Open Thread

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.


  1. bev

    Tipping advice
    My hair stylist is also the owner of the salon.
    Should I be tipping her each visit? If so, how much?
    Also, what would an appropriate holiday tip be?

    • Elizabeth

      The official line is that the owner of the salon does not need to be tipped, because they could/should set their prices to reflect the remuneration they want. Also, while regular stylists have to pay rent for their chair to the owner, or they only get a percentage the services they perform, the owner presumably keeps all of his/her earnings. However, in practice, when the owner works on their own clients they work on them as a stylist and they consider tips to be a sign of appreciation, of a job well done, and (rightly or wrongly) they expect them. So, I would tip the owner the same way you’d tip a stylist, but I wouldn’t give more during the holidays. (I might bring my stylist a little present, or a plate of cookies, but not a bigger tip. This is hypothetical, though, my stylist is my sister – who I pay, and tip.)

  2. Jody

    I have another question for the group, as I’m a bit torn here. A good friend always has a New Year’s Eve party at her house. As usual, her Christmas card said something like “hope to see you New Year’s Eve, we’ll call you.” It’s December 30 and they haven’t called or emailed with details or if the party is still happening. They’re very good friends (of about 30 years’ duration) but I’d still feel uncomfortable calling them to ask “is the party still on and when should I be there.” Any thoughts from the group?

    • Elizabeth

      I think it is probable that she just got busy with the holidays and forgot to call. Or, the party may be patterned on previous years, and so she assumes you know the drill. (If it’s at her house, what details do you need??) I would just call to double check the start time, and see if she’d like you to bring anything. It is highly unlikely that you have been uninvited.

  3. Lauren

    I am preparing to address wedding invitations and the invitations I’ve purchased only have the outside envelope. What is the proper way to address the invitation to single or unmarried person who can bring a guest?

  4. Samantha

    I was recently invited to a Christmas party. All guests were asked to bring food and whatever they liked to drink. Just before the party the hostess asked me to do her a favor by picking up a specific bottle of wine for her, stating she would pay me back.

    The hostess knew I had not been feeling well and am on a limited income, so I brought 3 large cans of baked beans. She served one and left the other un-opened cans on the counter. I brought the wine she requested and my own drinks, I also left a gift under their tree. I stayed long enough to have a taste of food and one drink from my own bottle. I wasn’t feeling well and decided to leave early. After saying good-bye to each guest, I left early taking my own bottle and the 2 cans of un-opened beans.

    The hostess later refused to re-pay me for the wine she had requested for her own use and berated me for taking the un-opened cans with me. She said the wine should have been considered a gift and taking back the un-opened beans was cheap. This has caused our friendship to end.

    Was I wrong to expect her to repay me for wine she requested for her own use and taking back the unopened cans of beans?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      The person you described is not a hostess. Hostesses do not require guests to bring food and drink. She was a potluck coordinator. Had your items been hostess gifts, it would have been rude to take them when you left. They were not hostess gifts, they were potluck contributions. It is customary at potlucks to take uneaten items with you when you leave. You were entitled to take them witb you, and you are entitled to the repayment as promised.

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