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Ms. Magnolia

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Ms. Magnolia, My grandchildren work as restaurant servers to support themselves in college without loans. Last week I visited them and took them out to another restaurant in Statesboro.

As we were about to leave, they suggested that, since the tip is actually part of servers’income, I leave it on the table for our server in cash, rather than on the credit card. They explained that when a tip is left on a credit card, the server doesn’t get it immediately because the restaurant waits until the money clears the banks, and then servers get their tips, usually only once or twice a month. There’s no way for the server to keep track of the amount of each individual check, so they don’t know if they are getting the amount they should.

Some servers are only just now getting back to work, so I tip a little more generously than I used to and in cash. I want to make sure they get their money as soon as possible. However, I have heard that tipping is unusual in most European countries because the owners of restaurants there actually pay their workers a living wage. Can’t our restaurants start that here? Tipper

Dear Tipper, Any restaurant that changes our system will be very appreciated. Tipping is confusing to customers and employees. Restaurant staff should be hired and trained well, and paid a regular salary just like other workers in service professions so that they do not have to rely on tips. Our system is unfair to workers and to customers.

If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to

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