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Tips and Tipping

Tipping is variously designated. Some say it is a nuisance and should be abolished. Some call it an outrage and ask for legislative interference. Some say it is an extortion and refuse to pay it. Some say it is a necessary evil and suffer it. The wise ones look at it a little differently. Possibly it is best explained or excused, whichever way you wish to call it, by one of Gouverneur Morris's characters in a recent story, who says:

"Whenever I go anywhere I find persons in humble situations who smile at me and wish me well. I smile back and wish them well. It is because at some time or other I have tipped them. To me the system has never been an annoyance but a delightful opportunity for the exercise of tact and judgment."

We look upon tipping as a part of expense to be calculated upon, necessary to insure good service, not only now but in the future, and it should always be computed in the expense of a trip or a dinner. Tipping, to our minds, is the oil that makes the wheels of life run smoothly.

The amount of the tip is always a matter of individual judgment, dependent upon the service rendered, and the way it is rendered. The good traveler wants to tip properly, neither too little nor too much, thereby getting the best service, for in the last analysis the pleasure of a trip depends upon the service received. American prodigality and asininity is responsible for much of the abuse of tipping. Too many Americans when they travel desire to appear important and the only way they can accomplish this is by buying the subserviency of menials who laugh at them behind their backs.

A tip should always depend upon the service rendered. We make it a rule to withhold the tip from a careless or inconsiderate waiter, and always add to the tip a word of commendation when there has been extra good service. The amount of the tip depends, first on the service, second on the amount of the bill, and third, on the character of the place where you are served. When we order a specially prepared dinner, with our suggestions as to its composition and service, we tip the head waiter, the chef, the waiter and the bus boy. We have given dinners where the tips amounted to fully half as much as the dinner itself, and we felt that this part of the expense brought us the greatest pleasure.

It is impossible to make a hard and fast rule regarding how much to give a waiter. Each person must use his or her own judgment. If you are in a foreign country you might do as we did on our first trip to Paris. We wanted to do what was right but not what most Americans think is right We were at a hotel where only French were usually guests, and in order to do the right thing we took the proprietor into our confidence and explained to him our dilemma. We asked him whom to tip and how much to give, and he got us out of our difficulty and we found that the tips amounted to about as much for one whole week as we had been held up for in one day at the Waldorf-Astoria.

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