How do I tip the barber in this situation?

I sign in and get called back to a chair where the lady cuts my hair. When its time to pay, she sends me to a different woman working the cash register up front. Ie, the woman to whom I physically give the money is not the woman who cuts my hair. Should I just take my change and walk back to her chair and leave it there? I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do this.

Also, I rarely carry cash on me so I usually pay by debit. Now, in most restaurants, the swiper asks you to input a tip. This doesn’t happen in the barbershop. So I must confess I’ve had many a haircut that went tipless. Should I just make an effort to not use debit for the particular purchase of a haircut?

I think going back and giving the barber a tip after the fact is fine. I know I’ve done it before and since you, at worst case, catch them right when they are getting ready to start a cut, you are not interrupting them too much.

As for having no cash, since I know usually when I plan to get my haircut, I make sure I have a few bucks on hand for it. It is about the only service I pay cash for anymore now that I think about it.

If anything, I hate going to a restaurant where you pay up front and all you have is a $20 so you need to get change to leave money on the table, but by the time you get back the table has been completely cleared. That is awkward.

If you plan to pay with a debit card, I’d just make sure I had a few bucks to hand the stylist before I even went to the cashier. I always try to have some cash on me, since you never know when you’ll need it.

I always have to go back to give them a tip, since I never have any change on me. Though I don’t think I would leave it for them – I just hand it to them.

I asked specifically about this situation at a place set up like this and I was told to put the tip back at the haircutter’s station.

I concur with the above posters. Get your change, and physically hand the tip to your stylist. This is the norm around here.

If I pay by debit/credit I instruct whoever is running the card to put the tip on it. They run it, take the change out of the register and set it aside for the stylist.

If I’m paying cash I give the tip to the person at the register.

Often the stylist is who rings me up (because they want to sell me hair care products to earn their commission) so it’s not an issue.

The only time it’s ever been any problem is when I had some waxing done. I wanted to put the tip on my card and the register person said they weren’t allowed to. The waxer ended up getting a smaller tip because I was short of cash.

I’m uncomfortable with the idea of handing the stylist the tip directly, and I’m not sure why. I tip bartenders directly and tell servers to keep the change…

Yeah, for some reason handing your hairstylist a tip feels awkward. I don’t know why. I usually go back and put it at her station (they’re sometimes discreetly away, I think), or if they’ve seemed to go out to lunch or something I’ve given it to the register girl and said “Can you make sure Kathy gets this?” or whatever.

When I lived in Atlanta and got good haircuts, my salon changed the tipping mechanism every damned time. They’d give you an envelope, and at first you went back and handed it to the stylist, and then you handed it to the clerk, and then there was a big box and you dropped your envelope in there after writing the stylist’s name on it. That was my favorite - quick, easy, unembarassing.

I agree that this is the easiest, least disruptive way to deal with tipping and I wish every salon would do the same. I frequently need to tip multiple people (the person who cuts my hair, the person who washes it, the person who waxed my eyebrows, etc.) so I just love this system. Very small envelopes and a small locked box at the front desk with a receptionist who always asks if you need change.

It is less awkward – handing over cash seems so illicit – I think tipping should be discreet.