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Personal shopper: Tipping at nail salons

We ask an expert if tipping the owner of a nail salon is a faux pas.
By Jessica Herman |

I frequent a small nail salon in my neighborhood, and sometimes the owner does my nails, sometimes another person. I know it can be considered impolite to tip the bar owner when he or she is serving your drinks. Does the same rule apply at a nail salon? I don’t want to make a social faux pas!—M. Sylvia Castle

Let’s set the record straight. According to TOC Food & Drink editor David Tamarkin it’s not impolite to tip the owner of a bar. “Tip whomever makes your drink $1 or, if it’s a complicated drink or the bartender seems to have taken great care with it, $2 per,” he says. “If I am served my drinks by a server, I tip 20 percent.” The same rule applies to nail salons, says Nail Bar communications manager Mareva Lindo. “Tip them the same as you would in general: a 20 percent tip. If they go above and beyond because the owner knows more about things, it would be like anyone who goes above and beyond: Tip them more.” When in doubt, a tip is a good idea.

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