Double Hair Trouble

by admin on August 29, 2011

My mom has (for at least 10 years) been going to the same person to do her hair. Mind you, my mom is in her mid-60’s and prefers her hair to be in the ‘old lady bob’ haircut, which I personally despise and swear I’ll never do, but I digress. Anyway, my mom recently missed a hair appointment to get her hair highlighted and cut. When her stylist called to see if she was going to make it, my mom explained that she had completely forgotten and if she left at that moment could be there in 15 minutes. (which would have left them 30 minutes behind in the appointment). Her stylist said that was too late and to just re-schedule, and my mom offered to pay her for missing her appointment.

Fast forward to today, when my mom goes for her re-scheduled appointment. When she asks stylist at the end how much she owes her, the stylist says $220! ($110 for the missed appointment and $110 for the work she did that day) My way-too-generous mother pays up, but calls me to tell me what happened. I could not BELIEVE that this woman actually took my mom up on the offer. My mom would have given her a sizeable tip for missing the appointment, but I told my mom it’s not like she’s a doctor and she didn’t perform any services so in the very least she should have just asked for $25 or something. I don’t know if I’m the unreasonable one, but I cannot imagine asking someone to pay for a missed HAIR appointment. Oh and my mom is pretty upset about it, and told me she needs to find someone new to do her hair cause this rubbed her the wrong way. I told my mom not returning to her would make things pretty clear about how she feels about it. I just think it’s crappy to do to a longtime client. Thoughts?   0826-11

I’m not getting why your mom is both surprised and offended that the hair stylist took her up on the generous offer your mom made to her.  If your mom meant her offer to pay for the missing appointment to merely be a superficial social courtesy that the stylist should have known not to accept, I think Mom made an error in presumption and communication.  Your mom didn’t offer a sizable tip, she offered to pay for the missed appointment.

It would have been nice of the stylist to have been more forgiving given that Mom has a decade of business loyalty to the stylist and the accumulated tips over ten years should have been more than compensatory for one missed appointment.  But if Mom has missed other appointments, I can see why she offered to pay and why it was accepted.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie August 29, 2011 at 5:39 am

“but I told my mom it’s not like she’s a doctor and she didn’t perform any services so in the very least she should have just asked for $25 or something”

I don’t agree with this. A missed appointment is a missed appointment – which takes up a space some one else could have had.

I do think it was steep asking for the full amount however and not something I have ever heard of before.


Bamph August 29, 2011 at 6:44 am

“…it’s not like she’s a doctor and she didn’t perform any services…” That’s right. She didn’t perform any services. Think about it, she was counting on your mom to get there and didn’t schedule anyone in that time so that your mom could get her hair cut. Instead of making $110 that hour, she made nothing since she had a client no-show.

That line of thinking is similar to a golf foursome being late to their tee-off time, and thinking that they shouldn’t be charged for the missed time, and allowed to go out without paying a penalty. Or someone showing up 30 minutes after their plane is supposed to leave and expect to get on it or on another flight with no penalty… Just because you think that someone else’s time is not worth anything, doesn’t mean that it’s true…


me August 29, 2011 at 7:01 am

its a bit wrong to charge her for the full appointment considering the stylist diddnt use any products and probably had another customer to fill the gap, maybe a quarter if you mum offered to pay, but its a bit greedy asking for the whole lot, unless like admin said, you mum missed a lot of appointments.


Courtney August 29, 2011 at 7:18 am

I’m wondering if the story would have turned out a bit differently had her mother not have been going in to get her hair highlighted. At the salon I go to, there is a sign stating any cancelations dealing with hair coloring must be made 24 hours in advance or else there is a fee. I’m guessing there is a lot of work that goes into finding and mixing the right chemicals to use in this process that must be done prior to the appointment.


kingshearte August 29, 2011 at 7:19 am

I pretty much agree with what Admin said, but I wanted to add that the OP’s astonishment that a missed HAIR appointment could be worth paying for is kind of condescending. You say “it’s not like she’s a doctor,” but so what? Because your mom missed her appointment, the stylist may not have made any money for that time slot, depending on how the salon is set up. I’m just not sure why you think that expecting payment for such a situation is acceptable for a doctor, who would also not have performed any services at the missed appointment, but not for another professional who also depends on clients.

That said, like Admin said, if your mom has been going there for so long, I would think that a little leeway could be offered if this is the first time this has happened. I’m also curious as to what the stylist said when your mom offered to pay her. Did she acknowledge the offer? Turn it down, or tell your mom not to worry, only to surprise! charge her for it next time? Something along the lines of “we’ll take care of it next time you’re in”? Frankly, her response here might affect how I feel about the end result.


essie August 29, 2011 at 7:25 am

If the hairdresser had charged her for the full appointment without any previous discussion, I’d say yes, your mother had the right to be upset. But she didn’t do that. She didn’t ask for anything; your mother offered. However, you’re right about one thing: the hairdresser’s not a doctor. Therefore, unlike a doctor, she can’t expect someone to call in at the last minute, begging for an appointment because of a sudden fever or smashed finger, and making up for the missed appointment.

Even in a purely social situation (for example, you spill red wine on your hosts’ pale carpet or you bump into a table and break a figurine or smash a framed photograph), if you offer to make restitution, you should be prepared to follow through on it and not presume your hosts will decline your offer. However, this wasn’t a social occassion, this was a business appointment and your mother’s forgetfulness meant a loss of income for the hairdresser.

So, basically, your mother’s offended because the hairdresser presumed she was an honorable woman and would do as she said she would. Wow.


just sayin' August 29, 2011 at 7:30 am

So many people fail to realize that people who provide services by appointment lose revenue when they “forget” or just decide not to show up. “Mom” should not have been surprised or dismayed at having to pay for the appointment she missed–that was $110 the stylist could have received from someone else. It should not have been an “offer” just to try and save face after irresponsibly not showing up–it should have been policy. Missed appointments without ample time to reschedule a new client should still be required to compensate the service provider (stylist, masseuse, private music teacher, tutor, etc) who both set aside time for the client AND was cheated out of income.
This story just sounds like the entitlement blues.


Virg August 29, 2011 at 7:36 am

I don’t find it unusual to be asked to pay for a missed appointment, but I have to say that I find it extreme to charge $110.00 for the miss just because that’s how much work was to be done. One could argue that that was the price she’d have paid, but one could just as easily argue that the work wasn’t done so compensating her for things like materials used makes no sense. Even my dentist charges a normal office visit charge for a missed appointment, not the cost for all services that would have occurred at that appointment. It’s along the lines of a store charging a customer retail price for breaking an item in the store, rather than the store’s cost to replace the item. I’d have found it a lot easier to swallow if the stylist had charged her normal hourly rate for the appointment, and a ten-year customer deserves that sort of consideration.



Typo Tat August 29, 2011 at 7:37 am

I couldn’t agree more with EHell Dame. OP’s mother OFFERED to pay for the missed appointment, why is she surprised when her offer is accepted?

If the woman never intended to pay, she should not have offered. The type of behavior OP’s mother exhibited has a name, it’s called hypocrisy.


counselorm August 29, 2011 at 7:39 am

I believe it is pretty standard for hair dressers as well as other professions to charge for missed appointments these days. Some may choose not to do so for business reasons. The reason why they charge is because they would have had the customer if the customer had made it to the appointment and by missing the appointment, the customer deprived the worker of the opportunity to schedule in a different customer. One may disagree with the business decision to charge but I do not consider it a matter of etiquette.


FlyingBaconMouse August 29, 2011 at 8:07 am

If I were in the OP’s mom’s place, though, when I said “I’ll pay for missing the appointment,” I would mean, “I will pay whatever fee you have in place to deal with missed appointments,” not “I will pay as if the appointment had in fact happened.” Any other interpretation would never occur to me until I was told otherwise, and most places just don’t charge a 100% missed appointment fee.


beckstar August 29, 2011 at 8:09 am

Both my hairdresser and my beautician have a rule that they will charge for a missed appointment unless it is cancelled more than 24 hours in advance. It seems fair enough – they’re unlikely to be able to fill the appointment at that short notice and have thus lost money. That said, I think if there were circumstances such as illness or bereavement they’d waive the fee for a regular long-term customer.

Basically, your mom just forgot about the appointment and then offered to pay up, and was then asked to pay up, which she did. I don’t see why you have a problem with this.


DGS August 29, 2011 at 8:09 am

I agree with the Admin that missing an appointment warrants being compensated for lost time, but in order to avoid confusion and hurt feelings, most establishments that operate on a fee-for-service basis have a set rule that specifies to all customers what the charge would be for the missed appointment. Some places have a set partial fee, for instance, $25, while others have a set full fee, such as whatever the appointment may have cost. I am not saying that the OP was correct, but I do think it would have been helpful for her stylist to consider making that rule known and printed for all customers to see in the stylist’s place of work. The salon where I go to get my hair cut and styled charges $50 (half the cost of most appointments with a senior stylist) for a missed appointment, and missed appointment is designated as being more than 10 minutes late for one’s scheduled appointment time. The first time that a customer contacts the salon to make an appointment, he or she is notified of that policy.


Cheryl Olsen August 29, 2011 at 8:36 am

I’m going to disagree with everyone here.

I agree mom should have kept her appointment, but stuff happens. And while the stylist deserves appointments to be kept, it can be considered the cost of doing business.

The stylist did lose out on some revenue, but think about the long term effect. A valued customer now has some bad feelings about this stylist and probably won’t go there anymore. So the stylist gains the money for the missed appointment, but will now miss out on years of sales. I think this was a very dumb move on behalf of the stylist.


AS August 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

I am with the admin here. It might be in their business policy that the customer has to pay for no-shows. The hair-salon I go to ask for credit card info’ when making an appointment, and they charge the card in case of a no-show. Some shops can overlook the policy for long-time customers, but there is no reason to do so, particularly when OP’s mother offered to pay for the missed appointment. Why would she make an offer if she does not intend to follow through? It is also possible that the hair-dresser is just an employee and has no authority to pardon a missed appointment for anyone. The only thing strange in this situation is that she charged $110. Is that the minimum rate? Or did she just double the charge? If the latter, then it is not fair because there might have been another customer getting work done for the minimum cost.

I did not quite follow the thing about doctors. How are hair stylists any different as professionals than doctors? Lost time and income is the same for both; and doctors can often fit in emergencies during no-shows.


Xtina August 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

Mom shouldn’t have made that offer if she was not prepared to follow through. Agree that if she is a long-time client and has a good history of being on time and generally being a good client, that you’d think the stylist would, in the name of good customer relations, charged only a small fee just to make the point; the full price does seem a little unreasonable. However, Mom DID offer!

As other posters have noted, the stylist’s time and lost revenue (and products, if Mom was to have her hair colored at that appointment) is worth something to the stylist. My hairstylist is a “one-man show” and any missed or lost appointments mean exactly that much loss in revenue for the day–if that happens a few times, that could really affect one’s monthly income. If mom had remembered her appointment or canceled in time, the stylist could have filled that hour with another paying customer.


Jay August 29, 2011 at 8:49 am

She charged $110 for both “parts” and “labor”, where really she only should’ve charged her for the missed labor part.

Though $110 for a regular haircut? That seems excessive in any case unless there’s coloring, etc going on, in which case being 30 mins late probably isn’t that big a deal (if it’s a long appointment)

Anyway, just because the stylist was well within her rights to take the woman up on her offer to pay, it doesn’t mean it’s a wise business decision on her part. She risks losing a long-term regular over that charge, plus anyone the regular complains to.


The Elf August 29, 2011 at 8:55 am

It would have been nice for the hairstylist to have asked for a lower amount, or to have let Mom’s chagrin over the missed appointment show with a hefty tip. But the hairstylist was within her rights to ask for compensation for her missed time, and the full price is not completely unreasonable since your Mother offered. With this kind of service industry, a missed appointment means that not only does the stylist not get the money from the service not done, but she was also unable to book anyone else. Depending on how the shop is run, she might even owe money to the shop.

My husband had to miss a tattoo appointment recently due to an unforeseen problem at work. I called the shop as soon as we knew, so he could free up the time for a walk-in, but it was still a missed appointment. My husband offered to compensate him for the lost time, but the tattooist did not charge him. So he compensated through tipping. I think that’s the best way to resolve the situation with a regular customer, but your mother’s hair stylist was not out of line.

Certainly, your mother can find another stylist. But if she likes this woman’s work, then why not just put it behind her and continue to see her? A good hairstylist is hard to find. Just don’t miss any more appointments!


badkitty August 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

For those claiming that she should have paid less because there was no use of materials, let’s remember that the materials cost on a simple highlight job like this one totals about $10 (bulk purchases and discounts considered) – NOT 3/4 of the cost or even half… what you’re paying for is time and expertise in this situation. The professional hairdresser turned down other appointments to honor this woman’s requested time slot, and when that woman failed to show up she had no opportunity to fill the appointment time – which she might have if she’d been given even an hour notice. So now she’s standing around in the salon with no client, and any clients coming in during that time will make certain assumptions based on the fact that everyone else is booked except the unfortunate colorist. Yeah, she deserves to still make her money.

If you show up at work and nobody is there to unlock the building, leaving you to wait around for an hour, you still get paid for that hour because you were available to work during that time and had a reasonable expectation of being employed during that hour. It’s the same thing here, really.


Mary August 29, 2011 at 8:58 am

“I don’t find it unusual to be asked to pay for a missed appointment, but I have to say that I find it extreme to charge $110.00 for the miss just because that’s how much work was to be done. One could argue that that was the price she’d have paid, but one could just as easily argue that the work wasn’t done so compensating her for things like materials used makes no sense.”

I agree! She should pay for the time, not the materials! And for those posters commenting that the colors would already be mixed, is that common? My hairdresser never mixes my highlight colors until after I am in the chair and we have discussed what I want. I’m always open to tweaking colors and change the highlights according to season. So if I missed the appointment, she wouldn’t have been out any materials, just the time in which she could have served another client.


alex August 29, 2011 at 8:59 am

I understand she is upset but she offered to pay for the appointment. Now I do think $110 is excessive and you say that your mom gets her hair colored, so maybe the more appropriate fee for the missed appointment would have been paying for a cut but I do think it was right to have your mother pay for it. The stylist did loose income by your mother not showing, income she would have probably made otherwise… so she was in her right to charge. Now, if you mother was not wanting to pay for the services she missed she should not have said she would.


Lola August 29, 2011 at 9:05 am

Perhaps this was a devious plan on the part of the stylist to get rid of the client who’s been demanding the same “old lady bob” for the past decade! JK 🙂


sj August 29, 2011 at 9:12 am

I’m a piano teacher, and my pet peeve is when I set aside time to teach, and people call me up and say, “I can’t make it.” Then, I don’t get the money for the time I set aside, AND I’m expected to set aside more time for them.

So, sorry, I don’t see your point of view. And, your mothered offered. Offering without intent to make good on it is poor etiquette.


Invalidcharactr August 29, 2011 at 9:15 am

If she wasn’t prepared to pay for her discourtesy, she shouldn’t have offered.

Saying something you don’t mean is what we refer to as a “lie.”

Or just incredibly disingenuous and insincere. Two-faced, if you will. She wanted to seem like a considerate, dutiful human being, but didn’t actually want to have to make reparations.

I really don’t see any justification for fuming over this (but never, never actually *saying* anything, right?)

Person A makes a mistake.
The mistake cost Person B money.
Person A offers to make amends.
Person B accepts.
Amends are made.
All is right in the world.

Where does the self-righteous indignation come in?


Elizabeth August 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

I think there really is a difference between the kind of careless person who is always late or forgetting appointments and the kind of woman the OP’s mother is, who first forgot an appointment after 10 years (!) of patronizing this stylist. While it is true that service providers rely on consistent work to fulfill their earning potential, I feel as though the stylist took advantage of the mother’s offer and charged her (as others have pointed out) not only for the stylist’s time but also her profit and for materials that went unused. My sister is a hairstylist and my father is similarly in a service profession where missed appointments can mean missed revenue. However, that’s the business they chose to be in and realize that occasional missed appointments are part of the deal. If this missed appointment had been at the beginning of their professional relationship, it would be more understandable for her to charge some kind of fee, but to alienate a customer of over a decade is pure greed and stupidity. Everyone has a lapse now and then (including, no doubt, the stylist), and very rarely are we called to pay over $100 for it.


Dark Magdalena August 29, 2011 at 9:36 am

Mom offered; she made her bed.

However, she should have only been charged for a standard cut and style simply because the extra cost of materials was not spent on her (unless, of course, the stylist had premixed everything while waiting for Mom to arrive). If you are not out materials, you should not be charging someone for that. The stylist was out a time slot and should charge only for that.


Boca August 29, 2011 at 9:39 am

I believe the mother is disliked by the stylist. Business people put up with a lot of disagreeable clients for the money. They cannot afford to offend anyone. This stylist used policy to get the mother back as much as she could without telling her off. Of course, a truly valued, and respected client would have been less harshly punished for a missed appointment.


lkb August 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

I’m with the stylist on this one. In this economy every penny counts. Also, as to “it’s not like she’s a doctor…,” hair stylists don’t make anywhere near what a doctor does (from what I can see) so missing out on $110 could really put a dent in the stylist’s finances.

Yes, it’s a shame that there is now a little bit of ill will from a longstanding customer, but bills have gotta be paid somehow.


Hemi Halliwell August 29, 2011 at 9:54 am

I am on both sides of the fence on this one. I do agree with @Cheryl Olsen- the long term affect of Mom now having bad feelings toward the stylist means if Mom does go elsewhere from now on, the stylist gains the $110 for the missed appt. but misses out on years of sales.
If this was the 1st time Mom missed her appointment, I can see maybe charging a regular appt fee, but not the entire fee because most stylist do not mix the hair coloring until the client is “in the chair” or at least, that’s how it is at the salon I go to.
The other side of the fence is that Mom did offer to pay for the appt. If she did not want/intend to pay full price, she should have made that clear by saying that she would be willing to pay half the rate or the amount of a regular appt.
If you are long-term client in good standing ( missing appts are not are a regular occurence), I think most stylists/salons would let one missed appt go without charging. But these are hard financial times…


Merrilee August 29, 2011 at 9:57 am

This is why it’s important for anyone (stylists, doctors, etc.) to have a set policy in place for how missed appointments are handled and charged for. If there was a policy up front that said the OP’s mom would be charged 100% for the missed appointment, then she would have nothing to argue about.

However, I do think the stylist was within her rights to charge for the missed time slot. That was revenue she could have made and instead made nothing for that missed time slot. If the OP’s mom was going to be upset that she’d be charged, why offer to pay for the missed appointment?


Wendy August 29, 2011 at 10:23 am

One thing I’d like to point out…”mom” offered to pay for the missed appointment and, from what I gather in the story, the stylist didn’t say yea or nay to the suggestion. At this point, it would be safe to assume by the client that the stylist didn’t expect full payment. (It still would have been appropriate for the customer to pay the full amount.) At the moment of the offer the stylist should have said, “I would appreciate that,” and then mom could have sent a check to her at that point, or planned to pay for both appointments when she showed up. Since the stylist didn’t say one way or the other, I think it was more than reasonable for mom to not expect to have to pay $220 upfront.

Additionally, the stylist’s wishes regarding missed appointments should be stated or posted somewhere. Doctor’s offices usually either post in the office, or have on the bill, that missed appointments will be charged. I’ve found that if you miss the appointment because of an emergency, they’ll usually waive that charge. Otherwise, you’re to expect it.

Our long time dentist changed policies without telling anyone. My dad got caught up with a project at work and forgot about the appointment, called the office and apologized and rescheduled. Nothing was said about the new policy or that he would be charged. When the bill arrived, my mom called and asked the receptionist about it and was told that he was now charging for missed appointments. My mom replied that courtesy dictated that they should have notified their patients, and we would be finding a new dentist. A dentist that made his expectations clear when we started there…and we had not problems with that.


Erica August 29, 2011 at 10:32 am

The OP has no idea how rude and condescending she is.


Gloria Shiner August 29, 2011 at 10:32 am

That’s the policy at the salon I go to: miss an appointment, and the fee is charged to your credit card. Of course, the policy is state up-front, and re-stated each time a reminder call is made. Clients are still amazed when the policy is enforced, but I have no problem with it.

If your mother didn’t intend to pay the stylist, why did she offer?


Margaret August 29, 2011 at 10:32 am

And what if the opposite happens? We had a bad snow storm and some ice on the roads early but it wasn’t that bad. I made it to my hair salon and waited outside for it to open since no one called to cancel. They had closed for the day and no one ever called to reschedule!

I was not a happy camper.


Twik August 29, 2011 at 10:34 am

I’m not sure why the poster felt that her mother’s hair style was relevant to the discussion. When she’s her mother’s age, an “old lady bob” may be all that her hair can stand (hair does change as you age, just like everything else). In any case, whether it was a simple cut or the trendiest look on the block, the principle is the same. Mom shouldn’t have offered if she didn’t expect it to be taken up.

On the other hand, when I had to cancel an appointment with my stylist at the last minute due to illness, she was very reluctant to *let* me pay her for it. So, Cheryl Olsen’s point is valid as well – the stylist may have been penny wise, pound foolish, to upset a long-term good customer.

A missed appointment fee set up in advance would be a good idea for the whole salon.


Pixie August 29, 2011 at 10:36 am

My salon keeps a credit card on file. If you don’t cancel 24 hours in advance and then don’t show you are still charged for the appointment. Your mom is definitely in the wrong the way I see it, OP. Especially because she offered to pay.


acr August 29, 2011 at 10:37 am

I work in a dog boutique, and we have the same policy. Our groomers are depending on that money – one of them is a single mom on food stamps. She cannot afford to sit around for two hours because a client forgot. OP, I think your letter came across as pretty mean-spirited. The hairdresser can’t take your mom’s apology to the bank to pay her bills.

And by the way – who do you think is more likely to be running two hours behind, thus have people to fill the gap? A doctor, or a hairstylist?


Kitty Lizard August 29, 2011 at 10:51 am

I tend to agree with Cheryl Olsen but would add this. I have been with my stylist for over 15 years. I’m a very busy paralegal. She’s a very busy stylist. Occasionally she gets overrun. So do I. We run late. Neither of us has ever forgotten, but both of us sure have run late. I daresay we’re not “normal” in that regard, but I asked her about this and her thoughts were: While she did “blow off” the appointment, and offer to pay for it, charging her the full price of the appointment was both stupid not a good idea in a business sense. She herself would simply have charged her the price of a standard haircut, since the client had offered to pay. I tend to agree with this.



N.R. August 29, 2011 at 10:51 am

Little known fact – most hairdressers *rent* their “stations” from the salon. This means, that a hair dresser, with no-shows, may actually end up owing the salon, for that hour. Even in Salons where they are paid an hourly rate, its very low, seldom above minimum wage. All their money is made in tips, in that scenario. So it sounds to me, like this was a case, of chair rented by the hair dresser. In that case, an hour of time, with no one seated there, is a severe loss to the hair dresser. It actually costs them. The mothers kind offer, of paying for the time, may have sounded like a true gift from a concerned, and appreciative long term client. Its a shame the Mother, cant give the “gift” in an equal spirit.


Rachel August 29, 2011 at 11:19 am

I agree that it’s appropriate to charge for missed hair appointments, just like medical offices do. I wanted to point out, most medical offices charge a “missed appointment charge” of around $25 – 35, which is less than the office lost from the missed appointment. For example, I used to work in a mental health office, where the fee for a missed therapy session was around $25, although insurance would have reimbursed around $85 if the client had attended the session. Offices just eat the difference, and a certain amount of missed appointments are expected. Charging $220 for a missed appointment is way too high.


Sarah Peart August 29, 2011 at 11:19 am

I agree with the penny wise pound foolish view! The client has a “easy” hairstyle and therefore will easily find another hairdresser. No prizes for guessing how! Well she will ask her friends and acquaintances! They will want to know why she is changing after a decade – these are women of habit! The older you get the more you like stability. The story will make the rounds and the hairdresser will lose current and future business. She needs to realise that we are in a world financial crisis and a good reputation is worth more than diamonds!


Mary August 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

I do have to admit, that after hearing this story, I am extremely grateful to live near a small town where my hairdresser only charges me $1 per foil and $20 for my haircut (up from the $16 she charged when I started going to her 8 years ago)


Ashley August 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Your mother missed an appointment, but the cash the stylist missed is money that pays the bills to keep the salon open. I know hair stylists, it’s not a cheap profession to be in. I do agree with admin that the stylist maybe should have cut her SOME kind of slack, but hey, your mother offered to pay for the missed appointment…


Sarah Jane August 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Without a doubt, the hairstylist lost money in theory by having no one in her chair during that appointment time, but let’s use good business sense here. There is no evidence that she lost $110 just because the client failed to show. Sure, she might have been able to schedule someone else at that time, but we have no way of knowing whether she’d have been able to schedule someone for a $10 haircut or someone who needed $500 worth of services, or if anyone at all could come on that day at all.

She did, in fact, earn $110 when the client did come in, rather than go elsewhere, and she DID do the client’s hair.

That being said, the OP’s mother should have offered and should expect to pay SOMETHING for the stylist’s trouble, but I agree with Kitty Lizzard. It was stupid for the stylist to ask for and accept the full amount, and if I were the OP’s mother, I’d find a new stylist.


--E August 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I smell missing information here.

Thirty minutes late is too late and to reschedule? I suppose that could be true for many stylists, but it’s never been true for my mother’s stylist, who has been doing her hair for thirty years. (She was one of his first clients, when he was fresh out of school.) He has a full-up schedule, and he manages it by juggling clients around as needed. And I know he’s more willing to juggle the “good” clients than the “bad” ones, as anyone would be.

(“Good” = pleasant to be around, reasonable tippers; “bad” = demanding divas who can’t figure out that $5 on a $200 bill is not a good tip.)

If the OP’s mother displays half the OP’s condescension towards her stylist, then I suspect the stylist took her up on the offer fully knowing it might end the relationship.


The Other Amber August 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm

As N.R. said, many hairdressers rent their space from the salons and thus have to pay for the time even if clients don’t show. In addition many of those are still bound by the policies of the salon, so the stylist may not have had a choice in the matter.

Having said that, as a business owner myself there are certainly times when I have the option of being strict with policies or letting things slide. For good clients I’m willing to let things slide, heck for some of them I’ve even taken a loss at times just because we’ve got a good business relationship. For others I’ll not only stick strictly to policy but I’ve even added on the odd PITA (Pain In The Ass) fee as well. For those ones, frankly I’d rather lose the client than continue to deal with them. Many people, myself included, at times have difficulty with “firing” clients, and it’s much easier to just do it this way instead of saying “please take your business elsewhere”. Life is too short to deal with the amount of stress that some people can cause.


Elle August 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Okay, so maybe the stylist shouldn’t have charged for “parts.” So she could have only charged mom $109.75 since she saved money by not having to get use a squirt of shampoo and conidtioner and a spritz of hairspray.

“I offered, she took me up on my offer, and now I’m pissed because she shouldn’t have taken me up on the offer,” is one of the most passive aggressive things I’ve ever read.

Now charging full price might not be a smart business idea, but maybe the hairdresser was under the foolish assumption that your mom was sincere. Maybe she’s trying to ditch your mom as a customer. Maybe your mom has a habit of this and it was time to make a point and recoup some losses. Maybe the stylist is popular enough she doesn’t need your mom’s business. And at any rate, this is a site for etiquette issues, not business ones.


Katy August 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I just asked my SIL, a professional hairdresser, what her thoughts about this situation were. She told me that if it’s a chain-styling place the missed appointment may not be a big deal, as they usually have walk-ins to fill the gaps. But when she got out of the chain places and into a salon where she had to rent her chair it was the type of place where they didn’t have time for walk-ins. Anyone who tried walking-in was asked to make an appointment and return. And my SIL was booked all the time. She set her schedule and had to stick to it- 15 minutes late, or half an hour would REALLY mess up her day, making her late for her next appointment, then the next one, and eventually would make her late to get out, making her late to pick up her kids at daycare, which they would charge her for (as a former daycare worker I can say that having to stay half an hour after the end of my 10 hour shift because someone was running late was irritating, and I fullly supported the charging the late fee policy we had). So someone being late would wind up costing her money. If there was someone she had been seeing for years who had been getting the same cut/color combination for years she would pull what she needed, and start mixing if they were running late so she could minimize how late she would be running and hopefully be able to make up the time by cutting or styling quickly. If they were a no-show she was out the cost of the supplies, which she purchased from the salon and charged the customer for, plus she didn’t make her money for that time slot. As said before, single mothers with two young kids can hardly afford to be losing income because people didn’t show up to their appointments. Because of the popularity of the salon unless one of those walk-ins showed up when someone was doing a no-show, which was rare because people know you have to make appointments there, she’s out the time. They keep credit card numbers on file, and charge full price for a no-show. If that’s someone’s first appointment they aren’t welcome to make another one.
I was saddened by the LW’s attitude towards hairstylists. Too many people consider service positions as ‘lower’ jobs that aren’t as important as theirs. I won’t start on how many people complained about the daycare’s late-pickup fee because we watch kids and they’re paying a lot of that, so why should they pay more for inconviencing at least two people (director who has to stay and the teacher). Everyone is doing their job for the same reason, to make enough money to support themselves and their family if they have one. Some people can afford to miss a couple hours worth of compensation, some people can’t. Yes, I might love my job right now, but I’m not doing it for free, and you can bet I’m not losing money on it. I’m just surprised after 10 years the LW’s mother doesn’t know the policy for a missed appointment. Normally it’s well posted.


Redneck Gravy August 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I agree the stylist should be compensated for a missed appointment…

but $110 for the work she performed and the work she missed ?

Working with that reasoning wouldn’t today’s charge have just been a haircut charge ? Unless your mother gets her hair colored & cut every visit she should only owe for a missed haircut.

And I don’t know any stylist that mixes any chemicals before the client arrives. So while she may have had some coloring products on hand I am extremely doubtful that she lost money on them.

Poor business decision on stylist part. I paid $25 for my last missed appointment and I was hospitalized.


Divine Bird Jenny August 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm

What strikes me here is that while yes, the mother offered to pay for the missed appointment, she was surprised that the stylist took her up on it. It would be one thing if she offered and the stylist said, ‘That is acceptable, thank you.’ It sounds to me like she offered and nothing was said, so the mother assumed her offer was not taken up. I think the stylist should have accepted or declined the offer up front and made it clear BEFORE the mother rescheduled her appointment. Not to do so seems like an etiquette faux pas on the stylist’s part, no matter what the error was on the mother’s.


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