I love Miss Manners, not just because she is wry and witty, but because she is committed to a wall of separation between etiquette and state:
Rudeness is not illegal, nor should it be, even though it would save Miss Manners a great deal of trouble to be able to back up her persuasive powers with police action. The law has quite enough to do without nosing into every case of petty irritation.
But her comments on tipping from this same column left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, as a former waitress, I appreciate the incentive to good service that my tips offered me. The best of the waitstaff did deservedly make more money than average thanks to their tips. And I suspect that it would be difficult for management to monitor customer service in a restaurant (and certain other professions) without intruding upon the privacy of the customers. On the other hand, I despise the proliferation of tip jars and the expectation of tips for minor niceties of customer service. So tipping does seem appropriate in certain limited professions.
Pondering for a moment, Miss Manners may well have a point that the proliferation of tips as a method of paying employees is attributable to their being largely unreported income. But the solution to that problem is to lessen our absurd tax burden, not to allow the IRS to extrapolate what tips employees likely received.