Doughnuts and Tipping, Vol. 16, Issue 42

Dear Etiquetteer:

Recently I told someone I was looking to share doughnuts made by [Insert Purveyor of Doughnuts Made with Bacon Here] with someone else and was yelled at - "Why are you planning eating that crap?!" - in a very condemning tone.  The person who spoke to me this way is very stressed and later explained about struggling to make healthy choices.  My question is how to supportively talk to this person about how being yelled at like that made me feel and to come up with a way for us to avoid this person's hot buttons.

Dear Doughnutted:

Everyone has their hot-button topics, and it's not always easy to know what they are until the hot button gets pressed. Reading your query, Etiquetteer was suddenly reminded of that line from the play Sexual Perversity in Chicago: "Men! They only want one thing . . . but it's never the same thing."

It sounds as though your friend at least attempted to apologize for that Sudden Outburst, but Etiquetteer doesn't really consider it enough under the circumstances. You could reopen the discussion by acknowledging how embarrassing it was to upset this person, since that wasn't your intention, and that it's probably best for you not to raise the issue of food in future conversations. This gives your friend another opening to apologize, after which you can say that you felt belittled and judged for making the choices you choose to make in your own life about Doughnuts Made with Bacon.

Etiquetteer must admit it was rather refreshing to read your query. Most differences between friends these days seem to be political rather than culinary.

Dear Etiquetteer:

I am clear that I do not need to tip my hairdresser annually because I tip her every time she cuts my hair.  I am also clear that I tip the cleaning crew 10% of my annual expense in cash to the leader of the crew on an annual basis.  The gray area for me is the people I see frequently, the swimming instructor, the personal trainer, the yoga teachers, the postmistress, whom I do not tip on a regular basis.  Because tipping professionals such as doctors, therapists, or dietitians may be considered an insult, I do not tip them.  Back to the trainers etc. what I am doing now is giving gift cards of moderate amounts.  What is your advice?

Dear Tipping:

You are correct that medical professionals are not tipped. But service personnel, like personal trainers who you employ regularly, are tipped annually (usually at Christmas or New Year's) in the same way that your domestic staff is. (Etiquetteer assumes that you are not tipping them after every training session.) Gift cards may be Perfectly Proper if they are to a business you already know they use regularly. But in professional relationships such as these, you can never go wrong with cash. Just be sure to put it in a nice envelope first.

Etiquetteer was surprised to see your inclusion of the postmistress in your list of service professionals. Etiquetteer was never aware that it was Perfectly Proper to tip the staff of the United States Postal Service. Read the Postal Service's official policy on their website.

Now let's get back to your hairdresser. You may not like hearing this, but it is, in fact, customary to tip one's hairdresser at Christmas or New Year's in the amount of one appointment. Yes, this is in addition to the $2-5 you tip at each appointment.