DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother and I often go to a local nail salon together and get the basic pedicure, which includes a soak, exfoliating, massage and polish. We try to get our pedicures simultaneously, so one of us doesn’t have to wait too long for the other to be finished.
Last time we went, the salon’s owner did my pedicure herself, and an employee did my mother’s. The owner hurried through the job, and in my opinion, “phoned it in.” The woman working on my mother took her time and did a good, relaxing job.
When it came time to pay, my mother tipped both women. (She paid for us both this time, but we usually each pay for our own.) We both know you are not supposed to tip a salon owner, since they don’t have to turn over a percentage, but here’s the trouble: How in the world do you pay at the cashier’s desk, which the owner was handling, and explain that “This $5 is for Rose. No, nothing for you.”
There is something of a language barrier, also. How should we handle this if it crops up again?
GENTLE READER: Ask for change. No, not in the behavior, although that would be helpful, too -- just not, Miss Manners warns, polite.
If you ask the owner to break a $20 bill, you may then give the tip to Rose in person before making a hasty exit. Since the owner is already in such a hurry, perhaps she will not notice that you did not return.