Best Behavior Hero 4

Enough Is, Sometimes, Enough

I’m going to ask a question that’s personal. Over the past year and a half, a lot of people were out of work, and a lot of them worked in restaurants. I’m a single man who used to eat out two or three times a week. Throughout the pandemic, I lived off takeout and home delivery. I tipped everybody who brought me my food pretty heavily, I think. I’m relieved to be back at the bar, but I understand that servers are in short supply. However, I think it’s time to get back to normal in terms of tipping. When do I do that?Anonymous, West End

This is, indeed, a personal decision, involving just you and your wallet. It’s fun being back and picking up your fork, isn’t it? The paucity of people in the restaurant world just now is behind the scenes — the workers in the kitchen, the people who wash the dishes, not the people who take your order and bring the plates to your table. They probably get a share of your tips too. It’s hard work, as it always has been, but there’s probably a limit to how much you can afford to cough up. You can’t give enough to pay everybody’s bills. Fretting over your tip can ruin your dinner. It’s probably time to get back to giving a reasonable percentage of your bill as a gratuity and even more when the service is good. A gratuity, after all, is an act of gratitude, given in a gratuitous way, not out of necessity (at least that’s what it’s supposed to be). We’re all in this together, as we have been for the past year and a half. Life goes on. There’s no reason for you to bear the burden of the restaurant industry on your shoulders. Giving out of guilt is a questionable idea. It will never make you content.

A Double Debt

I recently had a death in my immediate family, and I have done my due diligence in sending out all of my thank you notes to all the respective parties. A very generous neighbor not only sent flowers to our home in sympathy, but they also made a kind, albeit late, donation to the American Cancer Society in my late mother’s name, as requested in lieu of flowers. Do I send another thank you note calling out that generous donation specifically, since I had previously sent a thank you for their flower gift? What’s the protocol here, please?Randy, Murfreesboro

The thoughtful neighbor who sent the flowers didn’t follow the rules, but you followed them and did the right thing (putting your thank you note in the mail right away). You can never say thank you too often, so a second note will be the right thing. Plus, that note will let the kind neighbor know that you received confirmation of the gift. That doesn’t happen all the time, you know. Your second thank you note put in the mail, in short order, will take care of that. They were kind twice; you can be grateful two times, too.