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Mr Alice:

XXXXX Should I leave a tip when I eat at a restaurant and am served by the proprietor XXXX or his wife? I can see tipping a waitress who works for the owner of the restaurant, but the proprietor is already XXX making money off my buying his food. Please excuse poor XXX typing.

-- XXXX Tipsy in San Diego

Friends don't let friends type drunk. Or tip the proprietor. Once again we are mistaken for Miss Manners. But what the hey.... We ran this one past Grandma Alice, the only one in the family who doesn't talk with her mouth full and wipe her nose on her sleeve. We haven't taken her out for dinner in about 30 years, so she had to fall back on the rules for beauty salons, where she goes once a week to have her hair repoofed. According to the etiquette nazis, you won't be considered rude if you don't tip the owner, she sez. But if the establishment pools tips and divides the loot among all the busfolks and waitbeings, then you should leave something for them. Of course, a mom-and-pop restaurant is one of the riskiest, most stressful businesses a person can be in, so maybe you should leave a tip to help offset the cost of the owners' massage therapy and psychiatric counseling. But the way things are going these days, your mom-and-pop eatery might actually be a division of Time-Warner or some international cartel based in Zurich, in which case, I wouldn't tip.

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