Dear Annie: Do customers realize the harm they cause when they blow off their appointments?

Dear Annie: My daughter is the co-owner of a salon in Florida. All the folks there work extremely hard trying to make a living.

Here is the problem: Let’s say “Karen” books a hair color treatment that requires three hours to complete on a Thursday. That time frame is now blocked off on the schedule. On Wednesday, Karen is contacted to verify she will be in to receive her color treatment, and she verifies. As the time approaches Karen’s appointment, several folks walk into the salon to request a service but are denied because the time has been allotted to Karen.

Karen is 10 minutes late and then 20 minutes late and then 30 minutes late. The salon then calls Karen to make sure she has not run into a ditch. Karen says: “Oh, I forgot all about it. I’ll have to reschedule.” Apparently, these no-shows have no concept that they have not only cost the salon three hours of productivity but also denied service to many walk-ins.

In some cases, folks who cannot make their appointment have the courtesy to call and inform the salon so the time allotted for their service can be filled. Would Karen just blow off an appointment with her doctor or dentist?

Folks have to come to the realization that salon owners and employees have careers that have always catered to the customer. Customers also have to understand that they have a responsibility to the salon to either uphold their commitment and show up when scheduled or have the decency to call and cancel their appointment in a timely fashion so the salon can fill the time.

The “I forgot” excuse is bogus. Remember, the owners and employees are trying to earn a living while providing the best service possible. Do you have any suggestions to make it easier to address these Karen moments?

-- Customer Etiquette


Dear Customer Etiquette: Yes, to answer your question, I think that Karen could also blow off a doctor or dentist appointment. It is not a personal attack on your daughter; it is a personality flaw of Karen’s, in that she didn’t learn about consideration for others.

In order to deter people from forgetting about appointments, your daughter could install a cancellation policy. Many businesses have them, including doctors and dentists. She could also look into an automatic email reminder for customers, with a note stating the salon’s cancellation policy.

• • •

Dear Annie: I just read the letter from “Finally Crawled Out of the Bottle,” who wrote in response to “Outside the Bottle Looking In.” I want both of those writers to know that they have someone praying for them who they will never meet.

My husband gave me, and our children, the gift of his sobriety 15 years ago. We were so blessed that he recognized what was happening to him, even before I did. I know his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and the people he came to know through them, made all the difference.

I hope “Finally Crawled Out of the Bottle” can feel me, and I’m sure many others, lifting her up and rejoicing with her in her sobriety.

-- Someone Who Cares

Dear Someone Who Cares: Thank you for your heartfelt letter. Your gratitude toward your husband, and the gift he gave you, is simply beautiful.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: