Eaters who like tonnage along with taste have already discovered the best bargain in town: Sunday brunch at one of the major chain hotels.
For less than $20 per person, you can pack down as many platefuls as you can handle. It's fresh, beautiful and almost always delicious.
Unfortunately, misunderstandings sometimes come along for the ride. Andy O. Breece of Arlington was the victim of one a few weeks ago at the Sheraton Crystal City. The issue was the 15 percent tip that was added to his brunch bill.
Andy had no gripe with paying $17.95 apiece for himself and his wife. But he griped loudly about the 15 percent surcharge because he was never warned about it.
The only service he got for his "mandatory" $5.63 tip was "two cups of coffee poured and one dirty plate removed," Andy says. Insult to injury: the house added 15 percent to the sales tax as well as to the cost of the food. As Andy notes, "I already pay my fair share to the state."
Andy could have refused to leave the "mandatory" tip. But he didn't want to make a scene. So he decided to pay first and complain later. It proved to be winning strategy.
Joe Bast, the general manager of the Sheraton Crystal City, immediately contacted Andy with apologies and a couple of make-it-betters. Joe gave Andy a $5.63 credit, as well as a free round of drinks for himself and his wife whenever they care to come and collect.
Most refreshingly of all, Joe freely took the blame. A waitress had made a mistake, Joe said. The Sheraton adds 15 percent to restaurant bills only for parties of 10 or more, and in those cases, customers are advised ahead of time.
A neat resolution. But while we're repairing policies, why not a mandatory 10 percent service charge for hotel restaurant buffet customers? That's about what buffet service is worth. That's what Andy says he would have been willing to pay. That's what restaurant employees need to stay to the good side of poverty. And that's the standard pre-pegged tip at similar brunch operations in other cities, according to industry sources.
Six weeks ago, I got in the swing of the summer matrimonial season by offering a public service. Anyone who wanted to pop The Question, but was too bashful or tonguetied, could write to me. I promised to do the popping, right here on Comics Page Two.
Five readers took me up on my offer. So without further ado . . . .
Ed Brinson of Forestville says the girl he wants to marry, Trish Eisinger, "is no longer with me." The couple had been together for almost five years, Ed writes, but he "could never quite make up my mind" about marriage.
He has now, Trish.
"I love her very much and I hope this letter in print will show her how much," says Ed. "I am miserable without her."
"Bob in Alexandria" says he would have proposed to his Helene in a more personal, more lovey-dovey way. But Bob and Helene each have children, "and being single parents doesn't leave much time to be alone, much less romantic."
So Bob asks that I publish a poem he has written.
You know I love you
Because I told you
I want to spend my life with you
I've told you that, too
But what I need to ask you
Is will you say, 'I do?'
Brice Cunningham didn't mince words. The object of his affections is Jeanne An. Here's what Brice would like Jeanne to know:
"Juju, my hunnysweet, please accept my love and marry me, quenching my eternal desire for you."
Bill Moss of Severn, Md., is another hitch-seeking poet. But his purpose is a little different. Bill wants to marry Bernardine, his wife of 10 years, all over again.
We're about to celebrate a love
That has lasted ten
Let's do it right, will you
Marry me again?
Finally, the sound of the other shoe dropping.
In my earlier column about proposals-in-print, I recounted the story of Dave Kardos. He lives in Herndon. For nine months, he has been dating a woman who lives in Massachusetts. He thinks she's a "keeper." But he hasn't quite been able to utter the magic words.
In late June, I got a letter from New England. "This is the man I want to marry and I am wondering when he'll pop the question," the letter says. "Just letting my Dave Kardos know how I feel." It was signed, "The Woman in Boston."
Your move, Dave. Meanwhile, I remain open for business if anyone else would like to say through the newspaper what's sometimes hard to say face to face. My address is Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071.