laplumeDear L. A. Plume,
I’m fond of going out and listening to all the wonderful music we have around Beaufort, and I’ve noticed that the musicians all have tip jars. What is the protocol for tipping them? Aren’t they paid by the establishments where they play? How much of a tip is appropriate?


Dear Betsey,
Sometimes they are paid, sometimes they aren’t. Waiters are paid but you still tip them, and you should tip the musicians if you enjoy their music, and especially if you request a song. Five dollars would be an appropriate tip, but if you can’t afford that, then anything less will do. Just to show your appreciation, add an extra dollar or two for each request you make. If you hire musicians to play for a private party, a tip of $15 – $25 per musician is standard.
L. A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,
My dear friend went shopping and came back with a linen outfit that looks remarkably like a pair of pajamas. She asked me if I thought she looked like she was wearing pajamas, and I said no. Should I have told her the truth?

Dear Jane,
I really don’t have enough information here. Is she planning to wear this outfit to a formal event? Linen often looks like pajamas; that’s why we like it – it feels like pajamas. I’m all about pajamas; I wish I had an entire closet full of pajama outfits that I could wear out. I would actually like to design a clothing line that feels like pajamas because, if I could, I would wear mine all day; and sometimes do. So if she’s happy and feels good in her outfit, you were right to say nothing.
L. A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,
I’m planning to visit some friends who have a full time maid. If I want her to do up my room, can I ask her to do it for me, and should I tip her?

Dear Curious,
I think you would have to ask your hostess. It would never occur to me to ask someone’s maid to do something for me and offer a tip; she is employed by your hostess and that’s who should be giving her her instructions.
L. A. Plume

Dear L. A. Plume,
My neighbor gave me a gift of place mats for a dinner party I am planning. They are really unfortunate looking and I would never put them on my table, much less at a dinner party. How can I tell her I don’t want to use them, or don’t want them at all?

Dear Cornered,
Do you care if she ever speaks to you again? More importantly, do you care if she ever gives you another gift? If they are truly terrible just tell her they didn’t go with the tablescape you had planned and hope she understands. If you can possibly use them and put lots of dishes and things on top of them, so much the better. At the beginning of the meal, offer a toast and thank her for the gift of the place mats so your other guests don’t think you chose them yourself. Make sure you serve a delicious dinner and lots and lots of wine and no one will care about, or remember, the place mats.
L. A. Plume


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