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updated 1/23/2004 5:48:08 PM ET 2004-01-23T22:48:08

How we got to this question started with a little bit of presidential pork, literally.  In Roswell, New Mexico, today President Bush paid a visit to the Nuthin’ Fancy Cafe, had a hankering for some ribs.  Members of the White House press pool followed closely behind with questions. The president even treated some of the press to lunch. 

The total for the take out bill for some ribs, some fried okra, cornbread all came to $42.95.  The president pulled out his wallet, paid cash, but didn't leave a tip.  So  we just had to ask, "Are you supposed to tip on take-out?"

We put a call in to Peter Post,  the director of the Emily Post Institute and the author of “Essential Manners for Men.” He said, “There‘s no need to leave a tip when picking up take-out.  This is no different than going to the auto parts store and picking up a car part that you've ordered. You just wouldn't tip the guy at the auto parts store.” 

Well, we also checked with a number of restaurants around the country and with employees. They all told us that while take-out tips aren't expected, folks appreciate it and it's always nice when it happens. 

But we also went straight to the source: Edwarf Zavala, the manager of Nuthin’ Fancy Café, said, “Here at the restaurant it‘s not customary to tip whenever you take something out.  I only expect it whenever you‘ve been served, whenever you sit down to eat.  I don't think it‘s unusual because he had something carried out.”

So Mr. President, apparently you didn‘t commit an etiquette faux pas, and we think it‘s awfully nice that you bought some ribs for some members of the Press Corps.

'We just had to ask?' is a regular segment on 'Deborah Norville Tonight.' 'Deborah Norville Tonight' airs weeknights, 9 p.m. ET

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