DEAR ABBY: I work as a runner in a law firm, which means I do pickups, make deliveries and do any other out-of-office tasks the lawyers or other staff need. Part of my job involves picking up lunch for the office.
Sometimes the office manager will give me cash from the firm account to pay, other times the lawyers give me money out of their pockets to cover it. Whenever I pick up and pay for these orders, the cashier/waiter is usually expecting a decent tip (especially when there are large orders). I am instructed to tip 10 percent -- no more.
Personally, I believe in being more generous because I know how poorly restaurant workers are paid. However, because the money is not mine, I must tip only what I am instructed to. Sometimes, depending on the order, this results in a very poor tip.
How can I let the cashier know that I would tip more if it were my money, but I can't because it's not? I know just saying "I would if I could" doesn't help them much. -- RUNNER IN THE SOUTH
DEAR RUNNER: Your bosses don't tip more than 10 percent because they are getting takeout, not table service. You should not feel embarrassed or apologize for them. If you are wise, you will say nothing, because to do otherwise will make it appear that you think your employers are cheap -- and word travels.