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by Abigail Van Buren

Waitress Snubs Regular Customer Outside of Restaurant

DEAR ABBY: I'm a man living in a small town, and I frequent a local cafe for breakfast. The waitress who serves me each morning, "Rita," does a terrific job, and all of my needs are met. In turn, I leave her a generous tip.

Abby, despite exchanging small talk during coffee refills, Rita snubs me when our paths cross outside the diner. She will look directly at me, turn her head and offer no greeting.

I'm not seeking a relationship with her. In the cafe, I always sit alone and enjoy reading my newspaper while I eat my breakfast and drink my coffee. It just bothers me that she won't offer a simple, civil greeting outside the diner. Would I be justified in reducing the amount of the tip because of her behavior? -- PUZZLED PATRON IN INDIANA

DEAR PATRON: Have you tried speaking up and saying hello to her? I don't know Rita. She may be unfriendly or prefer to draw a firm line between her professional life and her personal one. You stated that you tip her generously because of the terrific service she gives you. If that's true, I don't think she should be punished for keeping her distance when she's not at the restaurant.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics