Set aside a few minutes to read this excellent article from New York magazine. It's a thorough, unblinking look into the reality of the spa and salon business, from the amount of money that workers make to the what they really think while they're waxing off your hair.
For instance, the writer interviews her facialist, Francesca Kim, who reveals the pay structure at her employer, a Manhattan spa:
In her current gig, she began at an hourly rate of $10 to $12 — the industry maximum, she tells me — plus commission for each treatment she does for a client. But without notice, the owners started removing the hourly rate from treatment slots. Sometimes the commission was 40 percent of the treatment price, sometimes 25 percent. It varies irregularly, though the more expensive the procedure, the lower her cut (tips make up 20 percent of her income).
I don't know about you, but this is absolutely fascinating to me. I've long wondered about the wages at spas, opting to over-tip for even the least expensive services. Now I'm glad that I've been doing so, and I'm thinking I should probably amp it up a few bucks more. But that's just one aspect of this story. Be sure to check out these poll results, which are equally intriguing.