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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Last weekend, I gave my hairdresser, "Zelda," an especially generous tip. She had done a particularly good job and I thought she deserved it.

The next time I visited Zelda, she charged me a higher price to include the amount I had tipped her. I paid the bill without disputing it, and now she expects that much every time. I feel taken advantage of. In addition, if Zelda isn't there when I need an appointment and I use another hairdresser, I am asked how much I pay Zelda before I'm told how much I owe. I have heard them charge other customers a smaller fee.

I'm annoyed and upset, but I don't know what to do about it. I like the job Zelda does, so I don't want to switch. I just wish I had never been so generous. -- PULLING MY HAIR OUT IN L.A.

DEAR PULLING YOUR HAIR OUT: Bald may be beautiful, but pulling your hair out isn't the answer. Having a frank discussion with Zelda and clearing the air is. Prices for services should be posted -- or available upon request -- so customers know what they're expected to pay.

To tip for exceptional service is the correct and accepted thing to do. For Zelda to have then added that tip to her regular fee was presumptuous. Since you don't want to change hairdressers, you may have to tolerate being "clipped." However, if I were you, I'd start asking women whose hair I admire whom they're patronizing and what they are being charged. The beauty business is competitive, and you might be pleasantly surprised.

DEAR ABBY: You sometimes offer advice to women who have trouble meeting eligible men. You suggest they do volunteer work, get involved in church groups, etc.

Well, I have a suggestion for another good "hunting ground." Years ago, I worked at the chamber of commerce in a large Midwestern city. While paid staff did the "heavy lifting," dozens of members worked on committees, special events and other civic activities.

Our female assistants were continuously interacting with young company executives, hard-working, civic-minded guys with good jobs and great potential. I recall several romances that deprived us of good female staff when the woman left to marry some committee volunteer.

So, Abby, consider suggesting to your readers that they look in that direction -- chambers of commerce, manufacturing associations, any civic organization that relies on a lot of volunteer participation from its members. Not only will they have a job doing something worthwhile, they'll be brought into frequent contact with potential partners. -- CUPID IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR CUPID: Thank you! Those are terrific suggestions, and I'll add them to my collection. I'll bet your arrows strike a few bull's-eyes today.


A quiet young lady called Snookie

At betting was quite a smart cookie.

Before every race

She went home to her place

And curled up with a very good bookie.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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