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Generous tip may not be enough to erase unpleasant memory

By Judith Martin and Jacobina Martin Universal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was out to lunch today with my girlfriend at a fairly nice place, when I happened to get sick at lunch and vomited, not in the restroom, but in the dining area. The wait staff was incredibly pleasant, remade our meal and cleaned up the puke.

I realize that most people leave 20 to 22 percent when they have had superlative service. We tipped about 30 percent. Is that sufficient, or should we have tipped equivalent to our bill?

GENTLE READER: Well, what percentage of the meal was actually returned?

Miss Manners assures you that a 30 percent tip is generous. While not a pleasant task to perform, cleaning up is unfortunately part of the wait staff’s job. And surely anyone could imagine being in your position and sympathize. If not, no amount of money will likely erase the memory.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We live in the same city as most of my husband’s family. The problem is that they communicate only through social media. We never receive a call informing us of things like the birth of a child, an engagement or someone being in the ICU, because all the events of their lives are played out on social media.

My husband and I have purposely chosen not to be on social media and all our family members know this. He is a teacher who feels the blurred lines that can occur when students become “friends” with teachers on social media is not professionally appropriate. I have a very demanding, stressful job that often requires me to do work at home in the evenings and on weekends. I simply don’t have time to post things or read all the posts from our large family.

We have asked these family members to give us a call, text or quick email when events happen, but it falls on deaf ears.

When the matriarch of his family asks me about “Josh’s surgery,” for example, and I have to say I was unaware Josh had been hospitalized, the matriarch blames me for not trying harder to maintain communication with these family members.

However, these are the same family members who never fail to invite us (by mailed invitations) to every possible event requiring a gift: birthday parties, bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, etc.

Is there a way to get these social media fanatics to remember there are people who love them who are not their followers?

GENTLE READER: Unfortunately, probably not. It is seemingly just too convenient to overshare on social media, without the added inconvenience of personally connecting with any individuals.

If your family is not catching on by now, Miss Manners fears that it is unlikely that they ever will – in their minds, just to suit you. Continue as you have done – quietly and without judgment – urging them to reach out to you personally when they want to relay important information. Modeling this behavior by checking in with a quick personal email or call every once in a while will, perhaps, reinforce this. Mass impersonal texts to that end, however, will not.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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