Millionaire son who never pays calls his father cheap

Published 8:41 am Monday, May 6, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: When we are out as a family, my 30-year-old, millionaire son never pays for anything. He eats more than any of us and never reaches for his wallet, not even to help with the tip. This has been going on for years, and my wife always defends him. I have given up trying to fix it. 

I’m writing because my son never fails to criticize the amount of the tip I do leave. I generally leave something in the 15% to 18% range, which he finds offensive. He works in the hospitality industry and insists that 20% is minimum. When I invite him to supplement the tip, he says, “If you don’t want to tip appropriately, you shouldn’t go out to eat.” 

I am a retired teacher. The idea of tipping a waiter $45 for carrying plates for 10 minutes seems ludicrous to me. He says the tips are shared by the whole staff, and they are how they feed their families. 

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I would love to hear your thoughts, because I’ve reached the point where I no longer want to go out with the family again. Last time, the bill was $150, to which I added a $28 tip, only to be humiliated and told I was a cheapskate who should be ashamed of myself. – FAIR DAD IN TEXAS


DEAR DAD: The rules of tipping have changed in recent years. What used to be considered adequate in the 15% to 18% range is no longer the norm. Twenty percent or more is standard now. However, for your millionaire son to criticize you about the size of the tip you are leaving (while refusing to supplement it) is beyond rude. He’s biting the hand that just fed him, and you AND your wife should point it out.


DEAR ABBY: I am a single woman who has been dating the same guy for 13 years. Before that, I was married for 35 years. I have NEVER cheated on anyone I have been with. Many of my friends’ male friends (married and single) have hit on me. Maybe it’s because most people don’t see my boyfriend and me out and about. When they hit on me, I tell them I’ll tell their wife or girlfriend. I have a straightforward personality, so most of the guys won’t go further than that. 

The husband in a couple I know builds decks. I hired him to build one for me. I always held him in high regard for his relationship with his wife and how he treated me as a woman and a friend. He was a rare true gentleman. Then, one day while he was here building my deck, he hit on me. I flat-out told him no way, and that I respected his wife and marriage more than he did. Needless to say, I was heartbroken and disappointed. 

Abby, he hasn’t completed work I have paid for, and I really want to defend myself to his wife. Shouldn’t she be thanking me instead of hating me? How do I handle this? – CRYING OVER IT IN ILLINOIS


DEAR CRYING: Handle this by finding someone else to complete your deck project. Take him to small-claims court to have your money refunded — or go to Judge Judy and let her eviscerate the presumptuous scoundrel.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)