Dear Annie: You frequently write about tipping, but I've never seen a column about housekeepers, which is one of the hardest jobs, in my opinion. I am 67 years old and have been employed for four years at minimum wage.
We clean up to 20 rooms a day. For example, today I cleaned 16 rooms and received one $3 tip, which I appreciated. If guests left even a dollar or two, it would be great. Please address this issue. -- Working Hard for the Money
Dear Working Hard for the Money: I'm printing your letter as a reminder to anyone staying at a hotel to leave a tip for the housekeeper. From what I gather, $2 per night is standard. And based on what I've heard from other hotel housekeepers who have written to me, it's best to leave the tip each night rather than just at the end of a stay, because housekeepers rotate shifts.
Dear Annie: I once befriended a neighbor I had met on trips that were organized by my town's Parks and Recreation Department. She and her husband were both elderly, and they had no children. As she aged, our friendship grew, especially after her husband died, and we spent pleasant times together over tea. I'd take her on her errands.
Once or twice when I stopped by, her nieces were there. Word got back to me that these nieces thought I was trying to get into my friend's good graces so that she'd remember me in her will, which certainly wasn't true. I never wanted more from my friend than a cup of tea and a belly laugh, which I always got. These were people who, she told me, could not even trouble to phone her every day to make sure she was still in the land of the living.
When she was in her 90s, her nieces persuaded her to come and live in their attic. They sold her home and took her away. They would never give her my messages, and I never heard from her again. I can only imagine what she must have thought. I realize that there are people out there who take advantage of the elderly, but I wasn't one of them. I know that I am not the only person who experienced this, nor will I be the last. How can we protect our own reputations, as well as our friendships? -- Lisa in Newtown, Conn.
Dear Lisa in Newtown: I'm sorry your friend's relatives did that. But take solace in two facts. First, your friend knew you; her nieces didn't. And you knew your friend well -- probably a lot better than her relatives ever bothered to get to know her. Trust that she was wise enough to see through their charade. And in the future, should you find yourself in a similar situation, there's nothing wrong with coming right out and assuring a friend that all you want is a cup of tea and a belly laugh. That's sweet.
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