Open Thread

by epi on February 27, 2012

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley February 27, 2012 at 12:33 am

I am asking someone to fill out a reference form for me for a possible job opportunity. Is it rude to ask that person to let me know when they send it in? Last time, the reference I asked never sent it in and I did not know this until it was very late in the game. I just worry that could happen again.

If so, how should I phrase the request so I do not sound pushy or demanding?

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Zakafury February 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

I think it will sound pushy to ask for notification of when the reference form is sent. Ideally, you would have references who are at least as reliable as you are. You can, of course, include a deadline with your request (The company needs them back by March 7 to decide on interviews.)

If this is the same person who failed to fill out the form last time, you could call a day or two before your interview and offer to hand deliver it – have them seal it and sign the envelope.

When I was applying for teaching jobs everyone wanted three letters of reference, so I had many signed and sealed copies from each of my references, which I sent along with my other materials. If a form is strictly required, you can usually get away with attaching a letter in place of the narrative portions. In that case, you might be able to make an appointment to have your referrer fill out the form and hand it right back to you to mail in.

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Grace February 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Hi, I have a question that has been puzzling me about my upcoming wedding in June. I bought a dress of the rack and asked one of my friendly acquaintances (a previous business associate) who does lots of clothing and design work if she might help me with adding some details onto the dress. She happily accepted and I asked her to please invoice me an estimate for her time. She has kindly refused any sort of payment during the entire process which is very, very sweet of her and I plan to give her a gift basket of some things that she likes afterward. My question is, should I invite her to the wedding as well? I don’t want to appear rude by not inviting her, but I also don’t want to make her feel obligated to attend by inviting her–and even worse, to get me a gift, which would of COURSE not be necessary! If she were not doing the work for me, I probably would not invite her as we are not close friends. I don’t want to misstep as she is doing me such a generous favor. Thanks for your help. -Grace.

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Country Girl February 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Etiquette can’t really dictate whether or not you should invite this acquaintance. Unless you have already gushed on and on about the day or somehow made her to feel as though she would be invited (in which case it would be rude not to invite her), it is more a matter of whether or not you would like her to be there. If you choose yes, then send her an invitation along with perhaps a thank you for her “wedding gift” of helping with the dress so she knows she is under no further obligation. If you choose no, then the gift basket sounds like a lovely way to thank her for her help.

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CC February 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I always think it’s best to address this upfront to avoid any future awkwardness or hurt feelings.

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Grace February 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I’m not sure what you mean.

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Country Girl February 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

If Grace had already made the decision to invite this acquaintance, it would have been fine to address her upfront with the wedding details and a friendly “hope you can make it”.

However, if she had already chosen not to invite or (as is the case here) was unsure, it would actually cause much more awkwardness and hurt feelings to address it upfront. It is by no means polite to bring up to someone the fact that they are not invited to your wedding. Especially hurtful since this person never asked to be invited and is helping with the dress of her own good will regardless of receiving an invitation.

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Juice February 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm

This is kind of a specific question, but here goes:
I have a close friend who is sort of a bad tipper. Not a terrible tipper, but for some odd reason, she feels *very* strongly that the wait staff should only be tipped 15%.
Once, her, myself, and another girl went out to eat. The other girl and I had each put down our shares of the bill and generous (30%) tips. My poor tipping friend counted what was down so far, added her share, and I did a final count. She had only tipped enough so the tip for the entire group came to 15% percent. I couldn’t think of a polite way to subtly bring this up with my other friend and I didn’t have any more cash so that was that. This incident was particularly embarrassing because we were at a fine dining establishment using a Restaurant Week promotion.
On another occasion, she owed me a dinner and because we ended up at a nominally more expensive place then she owed, I offered to cover the tip. The bill came to $20 and I put down $5 for the tip. She put down $18.
These are just examples, but not the only ones.
She’s a nice polite girl apart from the tipping thing, and I suppose she is entitled to tip as poorly as she wants, and I know it’s rude to criticize people about their tipping because it amounts to calling them cheap, but her strong feelings about tipping are negating my nice tips and that bothers me.
What is the best was to handle this the next time it comes up?

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Country Girl February 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I’m glad to hear that you are one who values good service. Now that you are aware that this friend isn’t a generous tipper, (besides bringing extra cash) there are a couple things you can do to prepare.

1) (Your best bet) Get separate checks. This way she can tip what she wants, you can tip what you want. No messiness.

2) (If separate checks aren’t possible) Have her put in her share first, before revealing or deciding how much you will be tipping. In the instance that she pays for the meal and you will be covering the tip, wait until she has paid for the bill before placing the tip on the table or in the card sleeve. If you are paying jointly and you see that she hasn’t tipped an amount that you feel is worthy, at that point you will know and can compensate with your own tip if you choose.

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Elizabeth February 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with Country Girl’s advice. I think your friend is being rude. Everyone is entitled, I suppose, to their opinions, and if she tips 15% she’s certainly within the bounds of proper behavior. What ISN’T OK is that she’s forcing her philosophy on you. If you choose to tip 20% or 30% that’s your business – it doesn’t entitle her to pay less so as to achieve 15% overall. If I were you, I would assert myself a bit more. Just say, “Actually, Beth, if you want to tip 15%, then your portion is $3 on this bill. I’m intending to tip more than 15% on my portion.”

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Zakafury February 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

I think it’s worth mentioning that discounts during restaurant week do not apply to the waitstaff. Tipping 15% on a discounted meals is really unfair to those who work on tips. I would usually try to pay last and avoid giving such a person the chance to reduce her tip contribution, but I would make a point to get an adequate tip on a meal promotion or groupon, etc.

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Jerry February 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm

All of the advice here is good on how to deal with your friend. But fifteen percent is the proper amount for standard service, twenty percent for excellent service.

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