DEAR ABBY: My wife and I go out for lunch quite often. Our check is typically about $15, to which I customarily add a 15 percent tip.
My problem is the food servers who ask if I want my change back. This puts me in an awkward situation because it appears that the server is expecting a $5 tip, which in my opinion is too much for a $15 check.
Abby, this happens all the time, and it's getting me steamed. I think it's totally improper for a food server to ask for a tip, and to specify the amount.
How would you handle a situation like this? -- STEAMED IN BOSTON
DEAR STEAMED: I would tell the server that, yes, I wanted my change. Then I'd leave a 15 or 20 percent tip, depending on the service I'd received. Although in the past, servers have written to tell me that the question is asked to save a trip back to the table, I consider it to be presumptuous. Servers should courteously return change to the customer as a matter of course.