Dear Abby:

Last weekend, I gave my hairdresser, "Zelda," an especially generous tip. She had done a particularly good job and I thought she deserved it.

The next time I visited Zelda, she charged me a higher price to include the amount I had tipped her. I paid the bill without disputing it, and now she expects that much every time. I feel taken advantage of. In addition, if Zelda isn't there when I need an appointment and I use another hairdresser, I am asked how much I pay Zelda before I'm told how much I owe. I have heard them charge other customers a smaller fee.

I'm annoyed and upset, but I don't know what to do about it. I like the job Zelda does, so I don't want to switch. I just wish I had never been so generous.

Pulling My Hair Out in L.A.

Bald may be beautiful, but pulling your hair out isn't the answer.

Having a frank discussion with Zelda and clearing the air is. Prices for services should be posted -- or available upon request -- so customers know what they're expected to pay.

To tip for exceptional service is the correct and accepted thing to do. For Zelda to have then added that tip to her regular fee was presumptuous. Since you don't want to change hairdressers, you may have to tolerate being "clipped." However, if I were you, I'd start asking women whose hair I admire whom they're patronizing and what they are being charged. The beauty business is competitive, and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Dear Abby:

We are a group of women who get together to play poker a couple of evenings a week. We are all well- educated and comfortably retired. Two of us have very slight regional accents.

In our group is a woman I'll call "Winifred," who is funny, accommodating and good-hearted. However, Winifred has appointed herself our English teacher without our permission. She delights in correcting us for what she considers mispronounced words. We are proud of our accents and have never asked to be corrected. We find it not only rude, but embarrassing. How can we discourage Winnie without breaking up the group?

Aces High in the East

The next time Winnie corrects you, smile and say, "We've done all right with these accents so far. It's part of what makes us unique. So please stop trying to make us sound like everyone else. We're happy as we are." If she takes offense and folds, deal her out. The alternative is tolerating more of her rudeness.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate