Dear Annie: This is in response to the letter from someone who said there is no tipping in Europe.
I can categorically say that there is tipping in Europe — if we accept that Britain is in Europe. I am a 43-year-old Brit, and I tip almost every time I eat at a restaurant, unless the service has been bad. Family and friends do the same.
There are various things like a “service charge” that the restaurant might add, but leaving some cash on the table (say, 10%) is a very common occurrence. Some coffee shops even have tip jars to encourage tipping. Ride-sharing and food delivery apps invite you to leave a tip.
Tipping is even debated in the media, particularly regarding ways to make sure the staff, not the owners, get the tips.
We tip the wait staff to help increase their take-home pay, which is low relative to living costs, and to thank them for good service, as has been customary for time immemorial. — Local From Manchester, England
Dear Local From Manchester: Thank you for telling us about tipping in England. I notice you said 10%, which is less than most Americans tip.
Dear Annie: Staying close to family is not easy, but it is really important.
When my mom was younger, I was busy with work, kids, their extracurricular activities, and keeping up with housework and yard work. My spouse worked graveyard shifts for many, many years. And I lived quite far away from my mom, when long-distance bills were a thing we had to budget for.
Now Mom is in her ninth decade and not in the best health. To my dismay, she rarely answers the phone. I make a point of emailing her every week or so, to send her news of our branch of the family.
We recently moved to a warmer, less expensive community as retirees, and I won’t be seeing my adult children and the grandchildren every day. I do try to stay in touch, but I also know they have obligations and responsibilities and very busy lives. They don’t often initiate a call. So, I’m learning to be OK with that as well.
I email the adults letters to share with their children, and I send “snail mail” to the children, too. I’m the one who has the time and energy to maintain connection at this point in our lives, whether it is with my mom or my offspring.
It’s good to tell people you miss them, but it’s critical to cultivate relationships, within the family and within your community, to find ways to be less dependent and more socially self-sufficient. — Sandwiched
Dear Sandwiched: Thank you for sharing your experience. You are trying hard to stay in touch with family, and I’m sure your mom and your children appreciate it, even if they are too preoccupied to say so.
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