Awkward Moments

Sometimes a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is best for family gatherings

Best regards,
Deb and Judith

Dear Deb and Judith,

Generally speaking, when you receive something for free at a restaurant, you should tip your servers as if you'd paid for it. (You don't tip chefs, nor do guests tip party staff -- hors d'oeuvre passers and so on.)

If you are unsure, in a situation like this, it's never improper to ask in advance whether tipping is expected -- indeed, sometimes you almost have to ask. The alternative (that is, being a lousy tipper) is just too unthinkable. So ask the auction organizers, or the person you collect your prize from, whether the waitstaff's gratuities are included in the prize package. I expect that they are (or that the servers are donating their time) -- but better to be safe than sorry.

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