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.

{ 109 comments… read them below or add one }

Phyllis August 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm

What is most interesting to me in this story is that OP’s mother would have been 30 minutes late to a highlight and cut appointment. Highlights take some time, significantly longer than 30 minutes. I am going to be in the minority here and find the stylist at fault. OP’s mother tried to come in late (so stylist would not have lost the money) but the stylist refused. Yes, she might have had an appointment directly after, but she could still have given a haircut without the highlights. Ultimately, it was a bad business decision on the part of the stylist.


Raven August 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Everyone’s time is valuable. Life happens, cancellations happen, but it’s still an inconvenience. The hairdresser was out the $110.

Yes, the hairdresser could have looked at it as an investment in PR with a long-time client to let it slide (or just charge a little), and maybe she made the wrong call, but as the business owner, it’s her call to make.

I find the comment about the hairdresser not being a doctor to be insensitive and offensive. Just because someone isn’t (perhaps) saving lives in their job does not mean their time is not valuable. Rescheduling can be a hassle, and loss of revenue is always irritating.

I work in a client-centred field too; getting stood up for an appoinment is a pain, and if you don’t make even a small point about it, it continues to happen.

Also, don’t make offers you aren’t prepared to see through. I assume, if Mom has had the same hairstyle and stylist for 10 years, she’s aware of what an appointment costs. If you offer to make restitution, and your offer is accepted, you do it. There’s no cause for bad feelings there. Mom and daughter are both way overreacting to this, and frankly, seem snobby.

As for going back or not going back, that’s a personal decision. Going back would give them a chance to straighten out the situation (if they wanted to address it further), and not going back would send the hairdresser the message that she made the wrong call, which personally I’m not sure she did.


K August 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Considering hair dressers encourage and DO take walk-ins and considering the woman said it was no big deal and just reschedule, then that’s the end of it. Offering to pay for a missed appt is like tipping the hostess at a restaurant. Crazy.


livvy August 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I was going to make the same point as N.R. – stylist may have had costs, even above her own wasted time.

Normally, I would find the bill for the entire amount of the visit a bit high myself, and unusual in this situation where the customer and stylist have known each other a long time. HOWEVER, the mother, feeling generous, offered to pay her for the appointment anyway. She knew how much the appointment was going to cost. She should have cursed HERSELF for being overly generous, or, if she felt she was misunderstood, she could have said, “oh, I meant that I’d make it up to you in the form of a tip,” or, ” I meant that I’d pay for a your missed time, at the rate of a normal haircut, etc.” Yes, it would be a bit embarrasing, and would possibly make her look less generous in the eyes of the stylist, but it would have been honest, and the stylist could show her generosity or lack thereof in her response. She might even explain that the salon has a policy toward such things, etc. Hopefully, they both would likely have gotten over it, given their longstanding relationship.

Now, she’s angry at the stylist for taking her at her word? She only wanted to SOUND generous, but not actually BE generous? And, she didn’t say a thing at the time, just walked away mad, and planning on shunning the stylist?

To me, this is the equivalent of inviting someone to a dinner party, then being mad that they show up and eat your food!


JolieFille August 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I have no problem with having to pay for a missed apointment. I just think the stylist was rude to not confirm or deny weather she would accept the payment and then just seemingly randomly charged double. Thats the part I don’t agree with. That and not having a set policy.


L.J. August 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I’d rather pay the fee than feel guilty for missing the appointment. There was a chapter in Freakonomics about how when a daycare center started charging for lateness, more parents were late.

Also, I’d feel worse about missing a hair appointment than a doctor appointment. The hairstylist may be relying on the money to pay her rent/mortgage or buy groceries, the doctor probably isn’t.


Lizajane August 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Yup to what Cheryl Olsen and Kitty Lizard said. The mother offered to pay, the stylist took her up on it, which she had the right to do, but now she’s probably lost a customer who would probably pay $110.00 every 4-6 weeks for many years to come. I’m not sure what the profit margin is for stylists, but this one lost out on thousands of potential dollars from this customer. That’s not accounting for referrals she might have gotten, especially after a show of good will.

Accepting the minimal amount for a cut would have saved her from losing any money, probably saved her a customer and might have gained her new ones. Not smart.


Calypso August 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I’m rather blown away by all the posters who think OP’s Mom shouldn’t have been charged for the “materials.” Going back to the doctor example—if you get charged for a missed appointment, do you expect them to deduct the cost of the paper that covers the exam table, the disposable cover for that thing they stick in your ear, etc etc?
When you get charged for a plated dinner for your wedding for the guests who didn’t show up, do they deduct the cost of the food? Of course not.
A stylist’s time is worth as much as anyone else’s. The Mom didn’t think $110 was too much to pay for her normal service, so that’s not an issue.
I get a monthly visit from Merry Maids and twice have had to cancel for various reasons (illness) the day of service. They never asked me to cover the charge for not getting service that day—they never asked because I offered immediately upon canceling, and expected to get charged full price, too. I think it’s only decent.


Abby August 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I agree that if the mom offered to pay for the missed appointment, she should expect to follow through, and that the woman taking her up on her offer does not qualify for E-hell.

That being said, I do think OP’s mom should have been cut a little slack. She’s a long time customer, it’s a first time offense, and I think the woman would have been wiser to let it go.


kingsrings August 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm

One thing not mentioned yet – what is the policy of the hair studio that the stylist rents a station from? Every person I know who is in this kind of profession, where they rent space to use as their business, has to abide by the cancellation policy set in place by the brick-and-mortar they rent from. Usually it’s a very black-and-white policy, you miss, you pay, no exceptions. And it’s completely understandable why it would be that way since it’s the livelihood of both the stylist and the salon. It’s simply too complicated and risky to make exceptions like the OP and others on here think.
Sorry OP, your mom was completely in the wrong, and it’s probably better for the stylist to not have someone with your shared attitude as a client.


Allie August 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm

The stylist should have discussed the cost for the missed appointment with the customer in advance. Not saying anything about the amount and then charging her for the full value afterwards seems passive-aggressive and not good practice with a loyal customer. She got overpaid for the missed appointment (since she didn’t use any product and likely was able at least partially to fill the time), and now has lost a valuable customer, who will no doubt be telling everyone she knows about this, so she may lose additional customers as well. Some say she was in the right, but I bet she won’t be in business for long with practices like these, and being right won’t be much comfort in the unemployment line.


just sayin' August 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm

It should also be mentioned, that there is no indication of whether or not the mother WAS a good customer. The OP’s attitude in the post and thought progression (shared by her mother) would seem to indicate that neither one of them see any harm in “forgetting” an appointment, or in making insincere statements–which would not indicate a VALUABLE customer. Nor does it say whether the stylist did or did not accept the offer, but it seems unlikely that the conversation would have ended there. Given the fact that the mother made an offer she didn’t actually mean, there runs a good chance that the stylist DID accept it, but she just chose to think that everyone just lies and that it wasn’t expected for her to pay for her lack of respect for the stylist’s time and business.

There is a lot missing from this story–perhaps the OP left out information that would give a little more justification on her mother’s end. Maybe the mother WAS a good customer, and didn’t have a history of missing appointments–but maybe also, because she hadn’t missed any, she had failed to notice a policy for missed appointments. There just seems to be a lot of indignation without enough information to back it up.


Leslie Holman-Anderson August 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around $110 for a cut-and-style. I must _really_ be out of the mainstream if that’s normal!


SV August 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I would have politely paid for the missed appointment, since that is what I offered to do. Then I would have found another stylist. If you miss a dentist appointment, you are charged an exam fee, not for all the services they planned to do that day. And quite frankly if you are a long term patient they might even skip that, as a courtesy. To pay double for the services your mother received after ten years of loyalty is off putting and feels like it is taking advantage of her generosity, whether she offered it originally or not. Unless your mother is a habitual appointment skipper I cannot imagine why the stylist thought this was appropriate.


Melissa August 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm

For me the big issue is that for a hair stylist to work they need their client. I am an attorney, and while clients missing appointments is certainly annoying, most of the work that I do for my clients is done when they aren’t present, so in most cases* it is a matter of realizing that client is probably not going to show up and seeing if there is something else I can work on. A hair stylist, aesthetician, nail technician, etc. can’t do that. To me that makes them more worthy of having missed appointments compensated.

*I have discovered that the clients who want special accommodations, such as late evening and weekend appointments are the most likely to just not show. Which is why I no longer offer appointments at these times to new clients and I would charge for the time I wasted waiting around for a client who requested a special time slot and was either late or didn’t show up.

For this situation, I think the hairstylist was being entirely reasonable to charge for the missed appointment, especially after the client promised to pay for the missed appointment. The client reserved time with the stylist, the fact that the client neglected to use the time is the client’s fault.


Elizabeth August 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Regarding the question of charging for supplies: the supplies required to dye and highlight someone’s hair goes well beyond 25 cents. I once had a very complex color done for me by my sister, and while the service itself was free, I still had to pay the salon for the materials and it cost $40. (tip: don’t go from very dark brown to bright red. It just. doesn’t. work.)

However, my sister now rents a chair in a salon (by the week, not by the hour, as is typical) and she stocks her own color, shampoos, etc. So, if the materials were not used by the client, they don’t go bad and could easily be used on another person wanting that color or on the woman the next time she came in. I would guess that those materials cost around $10. It doesn’t make sense to me that this woman would be charged for materials that do not go bad and could easily be used on the next person. That to me is greedy.


Sharon August 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I’ll bet she never “forgets” again.

I agree with Admin.


ellesee August 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Sorry OP, but lots of places charge the full price if you miss the appointment. Each place is different, so you really have to be sure. Oh, and by full price, it usual means full price of the service you expected. So yeah, I agree with the hairdresser that $110 must be paid in full.

Yes, people can be forgetful, but business is business. It will be generous of the hairdresser to decline the payment for the missed appointment since that basically equates to her not getting paid!

I’d also like to point out that just because a customer has been loyal for years doesn’t mean they are entitled to discounts. Discounts are given at the worker’s discretion.


Ginger August 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I agree that not warning the client that she would be charged double on the next appointment is rude and a breach of etiquette. I don’t find the actually taking up of the offer as rude although it still leaves a bad taste to charge the full amount. Had she wanted to take the mother up on the offer, she should have said so immediately so that the mother could make the payment in the near future and budget for it.

I also think Phyllis makes an excellent point. The hairdresser is the one that opted to provide NO services even though there was still time to provide something, if not the full appointment. If she does indeed still want to charge full price for her services, she should at least offer to provide some of the service at the time – whatever services could be provided in the time left.

I have a friend who works as a personal trainer. He often gets cancels at the last minute and sometimes he has to charge otherwise he can’t pay the bills for his family. His policy is that you still have to pay when you cancel. When someone cancels at the last minute there is nothing he can do to fill that space. He is very good about it though and only tends to charge people if they are taking advantage of his good nature or if he has had far too many cancels in a week and he tells them in advance – before the session they are missing – so they can decide if they want to try to make it or send someone in their place. If someone forgets and calls up mid-session and he was still going to charge them, he would tell them to come down still and give them whatever time he could as that is the ethical thing to do if you are still going to charge for your services.


Shawna August 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm

One thing I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned here is that the stylist was NOT out $110 for the first visit, not just because she didn’t use materials, but because the customer would not need the highlights and such on a subsequent visit. The stylist wouldn’t have been paid $110 then AND $11o now, so by the time the second visit happened, the differential between what she had been paid and what she would have been paid is only the cost of the maintenance cut, LESS the cost of materials she didn’t use/waste when the customer didn’t show up.


Lizza August 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm

A lot of salons actually have policies where you are charged for no-shows, or have to pay a fee for not canceling with 24 hours notice. I see nothing wrong with this.

I’m a stylist, and when people no-show you it stinks. You are out the money for their appointment, you can’t take any walk-in clients until you know the person isn’t coming (we usually give people 15 minutes before we mark them as a no-show, which means if someone walks in for a color or something half an hour before, you can’t really take it because you think you have someone else coming in) so you’re out that money, other clients who might have tried to schedule during that time have to come a different time…it’s just really irritating.

The doctor comment really chaps my hide – I work hard at my job and I went to school for it, and my time is just as valuable as anyone else’s!


shari August 29, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I don’t think that the stylist will be disadvantaged by the mother not going there anymore, she probably has someone else already filling the spot that pays alot more than what it costs for a lady bob cut and highlights.


babs August 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I totally agree with SV. A huge part of being in business is making concessions for faithful clients. It’s what keeps them coming back. OP’s mom was probably mortified and not thinking clearly, but the best way to have handled it would have been to apologize profusely and promise to compensate the stylist on the next visit, and then given a very generous tip, or 1/2 of the price of the missed services. Although the OP’s mom offered, I can understand how she would be surprised at the double charge since she had been a client for so long.


Yuki August 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I work with a therapeutic riding center, and their policy is anyone who misses a lesson without advance notice of 24 hours can be liable for the cost of the lesson. Anyone that is 15 minutes or more late to the lesson (unless they call and tell us that there’s been a problem of some kind) is marked ‘no show’ and does not get to have their lesson. The stylist was right to tell the mom that she had to reschedule because it is not fair to the next client to cut into their time. I believe that the mom should have paid for the appointment she missed. It’s not fair to the stylist to miss an appointment, unless it really was some kind of emergency.


Zhoen August 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I think both of them were wrong, and didn’t communicate clearly. Mom should have been clear about how much she was willing to compensate her stylist. Stylist should have clearly accepted, and told her how much and when mom would be charged. When mom had her offer accepted at full price — well if she can afford $110(!) for a hair appointment, then she can afford to pay for a appointment missed for no good reason. Stylist would have been wiser to charge a pre-set, or at least clearly stated fee, due to mom being a long term customer. But maybe she finds mom difficult for some reason, and was glad of the opportunity to give her a subtle nudge out the door.

The problem is not whether anyone should pay for a missed appointment, but that it is all clearly stated ahead of time. Expecting to have one’s thoughts read is foolish, and leads to lack of politeness. Surprizing a customer with a larger than overtly agreed-upon bill is poor business.

OP needs to stop looking down her nose at “the servants” or her mother’s hairstyle choices. I suspect she is an unreliable narrator.


Sarah Jane August 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I’m really hoping that someone, maybe Melissa since she’s an attorney, can explain why the stylist is entitled for $110 simply because that is what the client stated she needed when she made the appointment? I mean, exactly how much of a CONTRACT is implied when a person simply schedules an appointment?

What if the client had scheduled a cut and color, and then when she came in, changed her mind and only wanted the color? Should she be charged for the cut, too, simply because that’s what the stylist assumed she’d be doing?

Allow me to add that I wonder how the stylist would compensate the client if the client had canceled at the last minute…


starstruck August 29, 2011 at 8:50 pm

hopefully your mom learned a lesson. never make an offer like that unless you intend to keep it.


Sarah Jane August 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I mean if the STYLIST had canceled at the last minute…


Missy August 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm

The OP’s mother promised to pay the missed appointment and she needed to honor that. Hair stylists are getting fewer appointments and walk-ins due to the economy and extra money is welcomed since the business isn’t doing as well.

If the OP’s mother and stylist are on good terms, why not pay the stylist the extra for being such a good stylist for the past 10 years? But on the flip side, I can see how the OP shouldn’t feel obligated to pay and the stylist should give her a break for being a loyal customer. However, OP’s mother promised the stylist and naturally the stylist expected her to keep true to her word.

I hope this is a lesson to the OP’s mother to not make promises she isn’t willing to go through with.


Jen August 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Yeesh. My dad is a doctor and he doesn’t charge that much for a missed appointment, not by half. Not a full appointment’s worth. Sure, get some compensation for your time, but she didn’t actually use the time, chemicals, etc. Way too much. Find another hairdresser.


Kat August 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm

What I think others have failed to realize with this when they say the mother should have only been charged the cost of the haircut is that the stylist in all likelyhood put aside several hours of her schedule to do this woman’s hair colouring, not just the time for a basic haircut. I don’t think that it’s that unreasonable for her to be compensated for her time as such.

I also know from personal eperience that the hair dye that salons use only costs about $8’s, so even if that fee had been waved the mother still would have been paying $102 for the stylist’s time lost.


Otter August 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm

It was a mistake. What “lesson” is there to “learn?” OP’s mom does not regularly flake on her appointments, it is not a character flaw that needs correction. It slipped her mind this one time. I think the hairdresser should have let it go in the name of good customer service. (How much has mom spent over 10 years on services?) My dentist charges a set $30 fee for a missed appointment. That’s fair. If I’d missed a root canal is she allowed to charge me the thousands it was going to cost? Furthermore my dentist would not be out all of that money. I would pay the fee then come in later for treatment. I’m sure OP’s mother went in soon after the missed appointment because she needed to. I’m a bit outraged that she told mom not to come in and then charged her the whole amount. I personally would never go back.


DocCAC August 30, 2011 at 1:37 am

As a doctor, I was interested that the hairstylist asked for the $110 for the missed appointment. We charged $25.00 for a missed appointment (and only were able to collect about 65% of the time, even with long time patients). This was because I didn’t double or triple book, so I was out a full office visit charge. We would have accepted them coming in late, with the caveat they understand they will probably have to wait a bit because they are now a work-in. For those who only made it < 50% of the time, we would double book them if we needed to work someone in. Of course those were the days the chronic no-show would show :-) Yeah, it may have been nice to only charge a token amount for a long term customer, but if OP's mom is someone who is chronically late or misses a fair number of appointments, maybe this was the hairdresser's way of saying "I've had it.", and mom did make the offer. If you don't want to be taken up on your offers, don't make them. It would be different if the hairdresser had said "No, that's okay." then rethought it, but there is no indication of that happening.

I hate to break this to the OP, but the hairdresser does perform a service and mom forgetting cost her money (although the "I'm not paying for something I didn't get" was what we heard more than once for our no-show fee.).

Third, OP's mom should move to my end of the world. I have an excellent stylist/hairdresser who does a cut and color for about half of what her soon-to-be-ex hairdresser charges. Just a thought. I don't know if she charges for no-show because I've never not shown up.

@L.J. The hairdresser probably counts on the money to pay her rent, groceries, etc and the doctor probably doesn't? Just how exactly do YOU think docs make money? For an office based doc (like a FP or internist), it sure isn't from sitting on our butts reading journals when people don't show up. I lived far away enough from the hosp. (and my office was far enough away) that it sure wasn't from seeing hospital patients esp. if, like me, there is a fair amount of Medicaid patients or Medicare patients. Bribes from Big Pharma? Oh, please. I got samples from Big Pharma (assuming that's all drug companies), which I gave out to patients just starting on a med or patients in need (plenty of those). The stock market? That's assuming after paying overhead, bills at home and student loans (and believe me, med school ain't cheap, even if one manages to make it out of undergrad with no debt), you have enough left over for something like that, which several docs I knew never did, including me. So yeah, it was a big deal when someone no showed and I still didn't charge the full amount!


Echo August 30, 2011 at 1:40 am

Let’s flip it around. If the OPs mum had arrived at the salon to find the hairdresser locking up because she’d forgotten about the appointment, and she’d offered to do her hair for free next time, would the OPs mum have accepted?


Toni August 30, 2011 at 1:55 am

You know, people just seem to not unnderstand that you’re stylist’s time is just as valuable as yours. If you’re 30 minutes late for an appointment and I still take you, my next client and myself are going to be inconvienienced by your lack of time management. This may cost me (in potential tips because next client is unhappy about waiting). Late and no-show clients irritate me because it implies that your time is so much more valuable than mine. I will charge you full price if you no-show because you made a commitment you didn’t keep. If you don’t like that, there is a Great Clips down the street.


ellesee August 30, 2011 at 2:07 am

I’m stumped as to why people would compare services of a hairdresser to another service (ie doctor, dentist, whatever.) Each place is different and has their own set of rules!


AlwaysQuizzical August 30, 2011 at 2:29 am

So, the Mother is unhappy that the offer she made to someone who waited for her and may have passed up clients in the meantime was taken? The stylist was probably flattered that her client valued her time and her work and assumed that your mother was anticipating paying double the fee when she walked in the door. I don’t see how the mother can be described as “too generous” when she’s clearly testing her stylist by dangling money at her and then judging her when she takes it. Her decision to never go back to someone who hasn’t done anything but believe a lie doesn’t seem very generous at all.

While some posters have a point that it may have been nice for the stylist to waive the extra fee, I don’t think the customers who expect this kind of treatment are really the ones who will appreciate it. They tend to be the kind who will continue to take advantage of the goodwill of people who depend on the money they get from services they provide.


MellowedOne August 30, 2011 at 9:04 am

@ellesee: It’s because they’re not comparing the TYPE of service. The similarity is that they both lose money when clients/patients fail to show. In this comparison, it would be rude to treat one as less important than the other.

Side note on this: Two points about the Mom in this case:
1. Mom’s offer to pay wasn’t sincere. She was hoping (as many often do), to make an offer thinking the other person won’t take them up on it. It’d make Mom feel better, and all would be well…in Mom’s mind.
2. What ‘old lady’ who regularly goes to the stylist forgets about an appointment? The reflection in the mirror is a constant least it is for me :)


Margo August 30, 2011 at 9:07 am

I agree that having made the offer, OP’s mother has no grounds to complain that she was taken up on it.

It would have been generous for the stylist to have offered to accept a reduced fee – she will have had a small saving on not using the materials (dye etc) and MAY have been able to use some of the time, after OPs mother phoned, to deal with a walk in client,but she is NOT at fault for taking OP’s mother at her word. If Mom didn’t mean that she was willing to pay for her missed appointment, why did she say she would? It sounds as though she was the one who brought up the subject. She could have asked whether there was a policy, or whether she owed anything for the no-show, and could have chosen to increase her tip to make up, if the stylist was kind enough not to make a charge, but she didn’t. She offered to pay, and her offer was accepted. She knew, therefore, at the end of that convetrsation that she would be paying for the missed appointment, so I don’t understand why she should then be surprised when she was expceted to make good on her promise.

If she choses to go to a new stylist then of course she is free to do so, but


Clair Seulement August 30, 2011 at 9:28 am

I just wanted to second Kat’s comment–even though no highlighting materials/labor were used, the stylist had booked and lost out on what could be an hours-long appointment–simply charging her the amount of a basic haircut would probably not have made up for the revenue she lost, as she could have booked multiple basic haircuts in the chunk of time that was reserved for the OP’s mother. If the rates are similar to what I’m used to paying, I’m sure the cost of say, 3 haircuts is about equal to one highlighting session.


alex August 30, 2011 at 10:17 am

Sorry OP but your sense of entitlement is absolutely absurd! I find the ones to be in poor taste after reading this post to be you and your mother. 30 minutes late IS too late for a cut and color. That would push everyone else back and would not be fair to them. Your mother forgot her appointment, OFFERED to pay for it (which the salon probably has a policy about anyway) and you are both in shock? Why on earth would you be in shock for something she OFFERED?

Not only that but you mention, “I could not BELIEVE this woman actually took my mom up on the offer.” 1. It may not have even been her choice, it may have been policy and 2. Why oh why offer something you don’t have any intention of doing?? Your way-too-generous mother should have paid up!

Now, it is VERY RUDE for you to say, “but I told my mom it’s not like she’s a doctor.” So what! Are hairdressers not entitled to their money for appointments like doctors are? In my view a hairdresser is MORE entitled to their money for missed appointments because they cannot fit as many people in as doctors tend to place in appointment slots.

Then this comment: “I don’t know if I’m the unreasonable one, but I cannot imagine asking someone to pay for a missed HAIR appointment.” Why do you find it unrealistic that a HAIR appointment is worth money? Hairdressers deserve their money too. If your mom is not going to pay for her HAIR appointments she should try giving herself her hair appointments.

Sorry OP, this may sound harsh but your whole post comes off as you thinking you are better than the hairdresser and her not deserving her money. But the case of the matter is your mom left the chair open, the hairdresser would not be paid for that hour. If it is like most salons she probably has a waiting list she can call upon, but since your mother didn’t cancel before 24 hours and just forgot, there was no time to do that. If the hairdresser would have charged for a cut instead, it would have been even more because she can fit more cuts in than cuts & colors. So all ways you look at it your mother paid what she should have paid for the missed appointment.


Another Laura August 30, 2011 at 2:17 pm

@ The Other Amber

“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.”

I just love the idea of a PITA charge. As someone who has worked in retail, I know that the PITA level of a particular customer would occasionally affect my willingness to stick strictly to policy (which was somewhat flexible). I was much more giving towards those who were less entitled.

And a loyal customer is not neccessarily a “good” customer. There were people who came into my place of business frequently who I wish would have given their “loyalty” to someone else. Maybe the hairdresser is trying to passive-aggressively give OP’s mom the heave-ho.


fountainof August 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I would expect that the stylist doesn’t actually get the full $110, the owner gets some. So if I missed the appointment I would have volunteered to give her 50-60% of the full amount as an additional tip on the next visit. That way I would pay less than 100% but the stylist would be earning the same. However, if there is a salon policy against this I would do as the policy states.

I know if I had to pay the full fee, I would but I would probably change stylists, it would just leave a bad taste in my mouth. Unlike getting a new doctor (at least around here) I can find many stylist options in the city, many of whom would willing to take my business and provide a good service. Finding a good doctor is so much harder than finding a good stylist.


Enna August 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm

The OP’s mother offered to pay for the missed app0oinment. I do agree with Admin on this one. The stylist could have double checked but likewise the OP’s mother should have too. As for paying for materials, they will be used for other costmers. Now if the stylist could deal with a walk-in coustomer then she isn’t out of money. Next time it might be better to agree a “tip” price to compensate the person. Or buy a gift.

At GP’s Surgery where I work, sometimes people have cancelled last minute – sometimes it is lazyiness for not calling earlier sometimes they have had diffciult circumstances then it’s different: however sometimes with these last minute cancelations they are useful as someone will walk in and say “my toddler is sick” or “I’ve got a chest infection any chance of an appoinment?” I try to remind patients to cancel as soon as they can. With the nurse we have to put down in the appoinemnt’s notes what it is for e.g. B12 injection, ear syringe, stop smoking etc. One morning is dedicated to child immuniastions progrmme and the vacinations are kept in the fridge. Vacinations do have a reasonable self life so if an apoinment can’t be made it could be easily rearranged.


FerrisW August 30, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I think who was in the wrong depends on what the stylist said to the OPs mother when she made the offer. Several times I’ve offered something to someone whose response was ‘Oh no, it’s fine thanks’, but then later expected me to follow through on my offer anyway.

Establishing missed appointment fees seems the best solution, although I’ve had a negative experience with this myself. I’m perpetually early so showed up a good 10 minutes before my hair appointment, to see my stylist having recently started working on a walk-in. 25 minutes after my appointment time, I asked the receptionist if it would be much longer, or perhaps if I could see another stylist, and was told it’d be 5 more minutes. 40 minutes later, when my stylist still wasn’t free, I told the receptionist that I had an appointment to make (I’d allowed a 2 hour window for a simple cut, but with the delay I’d be cutting it close to make the other appointment on time) and was told that if I left I’d have to pay a missed appointment fee! I was flabbergasted and ended up speaking to the owner who was very apologetic but said there was nothing she could do. Needless to say, I never went back to that salon again, although I’d been going there for years.


Cat August 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm

My mother used to stiff her maid when we went on vacation. I thought that an unpaid vacation for someone who made so little money to start with was highly unfair. The mortgage/rent is still due, the electric bill still has to be paid, the children still need to be fed.
Unless Mom is very hard up (and if she can pay that kind of money I think she is not) she did the right thing by paying the woman for the missed appointment. Our economy is floundering and people in service occupations suffer most because their services may be cut by people who need to economize. For those in secure jobs, let’s be a little more generous than we normally are to those who may not be as secure. If you err, err on the side of kindness and compassion and not on the side of the piggy bank.


Susan T-O August 31, 2011 at 12:08 am

I have to say that I, too, feel we are not getting the whole story. There have been a couple remarks about the mother offering & the stylist not saying anything, but how do we know? The LW breaks off at that point and jumps ahead to the day her mother goes in for a haircut. I’m willing to bet that the stylist DID respond to the offer & we just haven’t heard what it was (it’s possible the LW doesn’t know, since she was not a participant in the conversation as far as we can tell from the post).

Without knowing all the circumstances (what is the shop’s policy? Does the stylist rent her station? Has the mother missed previous appointments? etc.) I couldn’t say whether or not charging the full price was the right thing for the stylist to have done. I do think that since the mother offered to pay, she shouldn’t be all butt-hurt when the offer was accepted–nor should the LW.

As for the “it’s just a hair appointment” attitude: to YOU (the LW) it’s a hair appointment. To the STYLIST, it’s her livelihood, and possibly the difference between paying the electric bill or not.


alex August 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

FerrisW that just left my mouth hanging open! 65 minutes PAST your appointment time and they said YOU would have to pay for the missed appointment? And that shop owner, I highly doubt there was nothing that could be done, they are the owner for goodness sakes. I would have been MAD and I would have probably refused to pay and would definitely have taken my business elsewhere. I just cannot believe that!


Bint August 31, 2011 at 11:31 am

I’m with everyone who pointed out that the mother *offered* to pay.

No sympathy. She offered. She was taken up on it. None of the rest matters – there is no etiquette breach here by the stylist.

The fact the mother is now annoyed that she was taken up on it speaks volumes, as does the OP’s attitude towards hairdressers in this post.


gramma dishes August 31, 2011 at 12:56 pm

FerrisW ~~ Whatever you do for a living, I’d have told them that I was going to charge them that much an hour for THEIR missed appointment. The time you spent waiting was on your clock and you could have been earning money during that time period.

They knew you had an appointment. They chose to fill YOUR slot with a walk-in. Please tell me you refused to pay!!


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