Money Can’t Buy My Love

For those of us who accept tips, we all love a client who does. Especially when you work in one of those geographical anomalies where people tend not to tip anyone but their waiters — and then only because they feel they “have” to.

The problem is, I also love a lot of my clients who don’t tip me. And I don’t love all the clients who do. And I certainly don’t decide who I love or how much based on how much they pay me over and above what they owe me.

It’s an awkward subject to discuss too. Sure! I love it when someone tells me to keep the change, or adds a few extra dollars to their credit card ticket and tells me to enjoy my next latté on them. That’s sweet. Not only is it sweet, but I appreciate the acknowledgement that they are leaving me a tip. It makes me feel like they did it by choice — because they want to, not because they feel obligated to. And I like the little “lunch is on me,” or “go get yourself a chai” comments because it makes me feel like the tip was a personal gift. A nice gesture.

But I have plenty of clients who don’t tip. My prices are on the upper end for the area, and my clientele is primarily middle-class, blue collar. I appreciate — no, that sounds flat and “professional” — I LOVE LOVE LOVE that these people are putting a priority on their nail services. I am eternally grateful and impressed that they want what I offer, as I offer it, enough to cut out a little space in their budgets for my services. I love that they come back week after week, year after year, through good times and bad. It doesn’t bother me if they don’t tip me — tips are not what I rely on to pay my bills. So whether someone can’t really swing a little extra, can only swing a little extra now and then, or just plain isn’t even aware that tipping your nail tech is a thing, the whole loyal, dependable client who respects me and treats me well... that really counts for something.

It’s those few people who sneak into the books every so often who tip really well, only to laud it over your head later that get me. The ones who expect you to answer their calls on the weekends, to rush down to the salon to fix a broken nail on a Sunday afternoon, who expect top priority when they reschedule (constantly), and even go so far as to suggest you “bump” another (regular....better) client to get them in!

Because, after all, “I always tip 20%.”


So what? Tip your next nail tech 20%. If you wanna bribe me, it’s gonna cost a whole lot more. I’d rather replace you with a client who doesn’t tip at all but always shows up on time for her appointments, treats me with respect, and maybe — just occasionally — brings me a latté.

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