Friday 7 February 2020

Tips for Waiters

CAPE ARGUS - 1927, August 2
Tips are given and taken in this country as a matter of course, but there are rare occasions when tipping is not tolerated. It is an unwritten rule that waiters at public banquets are not supposed to hold the guests up at ransom. The rule recently has been flagrantly broken by waiters at big West End hotels. At several public dinners I have attended lately waiters have sidled up towards the end of the meal to suggest that their services should be “recognized.” The classic formula employed is “I hope you are satisfied, sir,” and if that does not produce a pocket to pals reward more direct methods are used.
“A London Visitor,” in a letter prominently displayed in the “Daily News” draws attention to this abuse. He relates an incident in which Lord Burnham this week, at an International Press banquet, formally requested his guests not to give any tips to the importunate waiters. At this, as well as at other banquets, adequate arrangements had been made to cover the usual gratuities to waiters, but these grasping gentlemen wanted additional “extras.”
“The incident,” says the “Daily News” correspondent, “raises in an acute form the question of tipping, an enduring bugbear to visitors to London. One tips without demur in the ordinary way when dining at a hotel, but it is new to me to be asked for a tip, as I have been on three occasions, by waiters in three different hotels at banquets similar to the one referred to. The question seems to need ventilating.”
Tipping is a long established evil which cannot, it seems, be abolished. A more recent social problem which is being tackled with more determination is the problem of the uninvited guest. The habit of “dropping in” to parties without an invitation has grown alarmingly, both in this country and America. Some of these intruders are brought by friends who have single cards of invitation, many are simply “crushers” without scruple, with well-cut clothes and sufficient social address to stage an entry into drawing-rooms where they can enjoy free hospitality and the pleasure of mixing with “the best people.” A few may be well dressed crooks with sinister designs on the expensive trifles that glitter in West End ballrooms. All these types of intruders have become so persistent that givers of parties are now insisting that tickets of invitation must be shown at the door. “Punch” goes further and suggests that each authorized guest should show his or her passport (with photograph) on demand. 
The “uninvited guest” problem has given the practical joker a new opportunity for developing his wretched mania. It is considered an excellent hoax by some misguided people to send out bogus invitations to social functions. The latest hoax of this sort was discovered just in time by the intended victim, the Hon. Evan Morgan, who was celebrating his 34th birthday by giving a party to 150 friends, including Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught, Augustus John, GK Chesterton, Alfred Noyes, the Sitwell brothers, Mlle. Spinelli, and Senorita de Alvarez.

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