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Friday, December 13, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Tricky to avoid tipping salon owner

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin Andrews McMeel Syndication

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother and I often go to a local nail salon together and get the basic pedicure, which includes a soak, exfoliating, massage and polish. We try to get our pedicures simultaneously, so one of us doesn’t have to wait too long for the other to be finished.

Last time we went, the salon’s owner did my pedicure herself, and an employee did my mother’s. The owner hurried through the job, and in my opinion, “phoned it in.” The woman working on my mother took her time and did a good, relaxing job.

When it came time to pay, my mother tipped both women. (She paid for us both this time, but we usually each pay for our own.) We both know you are not supposed to tip a salon owner, since they don’t have to turn over a percentage, but here’s the trouble: How in the world do you pay at the cashier’s desk, which the owner was handling, and explain that “This $5 is for Rose. No, nothing for you.”

There is something of a language barrier, also. How should we handle this if it crops up again?

GENTLE READER: Ask for change. No, not in the behavior, although that would be helpful, too – just not, Miss Manners warns, polite.

If you ask the owner to break a $20 bill, you may then give the tip to Rose in person before making a hasty exit. Since the owner is already in such a hurry, perhaps she will not notice that you did not return.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m getting married at my family’s cabin. It’s on a small, private lake that we enjoy with neighbors, some right next door and others down the private gravel road we all also share.

There will be about 30 guests, which, even with our best carpooling efforts, will result in added vehicle and foot traffic. I’m not expecting us to be an especially rowdy bunch, but some added noise from a larger party visiting our cabin seems inevitable.

Should I alert our neighbors about the upcoming wedding? I feel odd sending them a note saying “We’re having a wedding and you’re not invited; please don’t mind the traffic,” but on the other hand, I would rather they know in advance and so might forgive the little inconvenience of added cars and people during an already full weekend.

Should I write them a note? If so, how should it be worded? Some of the neighbors my family knows quite well, but many of them are virtual strangers.

GENTLE READER: If you are able to add, “Please come over for a drink later at the reception” to the note, it would go a long way toward securing your neighbors’ indulgence and good will.

Otherwise, Miss Manners agrees that alerting them to an event that will only cause annoyance is ungracious. If inviting them is not feasible, she suggests that you leave it alone and ask for forgiveness afterward – perhaps by sending around leftover wedding cake and Champagne.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com.

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