DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am old enough to recall when guests came first. Drop-ins might have been unexpected, but never unwanted or unwelcome. The family made accommodations as if they had been invited – even if guests got most of the meal or the children of the household ate peanut butter sandwiches.
Nowadays the family’s schedule comes first, and drop-ins might not even be invited in for a brief chat and coffee. Calling first does not mean they will be welcome either.
Is this a sign of the rudeness that is so pervasive in society?
GENTLE READER: At first, Miss Manners thought you must have meant to write that you recalled when guests “called” first. It seemed unlikely that you would be old enough to predate the telephone, the invention that made asking-before-appearing possible.
Certainly, people should show great consideration for their guests. But guests are also obliged to show consideration. Popping up unexpectedly and eating the children’s dinner does not meet that standard.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: For meetings, I periodically place a to-go order with a local restaurant for 10 to 20 people. The owner of the restaurant asked for a tip.
Is this standard practice? I have not tipped for carry-out unless delivered.
GENTLE READER: It is not the custom to insult the owner of a business by offering him a tip. Unfortunately, Miss Manners understands that it has indeed become a frequent practice of owners to request being insulted.
As with other requests for handouts, one need not comply. If you feel an explanation is necessary, you could say, “Of course I tip employees, who make so little, but aren’t you the owner?”