Dear Carson: While recently visiting New York City, I found that many restaurants now have a blank on the check for a waiter's tip and another blank for a captain's tip. In some cases, the waiter and captain both served my table. In other cases, the captain did little more than make an appearance. What is appropriate? -- Double Tipping
Dear Double: I am sick to death of tipping problems and am as unsure as you are how to deal with this annoying situation. I would leave one tip of 20 percent and leave it up to them to sort it out. They may not like it, but having to mete out a lot of tips puts the customer to so much trouble that it takes away from the pleasure of dining out.
Dear Carson: Please tell me the proper way to address the inner envelopes of a wedding invitation. If the outer envelope is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, should the inner envelope simply be addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Smith? What if they are relatives or close friends? Do you address the inner envelope to Uncle John and Aunt Jane or Mr. and Mrs. Smith?
As a parent, do I address the inner envelope to my parents as Mother and Daddy or Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Thank you. -- Formal, But Not Unfriendly
Dear Formal: The proper form of address for the inner envelope is "Mr. and Mrs. Smith". However, if you feel ridiculous addressing your parents, aunt and uncle in this way and would rather signify this on the inner envelope, by all means do. They surely will not be offended and probably will be amused and pleased.
Dear Carson: I will graduate from high school in late May. I have not yet sent my invitations, but several acquaintances have invited themselves to my graduation. These people were friends years ago, but I chose not to keep in touch with them when I moved away.
My home cannot accommodate all these people. Also, there is a major event in my city that weekend, and there isn't a vacant hotel room within 100 miles. Is there is a polite way I can suggest that these people not attend? -- Stressing in North Carolina
Dear Stressing: Just write them what you wrote to me, thank them for their interest and support and suggest that you all plan to get together sometime in the future.
Ask Carson a question of etiquette. Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O.Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send e-mail to email@example.com or call INFOLINE at 442-4444 and press 4422. Carson's Web site is at www.theproperthing.com.