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by Abigail Van Buren

Is It Better To Leave Restaurant Tips in Cash or on Credit Card?

DEAR ABBY: My grandchildren work as restaurant servers. When I took them to lunch the other day, they said if I was going to pay by credit card, I should leave the tip for the server in cash. (They offered to pay the kid, but it was my treat, so I said I would leave it.)

They then explained that when a tip is left on the card, the server doesn't get it immediately because the restaurant waits until it clears and then they get paid. Generally, the business gets around to doing it only once or twice a month. Also, on the receipt, you check off 15%, 18% or 20% of the bill. There's no way for the server to keep track of the amount of each individual check. They don't know if they are getting all of what's coming to them or if the owner is pocketing some of the money.

Servers are only just now getting back to work, so I tip a little more generously than I used to. I want to make sure they get their money now. -- CASH IS BETTER

DEAR CASH: I agree that cash on the barrel is probably the best way to ensure the server gets every bit of what's intended from the client. That an employer would help themself to money intended for an employee is shameful -- and yet I have heard that it happens to parking attendants, too.

My late husband worked as a parking attendant in his youth, and he told me his employer actually had the pockets of their uniforms sewn shut and confiscated their tips. It's why he always asked parking attendants if they were allowed to keep the tips. A word to the wise.

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