the buss person and sometimes with the kitchen staff! If you have had a drink from the bar, the waiter has to tip out the bartender also.  It doesn’t take long for the insufficient tip to evaporate.

Remember that the service industry survives on gratuities from the patron.  Tipping etiquette is essential and is a reflection on your social sophistication.

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Published in: Personal Finance


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