Monday, 4 February 2008

Haircut 100

If I add up the number of haircuts I've gotten in my life, I've probably had more in France. And still, I don't know anything about haircut etiquette.

I've asked around many a time, but it seems that not even my French friends are up on their haircut etiquette. Some say yes, some say no. Even a friend whose mother is a coiffeuse couldn't tell me (which I guess is normal since she's never paid to be coiffed in her life).

In the US (can I say at home?) I know how to tip. But tipping in France isn't the norm, or used to not be. I've always tipped my coiffeurs and they've always looked at me with such gratitude that I feel all warm and fuzzy...unlike in the US where tipping is expected no matter how lame your hair is or how bad your service is. But lately, I've noticed more and more tip boxes : at the sandwich store, at the bar and chez my new coiffeur.

There's a bright pink piggy bank watching guard over the register. And as I went to hand my hair-savior a nice tip for making a tired, over worked young mother feel all pretty (ie less haggard and pale), he told me to put it in the piggy since they pool their tips.

At least I've got the restaurant thing down, I think.

So here's the big question : how much do you tip your coiffeur and DO you tip your coiffeur?


Emily said...

I'm glad you asked the questions because I'd like to know what others do too. I have not tipped my coiffeur and now wonder if I should.

The Late Bloomer said...

Oh, this is such a good question... I've never known for sure either, and people have told me so many different things over the years. My current hairdresser is a very savvy, artistic guy who basically sees cutting hair like a work of art, and he does make me feel good about myself, but his haircuts cost a bit of a fortune -- relatively speaking! He's been cutting my hair for something like 3 1/2 years now, and I hate the idea of changing, but I may very well have to cut back soon, especially since the last time I went I got my hair cut REALLY short -- which of course entails getting it cut more often! *CHING* for him -- painful for me.

I do tend to give him something like 4 or 5 Euros as a tip too, and he usually seems very grateful, like I've gone out of my way. But I figure it's a nice way to keep up a good customer-hairdresser rapport. Then again, I never know if I'm doing the right thing or not... And I can't help but wonder if I should be leaving something for the gal who washes my hair too, because it's usually not the same person each time!

I'm stumped. But I have to say it's a relief when you at least track down someone who gives you a good haircut!

wcs said...

I don't tip mine. I've really never seen anyone else do it at her shop. She's a one-woman shop in town.

For me, the issue is not wanting to stand out. Everyone in town knows we're the foreigners, so if I tip and no one else does, then it's a case of the rich (I'm not) American showing off by throwing his money around.

If I don't tip and everyone else does, I'm just the stupid cheapskate American.

So over the past five years I've watched as best I could and as far as I can tell most people, especially the men, don't tip.

wcs said...

By the way, I only said "especially the men" because I know what the basic haircuts cost and can see when they pay. The women get different rates based on what they get done (wash, color, perm, etc.) and I can't really tell what they're paying.

There are mostly middle aged and older people in the shop.

L said...

I've noticed a few baskets or jars next to the cash registers as well. A friend said she leaves a euro or two in the tip jar, but nothing like the 15% Americans are used to. I've never given a tip for a manicure or waxing like I do in the states. The last two times I've gotten my hair cut I haven't left a tip though. I wrote a check to pay and was feeling poor, so I saved my euro to buy bread. I kind of take the "tip if you feel like it" position.

Anonymous said...

ouf, if i'd only read this *before* getting my hair cut two weeks ago. i automatically tip hairdressers unless they're the proprietor.

i got yet another terrible hair cut here -- i've lived in france since 2001 but have only had my hair done here 8 times. one time i cried -- seriously. a couple of other times i've laughed out loud at what they did. i get my hair done on holiday -- in the states or ireland.

anyway, this was my first lillois hairdo and it was grand there but once i washed and saw all the bits she'd missed, wow.

next time i go here (no hols for ages because of the little ones) i won't tip!!

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