Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Courtesy Explanation Enough When 'Breaking Up' With Professionals

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When tipping in cash at restaurants, I have a habit of handing the cash to the waiter or waitress who is serving us after our bill is settled. I have a fear of someone stealing the cash if we leave it on the table, especially if the restaurant is busy. Is this proper etiquette, or should I do this a different way?

GENTLE READER: There is no strict rule to this, as long as you can do it without making a show of it, embarrassing the staff or looking like an illegal trade is being made. If you are unable to manage that, Miss Manners recommends folding it in the leather bill holder or hiding it under a saltshaker.