Dear Miss Manners: I have noticed that many establishments, from coffee shops to boutiques, are using systems that automatically ask for a tip when you are checking out — and “helpfully” give you choices of 15 percent, 20 percent and up.
I know I can hit “no tip,” but then I worry the person will think I’m obnoxious and I’ll feel embarrassed. What is your opinion of these systems?
That even though Miss Manners may occasionally be intimidated by all the new electronic devices in her life, she does not accept etiquette advice from them.
Dear Miss Manners: Over a decade ago, I was in a relationship with a woman who made the following mealtime complaint: Immediately after having a bite of whatever dish I was enjoying (and chewing and swallowing that bite, to the very best of my memory), I would take a sip of whatever beverage I was using to “wash down” my food.
This would invariably leave a “slime trail” on the rim of the glass. The slime is uncontested and incontestable.
Isn’t “sliming of the glass” a common phenomenon, and does it truly constitute a breach of etiquette? I found the entire subject amusing during my relationship with this person, but now, long after she and I have parted, it is starting to bother me that perhaps I have been committing, lifelong, some horrible etiquette faux pas.
There are many aspects of food consumption that are not pretty, and some people have stronger stomachs than others. Recognizing this, food etiquette exists so that people can share a meal without disgusting one another.
Sometimes it restrains us from doing things; other times it requires us not to notice. In this case, Miss Manners allows you to slime away so long as you refrain from sharing glasses.
Dear Miss Manners: When being welcomed into the home of friends (at any time of day), I am often asked the question, “Would you like something to drink?” They provide no further information about what they have available.
It seems rude to ask what they have, and I’m generally not interested in a glass of water. I’ve tried, “I’ll have whatever you’re having,” but my host may indicate that they are not having anything just now. What is the proper response? Do I decline the offer of a beverage? Ask for water?
Ask for something common — tea, coffee — or about a category of beverages: “Do you have any diet soda?” You may not get exactly what you want, but it is almost certain to be preferable to the Russian roulette of “I’ll have what she’s having.”
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.
© 2023 Judith Martin
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