From the week of March 22, 2001

Here are a few examples of when it's appropriate to tip much less than 15 percent:

The disappearing server. Now you see him, now you don't.

The forgetful server. I know you're all very busy, but should I have to ask three times for a glass of wine, a loaf of bread or thou?

The ignorant server. "Specials? Uh, yes, I think we have some. Just a minute, I'll go check."

The leering server. Do you really think that kissing my date's hand up to her armpit or trying to see just how well her Wonderbra works is going to improve your tip?

The condescending (or snobbish) server. If providing me with good service is beneath you, think what an insult accepting money from me would be.

The rude server. Repeat after me: "I want to speak to the manager."

These examples, culled from my personal experience, are the exception. The Valley is full of excellent restaurants staffed by courteous, hardworking, competent food servers who go "above and beyond" every day to ensure that you and I have a pleasurable dining experience.

Bad tippers do exist, but so does bad service. And the tip is still the most appropriate and direct way of rewarding excellence and responding to mediocrity (or worse). So the next time I walk in wearing my "Members Only" jacket, ask how much the specials cost and order the dressing on the side, don't make a bad tipper an excuse for bad service.

Joe Carter

Wah-wah peddle: While I agree with Cherie Randall's comments regarding "Tipper Score" (Letters, March 15), particularly about the poor attitude wait staffers have toward female customers, I disagree with her assertion that it is appropriate to diminish a tip "if I order a beverage and it never occurs to you to bring a glass of water also." Growing up here in the '70s, I seem to recall a public effort to dissuade restaurants from serving water unless it was specifically requested. Of course, that was before the Valley was turned into the Land of 1,000 Mini-Lakes (or is it actually 12,000?). Now, I suppose such a practice seems merely quaint.

Linda Wilson

Mute Point

Penalty box: The Arizona Attorney General's Office is reluctant to talk about the death penalty issues because it has been caught in covering up sloppy investigative work that was done with the county prosecutors at the time of the original trial ("Janet Clams Up," Amy Silverman, March 15). Rather than debate the issue on all fronts, the office only accepts interviews that will articulate its best performances in cases in which the county and the state have acted responsibly and professionally.

Just like the capital murder case mentioned in your article, the state is reluctant to discuss the Debra Milke case and the impropriety of police investigative work. Milke's case highlights a confession that Milke never made to a police officer who was reprimanded for developing false testimony.

Pat Roach
Janis Griffin

via Internet

Speak for Yourself

In other words: No doubt when the author of the letter headed "Source Spot" ( Letters, March 8) reread what she had written, it became obvious to her that her point was misplaced. The example she cited showed the government not attacking free speech, but defending our right to free speech. The enemy of free speech is normally not the government, it's the people; in this instance, a number of home owners who were involved or thought they could be involved in losses caused by the alleged arsonists.

If you look back through our legendary history, the examples that spring to mind are typified by that of the U.S. Marshal trying to bring law and order to a situation taken over by a local lynch mob, or, as happened in this case, a ruling by a judge that preserved the freedom of the press against strong-minded people who thought that this freedom should be curtailed when curtailment would seem to benefit them.

The inflamed passions of people who are too close to a situation to treat it rationally, the stirred-up and mad-as-hell mob, are the true danger to our freedoms -- seldom the courts that represent the government.

Another enemy of justice is local morality. If "God has spoken" to the people, or if one person has convinced others that God had spoken, then what is interpreted to be God's will is fully justified, regardless of what it is, and a small band will feel itself doing "God's work" in wreaking all kinds of blessed vengeance.

The distance that the courts place between the act and the people directly involved is an essential protection for the innocent. You would not want to live in a country ruled by your self-righteous and raging peers without the intervention of the government.

Of course there are exceptions, since nothing is perfect, but I would much prefer living with only the exceptions than living under mob rule. Certainly if we can get ourselves upset about a fictitious malevolent government, then we can also get ourselves upset enough to examine these exceptions and take the actions needed to reduce their numbers.

Ted M. Hopes
via Internet

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