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Q Does one always tip a hairdresser? I recently got a haircut from a stylist who works out of her home. She does not employ anyone else. I am wondering if I should tip her as I would someone at a regular salon. Are there guides for tipping?

A Generally, hairdressers and barbers are tipped 10 to 20 percent. Salon owners, however, typically are not. So, by that standard, the home hairdresser would not be tipped. But remember, you decide if there's a tip.

General tipping guidelines from the Emily Post Institute:

A tip is earned. Reward good service generously and reduce the tip proportionately for indifferent or rude service. A good rule of thumb is 10 percent if the service is mediocre and 8 percent if it's really poor. That way, you help to raise the standard of service. Leaving no tip does not correct the problem of poor service.

Treat servers with respect. Leaving a generous tip doesn't make up for ordering someone around or treating them dismissively. While tipping augments servers' incomes and rewards them for a job well done, treating them kindly is just as important.

When in doubt, ask in advance. In a hair salon, ask the receptionist. In some situations, leaving a tip could be seen as demeaning. Taking the time to find out what's expected can spare you an embarrassing moment.

Tip on the pretax amount of the bill, not on the total.

Tip discreetly. Tipping is a private matter. Don't act like a "big spender" and flash a lot of bills.

Money is the tip of choice. Sometimes a small gift, usually given during the holidays, can be substituted for cash.

Sorry, Jiminy Q I am having a problem with crickets in my basement. What is the best and safest way to get rid of them?

A Crickets in homes usually die by early winter, so insecticide treatment is not necessary. Sticky traps, such as a Roach Motel, will catch them. It helps to dry out damp areas with a fan or dehumidifier. Avoid debris and clutter to minimize potential hiding places. As with other pests, the best strategy for controlling crickets is to keep them from coming inside in the first place:

• Caulk and repair cracks and gaps in the foundations, around doors, basement windows and other entry points.

• Keep weeds and grass cut. Removing wood piles and other clutter also minimizes crickets. Report a weedy vacant lot to the developer and the city.

• Outside lights attract crickets, so turn them off if possible. If not, use yellow lights, which are less attractive to insects than white, neon or mercury vapor lights.

Send your questions to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488, or call 612-673-7032, or e-mail Past columns are available at Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies.