I HAVE NEVER LEFT a barber’s shop without leaving a tip. This is a habit that was instilled in me by my mother during my childhood. Whether the cut was good or bad, I have always left my hairdresser with a gratuity.
In January 1994, I first visited the Bangalore Club in southern India. A few days before my wedding to a member, my in-laws decided that my hair needed a trim. Back in those days, the Club barber shop was located in a hut behind the Men’s Bar, which until a few years ago did not allow the entry of women and girls. Now renamed, this former bastion of maleness permits all drinkers regardless of their genders.
My haircut was at the very least satisfactory and cost all of 20 Indian Rupees, which was debited to my wife’s club account. In those days one pound Sterling was, if I recall correctly, about 40 Rupees. So, my haircut was remarkably good value compared with what I would have paid for it in London.
At the end of my session with the barber, I fumbled in my pocket to find some money for the tip. All I could find was a 50 Rupees note, which I handed to the man who had looked after my coiffure.
When I related my experience to my wife-to-be, she was horrified that I had tipped more than twice the fee. I suspect that the barber was delighted.