Probably one of the Grand Daddy of all my pet peeves is people who do not tip 18 to 20%. Plain and simple. If you can't afford to tip your therapist even a measly 15%, then you shouldn't be getting a massage to begin with. What's even worse, is when people tip like that when someone else is paying for their service. If you come to get a massage with a Gift Certificate and don't have the decency to tip appropriately, your skin should be shaved off with a cheese grater and you should be dropped into a pit of flesh-eating ants after you've been dipped in molasses. Look, I'll be the first to admit that we charge way more than is humanly necessary, but not only are you getting high quality work, you are also in the most luxurious of surroundings and have access to all the amenities of our entire facility (which includes a state of the art fitness center).
Although, my spa caters to the wealthier elite class, this concept is easily applicable to your every day spa or anyone else who depends on tips as a source of income. Unless your therapist touched you inappropriately, (perhaps a little tea-bagging incident) managed not to listen to any of your needs, or literally didn't know what he/she was doing, then I can understand tipping below the bench mark. However, when you visit one of the country's leading luxury spas and pay a few hundred dollars for a treatment, and you get this tall drink of sexy brownness, and I give you the most bad-ass massage you've ever had; you better be leaving me 20% or I'll wish evil upon your children and steal your favorite t-shirt.
There is nothing more insulting than to hear you rant and rave about how I was the best you've ever had, how exquisitely wonderful I am, and how you wish you could afford for me to work on you everyday . . . . and then for you to leave me 25 bucks on a $230 treatment. Um, excuse me mam, but you seem to be mistaken. Perhaps the lights were a little too dim for you to see correctly, or maybe you were still a little lightheaded by the bomb-ass massage you just received, but I think you meant to make that two, a four. Seriously. My favorite is the pompous asshole who nonchalantly shakes your hand on his way out while inconspicuously leaving a twenty dollar bill in your palm as if you had just parked his fucking car and he's doing you a favor. Hey there Guido, I just spent the better part of 80 minutes rubbing your hairy-ass and listening to you snore like you a were a troll with pneumonia. Mr. Jackson here, better have some friends joining him shortly.
It's actually quite an interesting phenomenon that continuously keeps us scratching our heads. The people who don't have much to say are generally the ones that exceed your tipping expectations. It's extremely difficult, in the short period of time in which we introduce ourselves and find out what you want out of the massage, to ascertain exactly what you're feeling, or what you may be going through. Maybe you just landed a 747 from an 18 hour flight from Germany while suffering from a bout of diarrhea, perhaps you just ran a marathon in flip flops and your feet hurt, you could have just lost your dog, or wasted the last few hours of your life watching the Republican National Convention. Unless you say something, we can't always tell. I'll have clients on occasion that flat out don't even seem like they're enjoying the massage. They answer your questions abruptly or ambiguously, making it difficult for you to gauge how things are going. Some are even a little rigid or fidgety at times. But when you go to pick up their receipt, you find an even 20% or higher as a result of your labor. Apparently they loved it, but either weren't quite the social butterfly or weren't in the mood to express it. Quite frankly I prefer clients who are responsive and complimentary to you during their treatment, but if I had to chose, I'll go with the cool hard cash over the compliments any day. I know I'm good, and although I absolutely love to hear you tell me so, Brown's gotta put food on his family. (if you know where that last part is from you'll get a special prize!)
I've discussed this issue before with other therapists, and usually we are all in agreement. But I have had the pleasure before of hearing the perspective of one therapist who thought that I should be happy that we even get tipped and that being able to give someone such a wonderful gift should be the only fulfillment I need (I choked her and dumped her body in a swamp) I am very appreciative of all the things that envelop the type of work I do, and I indeed reap great rewards from being able to facilitate the body's healing process, bring someone peace of mind, or even rid someone of pain entirely. I meet all kinds of fascinating people and I feel very blessed to share my gift with those who need it. And when I volunteer my work, believe you me, an appreciative smile or thankful nod, is all I need in return.
However, I'm not going to lie, massage therapy is my profession and I'm giving you two of my greatest nonrenewable resources: my time and my energy. When you book me, you are entering a business transaction and as a result, I expect to be paid accordingly. I'm not sure how it is with some body workers, but I take extreme pride in what I do, I pay attention to the smallest of details to ensure that you get the most for what you are paying for. With every one who lays on my table, I make it my personal endeavor to give you the best of what I have. I know for a fact that most massage therapists don't do this. It's too physically and spiritually demanding to give a 100% to all of your clients, but day in and day out, that's exactly what I do. That's how I roll. So, do us all a favor, the next time you get a massage . . . . show some damn respect . . . . then SHOW ME THE MONEY!