Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Friday, May 26, 2006

What's the Etiquette...

In tipping dog groomers?

Yesterday, the fiance took Ruby-the-nine-pound-dog-who-limps to the doggy salon early in the morning because he couldn't deal anymore.

Frankly, I like when Ruby-the-nine-pound-dog-who-limps long hair on her ears is matted (They look kind of like dreads.)

How did her ears get like that? Let's just say it involved The Dictator and a bowl of ice cream. Anyway, The fiance was adamant too that they cut Ruby-the-nine-pound-dog-who-limps toenails.

Apparently, the fiance doesn't like to get scratched by anyone's toe nails, including mine.

All day long, the fiance called to remind me, "Beck, you're going to pick Ruby up, right?," "Beck you're going to pick Ruby up right?" "Beck, you're going to pick Ruby up, right?"

How could I forget.? I walked into the doggy salon, just after 4 p.m. and said to the Dog Woman, "I'm here to pick up Ruby."

"She's not here," the Dog Woman said, with a straight face.

"Um, what?"

"She's not here. She left."


"She's gone."

My heart immediately started pounding. Where the hell was my Ruby-the-nine-pound-dog-who-limps? Was it possible, after the fiance reminded me 5000 times to pick her up, that he had? But he would have told me if that was the case, wouldn't he?

"Well-" I answered, trying to get to the bottom of where my dog was. I was starting to freak out. I mean, it's my dog!

"JOKING!" said the dog woman. "I was just joking."

"Oh," I said, looking at her. That was a JOKE? I didn't quite get it.

I mean, if I went to pick up the Dictator and someone pulled that "joke" on me, you can bet that I would never EVER bring her back there again.

Everyone knows that dogs are like children. For goodness sake, they make bridesmaids dresses for dogs and diamond collars. People spend more on their dogs these days than their children. And Ruby is my baby. I love her.

From that moment on, I was flustered. I couldn't get over the joke. But Dog Woman explained that everyone loved Ruby and didn't want to see her go. (So, I guess there was a reason behind the dog-knapping joke. I guess.)

Ruby-the-nine-pound-dog-who limps, I will admit, looked gorgeous. And she smelled all flowery (although I do like dog smell. I really do.) And her toe nails were cut.

Dog Woman-Who-Has-A-strange-sense-of-humour told me how much the bill was ($51) I handed her over $60 and then thought, "Oh, do I tip her for doing my dog's hair and nails?"

I mean, I tip my hairdresser. I tip my manicurists. I had no idea. So I said, "You can keep the change, or give it to the Humane society." (There was a can for the Humane Society on the counter.)

I left, happy that I had Ruby-the-nine-pound-dog-who-limps, still weirded out by Dog Woman's not-funny joke (Does anyone else see the humor in pretending that your dog is gone, when you go to pick them up?) and wondering if I should have tipped more, or less, or not at all.

Anyone know the etiquette?


Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I think you are supposed to tip at dog grooming places.
We did.
Though they didn't try to keep our dog - they were more than happy to give him back because he was so bad.
We tipped the dog trainer too. Same reason - he was so bad that we felt we needed to.
Her comment was kind of creepy, though, especially if you've seen the movie (or read the far superior book) In Her Shoes where the girl actually takes the dog from the dog grooming place.
Some people just make stupid jokes though.

9:13 AM

Blogger babesandtheburbs said...

I'm with you on the tipping. Maybe not 9 bucks on 50, but I always tip the dog groomer. It just seems right and it's service, right? But, the joke...not so funny.

9:25 AM

Anonymous Toronto Gal said...

This posted reminded me of when I was a kid and waiting for my dad (who never gets sick and never goes to the doctor) to come out of the doctor's office. I went to the washroom, came back and the receptionist told me my dad had a great attack. Then laughed and said, "Joking!" NOT FUNNY! Anyway...I pay $55 for Napoleon's (my Bichon puppy) grooming and nail clipping and tip about $10. They put coconut pineapple cologne on him and he just smells so yummy afterwards and I can pretty detailed instructions that I don't want him to look like he's put his paw in an electrical outlet. You are supposed to tip about 15% as I understand it.

9:53 AM

Anonymous Toronto Gal said...

i'm back...the comment box sent my message somehow without my hitting "publish." anyway, given your situation, I would have still tipped (you don't want something mean to happen to Ruby next time) but definitely would have told them that they have a sick sense of humour.

9:57 AM

Anonymous Giblet said...

seeing how much they enjoyed said dog's company perhaps she should have tipped you...

10:29 AM

Blogger Gabriella said...

I used to work at a vet's office and most people tipped the groomer, from what I could see when the tip changed hands it varied from 15% of bill to hardly nothing!!! I guess it all depends on the state of your pet when you bring him/her in, if you know it's going to be a tough job then a nice tip helps!!! Just my opinion, I've also heard if the groomer owns the place (and I've heard this goes for people salons/spas etc) then they don't get a tip?

2:16 PM

Blogger hautemama said...

Hm. I've never heard of tipping your groomer. Guess I'm a cheapo. But then again i have pugs and i think we're overcharged because their ugly. They don't need any hair trimming and it costs the same as our old Schnauzer to get shaved.

4:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your blog!
Totally you tip your massage therapist?

7:02 PM

Blogger Wendy Boucher said...

I just stumbled across your blog from the Blah Blah Blog. I'm an author and freelance writer (the good kind who writes travel articles, not the evil self-indulgent kind spoken about below)and I'm super glad to have found your site.

I have a nine pound dog that does not limp. She sort of bounces. I have never tipped her hairdresser and now I'm wondering if they secretly spit on her since I'm such a bad doggie mommy.

It's a whole can of worms you just opened.

6:23 AM

Blogger hautemama said...

Ok, the gerbil's still spinning on this it just me or is tipping getting out of hand? (pardon the pun)

I mean, where do you draw the line? Lordy, we should be tipping our doctors, dentists etc if anyone.

8:57 AM

Blogger stkitts said...

When it comes to tipping or not, my rule is related to the service...
Is it an essential service, or a nice-to-have.

So having someone serve you at a restaurant, or do your nails, etc - that's a nice-to-have. As would be dog grooming.

For a doctor or a vet - that's a neccesity.

Then again - I over-tip everybody, so that they'll remember me.

3:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Just yesterday I took my sheepdog in to get groomed--I dont know why, but even when I tell the grommer not to trim his nose like a poodle they always do. The poodle cut must be all the know.

5:51 AM

Blogger Cindy said...

What a horrible joke. I can't believe someone would do something like that.

I don't know what proper etiquette for tipping a dog groomer would be but after that, I don't think I would've tipped anyway. You can't scare a person like that.

11:34 PM

Blogger Ashley said...

If someone told me my dog was gone when I went to pick them up I would freak out. Dogs are family, someone who works at a dog groomer should know that!!

8:20 AM

Blogger Annie, The Evil Queen said...

Tipping has gotten crazy. I imagine the groomer, technically, are like any other salon service. I am never sure who I'm supposed to be tipping anymore. We recently took a trip and when we got back to the airport, we had to ride in a van to get to where our car was parked. One of the other girls in the van tipped the driver. Is this necessary?

12:49 PM

Anonymous Charity said...

Yay! finally something I can comment on! I know I'm so late... this entry is years old. Whatever.

I'm a dog groomer and I can say this: no, we don't spit on your dog if you don't tip and we aren't mean to your dog, even if you are rude to us. But we always appreciate someone who tips. Give us $5. We're happy. Give us $10... we're thrilled. Give us $20 and up--it must be christmas.

When you tip us it shows that you appreciate our hard work. And grooming is definitely hard work. We're squeezing your dog's anal glands. Some of your dogs pee and poo on us... or have major diarrhea all over the kennel, which we clean up. A lot of you with little dogs don't realize how nasty your little dog is when you take him out of your designer purse and hand him over. We deal with yeast-infections on dogs faces, cocker spaniel ear infections (the stench!!), horrid dog breath, and so many people don't realize that girl dogs that aren't spayed have periods too! and sometimes they squirt blood on our hands... and that is just... *shudder*.

I'm not saying that you should have to tip just because our other customers have nasty, yucky dogs. It just shows that you appreciate us, you appreciate our work, and you appreciate that we appreciate your dog!

oh, and if you get a highly-stylized cut, or you bring in a very matted dog that needs to be shaved down completely or dematted... good lord, please tip us. Good groomers will sometimes spend hours working on your dogs... but the majority of us only make 50% commission. If we had to take fewer dogs that day because we were working on yours for longer than usual... it makes us sad that our effort wasn't recognized.

2:27 AM


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