The Saturday miscellany: Not tipping; rain is good; how to jump the queue


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The digested fad: Not tipping

Has ever there been a practice so freighted with social awkwardness as tipping in America? Leave too little in a US restaurant and you risk having a waiter running after you. Fair enough, given that employers there are only obliged to pay waiters $2.13 (£1.37) an hour. But anti-tipping activists say it encourages discrimination.

Now one New York restaurant has banned tipping and instead will – shocker – pay waiters a proper wage, with benefits. And others seem to be following suit.

Though until the new practice fully takes hold, it may be better to do the sums and leave a tip – unless you fancy being “accompanied” to your car by that irate maître d’.

Samuel Muston

A brief opinion I hold

By John Rentoul

Is it raining? No? What a shame. Rain is good. It is what makes this country so green and so delightful to live in.

More than that, it is what made this country great. It was the rain that grew the trees that armed our longbowmen and built our ships; it was the rain that watered our crops; and it was the rain that made us gloomy and studious and thereby gave us our particular religion and the rise of capitalism.

Sunshine can be quite pleasant, too, and it is one of the joys of British weather that we have quite a lot of that too.

But what puzzles me is why, when blessed with such temperate changeability, most people in this country impute moral qualities to different kinds of weather: sun, good;  rain, bad. We should celebrate both.

John Rentoul is chief political commentator  for the Independent  on Sunday

Instant ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. I think my sister is getting too fat. How can I let her know without getting a slap?

A. Too fat for your personal preference? Or too fat to ride Nemesis at Alton Towers? If it’s the former, your thoughts are irrelevant. If it’s the latter, it’s having a serious impact on her life, so tell her as kindly as possible, then accept the slap that’s your due.  

@MsEllen E Jones

Tweet your problem to @MsEllenEJones

How to: Jump the  queue

By Liam O'Brien

Sometimes you just have to jump the queue. We all have our reasons: some perfectly valid, others completely outrageous. Here are three methods to try.

* The “crying child” is a classic. No-one wants to stand near a bawling infant. Provoke your accomplice to tears  by waving a chocolate bar in front of them, only to snatch it back. Tell the person in front of you: “I’m so sorry, let me get her/him out of your way.”

* Why not go for the “continental crush”? This relies on the rudeness of your fellow queuers: not a problem in France or Spain, a bit more of a struggle over here. Push and shove everyone else to incite a free-for-all. Warning: can result in a longer, not shorter, wait.

* The open wallet approach can work wonders. Airlines  have already taken advantage of our hatred of queuing  with their speedy boarding nonsense. Likewise, your average nightclub doorman isn’t going to turn down £20 to get you to the front of the line.