Karma Cleanser - April 13 2005

Dear Karma Cleanser:
?Can I rack up bad karma by not tipping?

I have started getting my hair cut in the same place my girlfriend goes, which is a pretty fancy Buckhead salon. My haircut isn’t complicated, though, and they still charge me $40 or $50 every time I come in. My girlfriend’s haircut is usually more. When I pay, I only tip for her portion of the bill, because my cut is easy.

My girlfriend says I should tip for the whole bill, and also add in a few extra dollars for the woman who does the shampooing.

To me, this just sucks. It seems like everyone wants a tip now, even if they don’t deserve it.

We fight about tipping in other places, like when we have takeout delivered at home. I think the way prices are these days, adding a tip on is just unnecessary.

--Not Cheap, Just Honest??
The Karma Cleanser tends to agree with you that the culture of tipping has gotten a bit greedy, with even the coffee baristas expecting 20 percent for a tall latte. But a visit to an upscale hair salon is a different sort of proposition. If you think you can get the same quality of service at the hair shack on the corner, then by all means spare yourself (and your girlfriend) the embarrassment of coming off as a cheapskate.

Dear Karma Cleanser:
?I have recently returned to the South after living for a few years in?the Midwest (and briefly, in California). I am having a hard time?dealing with the backbiting that goes on here. My former circle of?friends is still here, still living the same lives they had when I?moved away, and the same bullshit is going on as when I left.?I don’t like to draw big stereotypes or sound like I’m prejudiced, but?I think this is a Southern problem. The people will smile to your face?then just stab you in the ribs. My friends in other parts of the?country were not like that. When I left the South to go to college, I?thought I had finally gotten rid of all the bad karma of my high?school days. Now that I am back, it appears that the karma is still?here.

— Packing Again

Perhaps the problem is not the South, but the circle. So your old?friends are still trapped in the same ruts they were in when you went?off to college. So what? You’ve changed. Why not seek out people who?are more like the new you instead of your high-school self? It’s not?bad karma haunting you from the old days, but a misguided hope that?others would have evolved the same way you have.