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Everyday Cheapskate: Tips at salon should not be guilt driven

Dear Mary: Do you tip a hairdresser if that person also owns the salon? I go to a shop where the owners provide services. I have always debated whether to give them a tip. What do you think? — Mary V.

Dear Mary V.: My etiquette sources still give the conventional response to tip a hairdresser unless that person is the owner of the business. However, it is unclear if this applies if that owner also provides services as opposed to supervising and running the business.

I must admit this is a ticklish situation, especially if you have been tipping these folks in the past. If you were to stop suddenly, you might get less than satisfactory service in the future. My suggestion is that you decide for yourself why you tip any service person. If it’s to reward a job well done, and that’s what you’re receiving from these folks, a tip is likely in order. As a general rule, don’t ever feel compelled to tip out of guilt. Set your own standards based on what you think is right, and then stick by them.

Dear Mary: I sure hope you can help me. I’m at the end of my rope with the floor of our fiberglass shower. It’s stained and gross. I’ve wasted a lot of money on fiberglass cleaners, but nothing works. I cannot afford to replace the shower, which is in excellent functional condition. Any suggestions? — Roy M.

Dear Roy: Sounds like it’s time to bring out the big artillery. Make a trip to the grocery store for Twenty Mule Team Borax (you’ll find it in the laundry aisle) and on the way home, stop at the home improvement store for FINE drywall sandpaper (it’s not really sandpaper, it looks more like window screening and is sometimes called a drywall sponge). Mix 1 cup borax and 3 cups baking soda into a scouring powder. Dampen the floor of the shower, sprinkle on the powder generously and then scrub the floor with the drywall sandpaper as you would a sponge. Rinse and repeat as necessary. Caution: This is for otherwise hopeless situations and textured fiberglass tub and shower floors, not smooth fiberglass surfaces.

Dear Mary: For many years, I’ve been darning socks and hose. I know it must sound old fashioned to you, but the hose I wear are expensive and I like to make them last a long time. I have a problem. The store where I have purchased darning thread for many years has stopped carrying it. Now I cannot find it anywhere. I sure hope you can help me. — Bertha

Dear Bertha: What I know about darning could fit into a thimble with room to spare, but I do know where to find that thread. The Knit Shop in Eugene, Oregon carries 23 colors of your darning thread for $3 per card. You can order from their very nice website at knit-shop.com (search “darning thread”) or call (541) 434-0430 to order by phone.

Mary invites questions at mary@everyday

cheapskate.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.

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