I feel like every time I turn around, somebody is expecting a tip, just for doing his or her job, like putting my take-out food into a bag, or pumping gas into my car. Most recently, I ordered a take-out meal from a place that offers curbside pickup. When the meal was brought to our car, the employee stood there, waiting for a tip. Really? Isn’t that his job? Why should I tip him?

As new services are created, the question arises as to whether they utilize workers who should be tipped. Curbside delivery is a fairly new service, with the server sparing you having to get out of your car, offload your children, or race through raindrops to go inside and pick up your order. Therefore, it’s an extra service for you, and really does qualify as a time to tip. Current practice is $1 to $2 for delivery right to your car.

My new job is going to involve my receiving invitations to lunch from business contacts and I need to make a great impression. I understand that I am their guest so won’t grab the check, but what are things I should do?

Some of the things you should do are basic – arrive on time, chew with your mouth closed, don’t talk when you have food in your mouth, and thank your host at the end of the meal, and then again via a handwritten note or follow-up email. In addition, don’t drink, or limit yourself to one drink if your host suggests it, wait for your host to begin eating, or suggest that you do, before lifting your fork, and wait for your host to bring up business matters. Last, put your cell phone away.

My husband and I are having an ongoing discussion about whether it is necessary to send handwritten thank-you notes to relatives who have given our children a gift, when it is given in person, the child has said thank you upon opening it, and we have thanked the gift-giver, as well. What’s the guideline on this?

When a sincere thank-you is expressed at the time the gift is given, an additional written thank you is not required nor should it be expected. A follow-up note is never wrong, but it isn’t necessary. Having children who are old enough write a note is a great way to teach them about the importance of saying thank you, but again, if they have said thank you at the time, they already know this lesson. When a gift is mailed so that an in-person thank you can’t be expressed, a note should definitely be sent both to let the sender know it was received and to thank him or her for the present, although, when it is family or a close friend sending the gift, you instead could initiate a Facetime or Skype call so your child can say thank you “in person,” if your child is willing.

Questions for Catherine? Send them to catherine.michaels@gmail.com