I went to a concert last night at [Insert Name of Popular New England Concert Hall Here] and tipped my usherette $2. She seemed very surprised. Is tipping ushers/usherettes at concerts or at the opera still appropriate? Thank you.Dear Tippety Tip Tip:Etiquetteer believes the custom of tipping an usher for showing one to one’s seat did not cross the Atlantic from Europe to the New World. While Etiquetteer has never known this to take place in the United States, reference has been made to it on the “other side,” particularly Paris. Etiquetteer’s beloved Cornelia Otis Skinner writes about the “harpies” or “vultures” she had to tip at the Comédie Française during the 1920s in her delicious memoir Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. (While for decades ushering in the United States was a profession only for men, in France it seems to have fallen exclusively into the province of women.) And in the 1936 film version of Camille, sharp-eyed viewers will notice the resigned shrug of the lady usher when handed an inadequate tip by the Baron de Varville. So if you’re left of the Atlantic, by all means tip your attendant. And if on the right, keep your two dollars handy for the coat check.Lawsuits related to tipping have made the news quite a bit in 2008 already. Starbucks lost a class-action lawsuit by baristas who had to share their tips with shift supervisors. American Airlines lost another class-action lawsuit brought by skycaps who were deprived of significant income when the airline began charging $2.00 to check a bag curbside, but didn’t explain that it wasn’t a tip. Unfortunately for the skycaps, American Airlines has now posted signs at Logan Airport, Boston, that tipping is prohibited.Etiquetteer deplores tipping anyway, but is disgusted by management “skimming” tips from employees who are often underpaid. As long as tipping has to be part of the American economy, it might at least be transacted honestly. And related to that, Etiquetteer was surprised to hear from waiters and waitresses how often they have to claim tips given on credit cards, and how often tips are “pooled:” shared equally among all waiters and waitresses on a shift, whether they’re any good or not. If you want to be sure that a superior waiter or waitress is completely tipped, please tip in cash.