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Double Hair Trouble

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.


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  • FerrisW August 31, 2011, 5:06 pm

    @ alex and gramma dishes

    Oh, I definitely didn’t pay. They didn’t have a credit card on file or anything so there was really no way they could force me to pay it, and when I told them that, the owner looked affronted as if I’d committed some horrible faux pas.

    I have to admit, it was partly my fault, leaving it so long, as I’d taken some work in with me to do while I waited, and ended up getting engrossed in it, not noticing how much time had passed. I was completely shocked when I realised I should have been seen an hour ago (the stylist was still with the walk-in client, as she’d put in highlights). I was mostly shocked by their matter of fact attitude that it was normal to charge someone for lost earnings when no earnings had been lost. I spread the word amongst my friends, many of whom used the same salon, and they stopped going too- including a friend who called to cancel her appointment for the next month (outside of the window of having to pay a cancellation fee, thankfully) and explained why.

    When I got to my next appointment (and at Drs) we all had a good laugh about it, but I was furious at the time. At least it makes my previously worst salon experience (stylist walking off every few minutes to check the scores on a World Cup match, leaving me alone for up to 10 minutes at a time, and then complaining that my hair was unmanageable and that it was going to eat into her lunch break time to finish) seem less awful!

  • Ange September 1, 2011, 12:09 am

    @ Echo, very good point!

    A lot of salons and beauticians etc around my area have started instituting a system whereby they’ll call you a day or two out to confirm you’re still coming. If you say yes then don’t show you’ll definitely get slugged a fee, if you say no there’s still enough time to fill your spot. I think that’s more than fair. It does create more work for the business but I bet it’s stopped a lot of lost income.

  • Rebecca September 1, 2011, 2:50 am

    Wow, the OP’s pretty presumptuous: “It’s not as though she’s a doctor!”

    The hairdresser counts on the day’s appointments for her income. She is not making a fortune ($110 may seem like a lot, but that’s not her take-home pay; she has business expenses, rent, etc., to cover). A missed appointment is time she reserved for the OP’s mom and she could have booked someone else in during that time if she’d known in advance that she wasn’t coming.

    Why do people assume that hairdressers (and other people who get paid by appointment-based time slots) can just easily shrug off their income like that when clients forget, or don’t show? In my experience people are extremely flaky unless they know they’ll have to pay anyway if they don’t show up. I wonder how they would like it if their employer one day “forgot” they had asked them to come to work and then withheld the pay they were expecting to receive that day?

  • Rebecca September 1, 2011, 2:59 am

    Ferris W said, “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. ”

    Wow, I’d have said, “I didn’t miss my appointment. I was here 10 minutes early. The person who missed the appointment was the stylist!!” (And I’m not paying).

  • Janos September 1, 2011, 4:34 am

    It sort of sounds like the conversation went like this

    Mom “I’d be happy to pay you for the missed appointment”

    Stylist “Oh well You don’t have to really”

    -skip to appointment-

    -Mom is shocked that she actually meant”YES I do want payed ” after telling her she didn’t have to-

  • Liz September 1, 2011, 5:48 pm

    What? She offers to pay for the missed appointment and then gets offended when that offer is accepted?

    A suggestion for the future -say what you mean and mean what you say! Don’t make promises or offers you don’t intend to keep as though it’s some sort of courtesy, because it’s not!

  • Enna September 2, 2011, 7:52 am

    @ FerrisW – you are well rid of that salon. Your stylist shouldn’t have taken a walk-in ten mintues BEFORE a booked appointment. That is bad mangagement. I’m surprsied you didn’t leave sooner as she often left you when she shouldn’t have. The stylist clearly missed the appointment and it wasn’t lik she was out of money!

  • Annie September 3, 2011, 6:43 am

    I would have told her OK, but I was going to get the scalp treatment and manicure, so be sure to add those to the other services she didn’t perform….

    I say, give her a one time missed appointment forgiveness. She’s been a good customer so this is a way of letting her know she’ll have to pay if it happens again, while maintaining a good relationship. Since she offered to come late but was rebuffed and told to just reschedule, i would have considered the matter closed at that point. If she expected payment she should have said so when she initially offered to pay.

  • Heather September 9, 2011, 10:28 am

    Ah, passive aggression – I agree, if it wasn’t a genuine offer, she shouldn’t have made it!