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Oh Lord. This is the part I hate. The tip.

Lessee. Ten percent, add half again…

“How much?” says Carla. This is the night when we had that blowout at French Gourmet (960 Turquoise Street, PB, 858-488-1725) with Carla’s buddies Linda and Eva. Dutch. (Actually Eva’s Dutch-Canadian, but I mean we were going Dutch.)

For Carla and me it cost eighty-five buckeroos.

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Part of what $85 buys

I’m sure it was a deal, but still a sting at the end of the tail for a born and raised Scrooge like me.

So I’m trying to go “Ten percent is $8.5, plus half of that again…d’agh, $4.25, eight and four is twelve…"

Hate having to do this mental gymnastics just at the end when you’ve got all slow and sentimental and, face it, sleepy.

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In among the wine barrels (okay it's a mural)

“Just jack it up to a hundred,” says Carla. “Then fifteen percent is, duh, fifteen. See, not rocket science…”

“But don't you realize?” I say. “How totally unfair this all is? If we’d eaten at the OB Townhouse like I suggested, it would’ve cost like twenty bucks for two of us, maybe thirty with your bacon sides and all, and I would’ve tipped the waitress $5 max. Here Jean-Pierre, whatever, is gonna get fifteen, twenty buckeroos for making exactly the same effort. Where’s the justice in that?”

“Plus,” says Carla, “you know what ‘tips’ stands for, ‘To Insure Prompt Service,’ right, so you should tip at the beginning, to insure prompt service. Right?”

“I thought it was ‘To Improve Performance,’ says Eva.

“I thought it was ‘To Inspire Promptness,’” says Linda.

“Just remember,” Carla says. “Owners usually count tips in as salary, so they pay low for positions like these. Edward, just put that Jackson down and leave it there.”

Sigh. Now it’s twenty percent?

“Hey,” I say. “I know what it stands for: ‘To Impoverish Patsies.’

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