Mrs. McVeigh's Manners
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A question I frequently get is about tipping.  How much to tip, different circumstances if you should tip or not tip, and what if you have bad service.  Remember that a lot of service industry workers get paid little and make their living off of tips.


If you are at a restaurant (in the U.S.) a standard 15 - 20% applies.  It does not matter if you are eating at Applebees or The Mansion, this is the standard amount that you should tip.  If you have really bad service then anywhere from no tip to 10% of the total bill is fine.  If you order a very expensive bottle of wine, then you are not expected to tip on the total bill. 


20% if the appropriate amount to spend for salon services.  However, if you are at a medical office and have a procedure done by medical staff (such as getting Botox at a Dermatologist’s office), tipping is not expected.  If you are unsure, (such as I was when I got a massage at my Chiropractor’s office), feel free to ask someone at the front desk. 


If you valet your car, I suggest tipping $3.00 to $5.00, even if the valet service is not free. 


At the airport if you check your bags at the curb, tip at least $3.00 for one bag, and at least $5.00 for two bags. If you are at a hotel and confer with the hotel concierge a lot, I suggest tipping $20.00 - $50.00 before you leave.  The gentleman who brings your bag to your room, tip according to how nice the hotel is, and how many bags you have. 


During the holidays, I always tip extra if I am a regular customer, or I bring a small gift in addition to my tip.  For example, I was charged $55.00 for a spa service, so I gave $100.00 total. 


Tipping is important, and knowing how much to tip is very important to know.  It is an uncomfortable feeling when you are not sure if you are not giving enough of a tip.

Are you expecting question – Naughty or Nice?

 Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

My husband and I have been married several years, and especially lately, friends and family keep asking us when we're planning to start a family. Recently, someone asked me point-blank if I was expecting (I'm not). These questions make me feel so awkward I never know what to say. Do you have any ideas?


Not expecting to be expecting soon


Dear Not expect to be expecting soon,

My husband and I waited 9 years before we had children, and so I am very familiar with your situation.  What people need to realize is some people do not want children, or are not able to have children, so questioning someone about this is awkward and can come across as rude.  A lot of women struggle with fertility issues and are very fragile emotionally during the whole process of trying to have children, and one small question about having children can be mental torture. 


The other issue with this question is a woman’s complex about her figure.  If someone asks you this in person, your first thought is you must look pregnant.   If you are not, (or when you actually are in the early stages), you take this as an insult because it means you look heavier than you used to look.  Another reason this is not a polite question to ask a woman.


When a woman is asked this question, the polite reply would be a quick “no,” and then change the subject.  If you want to put it back on the person asking, you can reply “Why do you ask that?”  This will make the other person uncomfortable, but it will make the point that it is not a comfortable question for you, and should not be asked.  

Giving and Receiving Gifts

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

What is the proper etiquette when someone gives you a gift and you do not have one for him?  It is so embarrassing, and we never know what to say.  Should you make up an excuse or get them a gift as soon as you can?

Neighborsgo Editors


Dear Neighborsgo Editors,

Just because someone gives you a gift, you do not have to give him one.  I remember just out of college giving a friend a Christmas present, and him mumbling something how mine was coming soon from a catalog that he ordered. I was not surprised when I never received the gift from him, because I knew he just made that up because he felt bad he had nothing to give me.  He was still in college and I knew he could not afford a gift, so I was just expecting a thank you, and not something in exchange.


Every year I get calls from my side of the family and my husband’s side of the family asking if they are exchanging gifts or not.  My opinion is if you want to give someone a gift during the holidays do not expect anything in exchange, and do not feel obligated to give a gift because you received one.  Also gifts exchanged between two people do not have to have equal dollar value, and it really is the thought that counts.


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