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Dear Dr. Vinny,
I work in the retail wine industry, and I usually bring my own wine when I go out for dinner. I was recently given a gift certificate for a nice restaurant. Is it inappropriate for me to bring my own wine when using a gift certificate?
—Gordon, Palm Desert, Calif.
Most gift certificates are considered cash to a restaurant, so it shouldn't be a problem. Of course, you might feel cheap (and your date might look at you funny), so make sure you follow the standard rules for bringing wine to a restaurant: Call first, offer to buy something off the list, share the juice with the server, and tip like you mean it.
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