DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I stay at a bed-and-breakfast inn, the price is exorbitant -- $250 a night. I feel we should not have to leave a tip. They are well paid. My husband says we are obligated to leave a tip, despite the price of the stay. Is that true?
Also, is it rude not to tip the owner of a hair salon when she is your hairdresser and charges a lot, too? -- ''B'' IN TERRYVILLE, CONN.
DEAR ''B'': According to Letitia Baldrige, some owners of beauty salons charge more for their services than the hairdressers they employ. Because of that, not all of them expect (or accept) tips from their clients. However, the best way to determine how your hairdresser feels about the practice of tipping would be to come right out and ask her.
People who run bed-and-breakfast establishments usually employ a cleaning staff and pay the going rate -- which is minimum wage. Therefore, your husband is correct. The considerate thing to do is to leave a few dollars on your pillow as a gratuity for the chambermaid.
DEAR ABBY: My father passed away last June. My dear mother died in 1965, when I was at the tender age of 10. My father remarried after I graduated from high school; he was 63 and my stepmother was 38. I am the youngest of the four children from my mother. The only thing we have now are our memories.
I am writing because my stepmother had her name placed on the headstone that is inscribed with my mother's and father's names. She had my father placed to the left of the headstone so she would be buried between my mother and him! Our family is outraged over this. We feel it is inappropriate.
There are plots on each side and behind, yet she made them move my father over. I can understand her wanting to be buried next to him, but I feel it is extremely poor taste to add her name to my parents' headstone. What do you think about this, and should we say something to her? -- OUTRAGED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR OUTRAGED: You can certainly say something to your stepmother, but I doubt that anything you can say will ''move'' her. If she was concerned about the feelings of her husband's children, she'd have selected a plot on the side opposite your mother and left him in the middle.
DEAR ABBY: I read the complimentary letter from Karl Southward to the head of sanitation for the city of Dallas. Why would you want to FILE a letter such as that? My suggestion would be to FRAME THAT LETTER and display it on a wall the majority of workers pass, so they can continually be reminded that a compliment was passed on to them.
I might even go a step further and photocopy the letter and insert it with each employee's paycheck, adding a note saying, ''Good job, everyone.'' You'd be amazed how the morale of the employees would pick up.
I personally send complimentary letters. It's part of my daily ''Practice Random Acts of Kindness'' mission. Kudos to Karl Southward from Nemo, Texas, for his random act of kindness. -- ANITA PARKS, LIVERPOOL, N.Y.
DEAR ANITA: Your suggestions are terrific, and I'm sure they would be powerful motivators. As someone who believes firmly in the ''Random Acts of Kindness'' mission, I salute both Karl Southward and YOU as well!
DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of three elementary school-aged children. Every few years, my husband is awarded a trip by his company that he can take me on. The trip this year is one week during the school year.
I have decided I will not go, since the only way I would be able to go is to separate my children out to friends or neighbors. We have no grandparents or family members who are able to watch them for one week at our home. My friends and family can't believe this is the choice I made.
Abby, my children are my first priority. It is unfair in my mind to ask friends or family to shoulder the responsibility that I have chosen and am proud to do -- driving my children to school, homework, etc. -- just so I can have a week of ''playtime.''
I keep hearing ''hire a sitter'' -- even from my own mother-in-law! Why would I hire someone I do not know to come into my home for a week to watch my most treasured possessions? In this age of so many troubled children whose parents put themselves first, I feel as though I am the only mother left in this country who takes her responsibilities seriously. Your thoughts, please. -- STAY-AT-HOME MOM WHO MEANS IT, ROSWELL, GA.
DEAR MOM: While I admire your idealism, being a responsible mother isn't a case of black-and-white -- it's a matter of degree.
Your mother-in-law is trying to tell you something important. Don't lull yourself into thinking your entire responsibility is to your children; it's more far-reaching than that. Your husband should come first and your children a close second. In the next 20 years, if you, as parents, have done your job well, the children will ''fly the nest'' and you'll be left with each other. Therefore, it is vital that you invest in that relationship.
Perhaps a good friend would stay with your children in your absence, or take them all in for a week. You could repay her in kind at a later date. If not, perhaps your clergyperson could recommend a trustworthy and experienced sitter.
Your husband has been awarded a trip in recognition of his effort -- and you belong with him, helping him to enjoy every minute of it.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old high school senior. I have always been the math and science type, taking every class possible.
I joined a chemistry class this year that meets outside the classroom. The teacher is a very friendly guy, a little obsessed with our work, but nothing serious.
The problem is, I have become attracted to his 15-year-old daughter, and I believe she feels the same about me. We have a lot in common. So far, we have spent little time together outside of school, but we talk on the phone for hours.
Her father, my teacher, is oblivious to all of this, and may be an obstacle, but I can deal with that.
Since I am a senior and she is a freshman, I am wondering whether I should pursue the relationship. I have spent countless hours debating the issue, but it seems trivial when I think of her. What do you think? -- CRAZY FOR A FRESHMAN
DEAR CRAZY: You may be a whiz in math and science, but you're obviously only a B-minus in biology and psychology. Make it a priority to ask your teacher's permission to see his daughter. If you are caught ''sneaking around,'' it will look like you have something to hide, and he might not be so ''friendly'' when it comes to giving you a passing grade.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's ''Keepers,'' P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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