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Writing letters to the newspaper can be overdone, which is why this reader does it with reluctance -- and does not plan to make it a habit. Sparsity delivers more impact than proliferation.

Which brings me to this point: Waitresses should not have to share their tips. Yet, that is what the United States Department of Labor proposes to do. The department has set a 30-day period for comment on the proposal -- which is laughable, considering the fact that bureaucrats’ do not care what the public thinks. Bureaucrats make up their minds BEFORE they seek public input on anything.

The labor department’s argument -- which is ridiculous on its face -- is, essentially, that it is not fair that cooks, dishwashers, servers and other employees do not get to share tips waitresses receive from patrons. Which sounds, suspiciously, like an effort to penalize waitresses. The cure to the so-called disparity is to give raises to individual cooks, dishwashers, servers, etc., who deserve raises on the basis of performance. Waitresses earn their tips on the basis of performance. That is as it should be. They know that. Waitresses are the best salesmen in the world. Perhaps, that sounds like hyperbole. It is not. My policy is to tip well those waitresses who pour that extra cup of coffee, are generally cheerful, and make sure my meal is an enjoyable experience. Which is about 99 percent of the time.

What the labor department proposal amounts to is giving non-tip-receiving employees raises on the backs of waitresses. Many waitresses are women who hover just above poverty, are raising children by themselves, and are vulnerable.

Waitresses are on their feet all day. They sometimes -- and more frequently than you would think -- endure jerks. An example: One of the waitresses I know was verbally abused by a jerk -- actually, two jerks, a man and a woman.

The waitress happened to be young. Which the jerks were upset about. They made it clear that young waitresses should not be hired. Apparently, they equate age with performance. Which, given the logic of that argument, would dictate that a 100-year-old waitress would be at the top of the list.

But, that was not enough for the jerks. They complained they had to wait 45 minutes for their meal. It actually took 15 minutes. I know because I saw and heard the whole thing (I guess I am kind of nosey). The same waitress is a sweet kid. My wife and I hold her in high regard.

As a bureaucrat-supporting taxpayer, would only these guys have to perform well to earn those paychecks -- which are a h--- of a lot more than hardworking waitress -- on tips. The government would be a lot more efficient.

Harry Reynolds, Mattoon

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