Q: We are having a holiday dinner at a private club where we are not members. How do I handle tips and paying our share of the meal? A: Private clubs present...

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Q: We are having a holiday dinner at a private club where we are not members. How do I handle tips and paying our share of the meal?

A: Private clubs present their own set of etiquette rules. There are four basic kinds of clubs: eating-only clubs, sports and eating clubs, business-oriented clubs and social clubs.

Generally, many clubs forbid tipping anyone, including coat-check personnel, restroom attendants, caddies, housekeepers and wait staff. Accepting a tip might cost club employees their job.

It is, however, perfectly acceptable (and much appreciated) to make out a check to the club’s holiday fund to express your appreciation. When in doubt, call the club or ask your host. Such an action merely says you want to do things correctly, not that you don’t know what you’re doing.

Although you might want to pick up the meal tab, private clubs usually do not accept cash. If you are a member’s guest, tell your host you’d like to shoulder your part of the bill. It then would be up to the host to make private arrangements with you. Make sure you have this conversation well in advance. Nothing creates indigestion more than unresolved money issues at dinner.

It may be more graceful simply to let your host take care of the dinner at his club, while planning to reciprocate at a restaurant of your choice at some later date.

Mary Mitchell is a Seattle-based corporate trainer and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Etiquette.” E-mail questions to Mary@themitchell.org. Sorry, no personal replies.