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Here a Tip, There a Tip, Everywhere a Tip Tip!

by J. Money on Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Money Mag came out with the “average tip planned for the 2010 holidays,” in their latest Dec issue, and I don’t quite know what to make of it.  I guess they seem fair, but then again it’s like we have to tip EVERYONE for everything these days.  Or maybe I’m just a frugal bastard? (don’t answer that).

Anywho, here’s what they suggest is the average for this year – based on a recent poll they did (which is probably skewed if it’s a poll of Money readers, so I’d imagine they’re a bit more affluent than the average Joe Schmo… or at least financially congnizant ;)):

  • Housekeeper/Housecleaner:  $65
  • Gardener/Yard Worker:  $50
  • Mail Carrier:  $20
  • Hairdresser/Barber:  $20
  • Garbage Collector:  $20
  • Newspaper Carrier:  $20

And here are my thoughts on these:

  • Housekeeper: I have no thoughts :)  Because I don’t have one of these helpers around the house, nor will I probably ever.  But I suppose if I had to pick a number that the parallel me would tip, I’d more than likely round up to a nice even $100.  A crisp Benjamin, if you will.
  • Yard Worker: Hmm… don’t got me one of  these either.  Aren’t they a seasonal thing anyways?  If they aren’t doing any work during the dead of winter, are you supposed to track them down and give them a tip anyways?
  • Mail Carrier: I guess it makes sense… actually, no.  I really don’t understand why a mail carrier or any of these other ones on the list are supposed to be tipped?

Actually, I think I should stop there…  I really have no idea why newspaper carriers or garbage collectors need to be tipped??  Does that make me a bad person? Is it because they show up at your house?  Cuz actually, looking over that list, every single one of those professions come right up to your door step except the hairdresser one. How strange is that?!

So maybe it’s a proximity thing? The closer you come in contact with me, the more odds of you getting a tip! Haha… the only people I really tip are wait staff and taxi drivers (both usually at a flat 20% rate) and in both cases I’m physically close to the people delivering the “service.” And the same can be said about strippers! (Hah!) But of course not in my case :) I’ve never understood why people PAY to get teased & tortured like that anyways – it would drive me batty!

So yeah.  I swear I didn’t mean for this post to end on such a sour note today, but hopefully it’ll turn into a learning experience once you convince me why we should be tipping everyone :) And then we can get back to the love-dovey Thanksgiving Day Hurrah!

In the meantime, I’ll leave it up to the professionals to tip accordingly. I haven’t seen my postman or news carrier in a good 3 years anyways…


{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristia@Family Balance Sheet November 24, 2010 at 7:56 am

It is my understanding that mail carriers can not accept cash gifts. I could be wrong, but our mail carrier told us that. He was our dog’s best friend and would always deliver a treat along with the mail, so we would buy him a gift at Christmas, but it was usually candy or some kind of food gift.

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2 jolie November 24, 2010 at 8:27 am

I’ve never been a Christmas tipper but then again most of those folk aren’t in my immediate world. Our trash is picked up by town workers. The mail is picked up at our box at the post office (small town…no house delivery). I am my yard care person. Our newspaper carrier has changed people about 5 times this year and I’m honestly not sure who delivers it anymore.When we used to have a girl down the street, I always got her a gift at Christmas though. I tip when I get my hair done, but don’t do a seasonal thing.

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3 Niki November 24, 2010 at 8:30 am

I get you on the not tipping the mail carrier, but a card or homemade goodies sounds appropriate. Actually I am with you on all of them, I never even thought about tipping the garbage man. Maybe I am a bad person too.

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4 Jenn November 24, 2010 at 8:33 am

I’m with you… I don’t tip my mail carrier or my newspaper delivery person either. But then again, maybe that’s why my mail is always wadded up in my mailbox.

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5 Matt November 24, 2010 at 9:01 am

I have no idea who delivers my mail or picks up my garbage, I read the news online, I mow my own yard, clean my own house and I shave my head. Looks like I’m getting off cheap!!

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6 Techbud November 24, 2010 at 9:34 am

I always tip my Garbage Collector. The amount of junk I put out at my curb, big heavy stuff and they always take it. My Garbage Collectors need to lift the garbage into the truck, not automatic lift by the truck, so it’s hard work.

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7 Michael Senchuk November 24, 2010 at 10:39 am

Our little work group thinks it’s a proximity/connection thing too. The more often there’s face-to-face contact, the more likely you are to get a tip. So mail carriers / garbage collectors would never get a tip. We don’t havea housekeeper/gardener, so that’s easy enough. The hairdresser I tip quite handsomely every time I get a haircut, so I’m not going to tip extra at Xmas. And these newspapers you talk of, what are those?

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8 Brian November 24, 2010 at 10:40 am

My wife makes cookies for our mail carrier for Christmas. She (my wife) is a stay-at-home Mom so she comes in contact with her (our mail carrier) fairly often. If it’s a fairly large mail day, she brings all of it to the door even though she could probably just stuff it in the box. Since she has that relationship, it’s a good thing to give her a present. If we never saw the mail carrier, I would definitely agree on not tipping.

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9 Wade November 24, 2010 at 10:41 am

I don’t agree with tipping workers that don’t go the extra mile to provide good service. The garbage collectors around here work for the city (I’m sure they are paid decently), so no tip for them. I do not get a newspaper delivered, so no tip there. Then I have the mail carrier who has failed to pick up my outgoing mail when the flag is up on at least three occasions this year, so definitely no tip for the mail carrier. Also, I think I have only seen my mail carrier twice, so there is no personal relationship there to entice one to tip them.

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10 SheBudget November 24, 2010 at 10:55 am

I’ve never heard of tipping the mail carrier or garbage man. That just seems crazy. I don’t even see my mail man or garbage man.

I do tip my hairdresser. If/when I get my hair done, it’s around $125 (shampoo, cut, color, and style… I like the experience!), so I will round it to $140. I think that is appropriate. I don’t get my hair done very often, only two or three times a year, I can’t imagine spending $140 every 6 or 8 weeks like some women do. I typically only do it before special events, like before the fall/winter holidays and before my birthday in the summer.

If I had a housekeeper, I would probably tip them, but only 15%-ish, but I clean my own house. We do our own yards, so that’s not a problem.

The rest just baffle me. But I guess if you have enough money to hire a housekeeper AND a gardner, you probably can tip them too.

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11 Kathleen November 24, 2010 at 11:04 am

I’ll never have a housekeeper, but if I did, I’d probably tip them at Christmas.

Won’t ever have a gardener either, but even if I did, I live in Chicago – there’s no winter gardening, so he wouldn’t be getting a Christmas gift.

I’ve never seen my mail carrier, but I might throw a couple cookies in the mailbox for some Christmas cheer. No money, though.

I tip my hairdresser every time I go, and the haircut isn’t cheap to begin with. Not sure why I’d be expected to give her even more at Christmas.

The garbage truck picks up the garbage, and I’ve never seen the driver. I pay my taxes and my garbage fees. Sorry, guys, no tip.

My brothers and I used to deliver the paper, and we had to get up bright and early on every holiday (Thanksgiving & Christmas are the biggest papers of the year) to deliver the papers. Back then, we let every customer decide where their paper was delivered (be it in their door, under their mat, rolled up in a special mailbox, etc.), and we made sure it was where they wanted it, how they wanted it, when they wanted it, by 6am every day. We also had to go door-to-door collecting their money and often had to go back multiple times because they wouldn’t pay. If it was raining, we personally bagged every paper. Now my paper is tossed out the window of a van at the edge of my driveway by an adult who’s actually paid reasonably to do it. If it were still a kid, I’d tip ‘em. Not so much for what I get.

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12 Robert Muir November 24, 2010 at 11:15 am

When my newspaper deliverer (always an adult) routinely delivers the paper by 5am (so I can read it before I go to work) I give a healthy $20-$30 tip because I’m grateful for the service and want to reward it. I make sure to mention that that is the reason for the tip.

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13 Briana @ GBR November 24, 2010 at 1:07 pm

The only people I tip are my waitress/waiter, nail technician, and hair stylist. I don’t see my mailman since I live in an apartment. I don’t see the garbage man since we have a central area to dispose of our trash. I only live in 700 sq. ft so no need for a maid. No yard, so no gardener. I also don’t get the newspaper because I get my news online. But when I do tip people, I’m pretty generous.

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14 Crystal @ BFS November 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I only tip our housekeeper and apparently I stink at that too. She usually gets $60 every 2 weeks, so we give her $100 at Christmas. I don’t tip our garbage men, my summer lawn care guy, or my mail carriers (they change all the time anyway). I don’t have a newspaper person or a hairdresser, so I save money there too, lol.

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15 autumn November 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Haha. Right. Totally agree on all fronts J!

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16 Karen November 24, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I do plan to tip my garbage collector and my recycling-bin-collector this year. The recycling guy I’m going to tip because he will take it from my driveway even when I forget to put it out–that’s above and beyond, IMO. The garbage guys are always patient when I come running out of the house in my nightgown to put my bin in the street.

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17 Pressure Cooker Diaries November 24, 2010 at 6:54 pm

My parents always tipped our mailman, I think $25? We haven’t yet because I was told they can’t accept cash gifts.

I also agree with Kathleen on the newspaper – my neighbor used to do it (when we were both in highschool) and sometimes I’d help them wrap them in the rain and we always delivered exactly where customers wanted them – now it’s a truck that drives by and throws them out the window and often doesn’t even make the driveway! No tip for them, thats for sure.

I don’t have a cleaning person, again my mom does and she tips her as well, I think $100?

Basically I only tip taxi drivers, waiters, barbers, and people who carry my bags at airports/hotels.

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18 jordana November 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Thank you for saying what the rest of us were thinking! QQ though – as a somewhat new New Yorker, I have no idea who to tip in terms of super and landlord. As far as I’m concerned, my super is a mythical creature (never met him and don’t know his name). That said, I still want to do right by him…Also, my landlord kicks ass, literally. Do I tip them both the same amount? So tough!

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19 Kay Lynn (Bucksome) November 24, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Gardeners work year round in warmer climates so if I had a private gardener I’d probably tip. Since they work for my HOA, I don’t. I do tip the newspaper carrier and we do get better service than most.

Of course, I give a Christmas tip to my hair stylist. You want to keep someone with scissors happy.:)

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20 jaime November 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm

thanks for the heads up :)

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21 Sense November 26, 2010 at 1:08 am

No tipping for anything in NZ! things are more expensive here, and you can tip if you want to, but it’s not mandatory. I luuuuurrrrvvve it! It’s so nice…but at first I totally felt guilty for not leaving my waitress, barman, and cabbie some tips.

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22 Carmie of the Single Nester November 26, 2010 at 11:42 am

Postal carriers are not allowed to accept cash gifts. I would never give my particular postal carrier a dime. He misdelivers mail. He damages my mail. He sleeps in his car at the end of the block. He leaves rubberbands all over the sidewalk. He is a complete A$$! No wonder they are $8billion in the hole.

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23 J. Money November 26, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Great discussions guys! I thought I’d get a lot more haters out there saying I’m a jack a$$ but you have suprised me ;) (watch, the next comment be all up on me..)

Just wanted to add that I think it IS appropriate to tip if someone customizes their work around you – like, if you forget to take out their trash and they do it for you, or they deliver something to you earlier than normal because they know you prefer it, etc etc.

I’m cool with tipping people for doing something way above & beyond, but just not for doing your job the way you’re supposed to. Know what I mean? We all get paid to do a job, and to do it well, not cuz we’re hoping to get big tips or anything.

Some responses:

@Kristia@Family Balance Sheet – Awww, well that’s nice of you :) If I had a relationship w/ ours I’d probably do something nice I suppose.
@jolie – Yeah, I think the hair thing is much more common in tipping. Mrs Budgetsaresexy does that too, along w/ every other girl I know. I used to give $2 before I rocked the ‘hawk :)
@Niki – At least we’re all together :)
@Jenn – Haha… mine’s like that too now that I think about it ;)
@Matt – But you’re forgetting you tip yourself! In beer aftewards :)
@Techbud – I guess that makes sense. I wonder if you left an old TV or something valuable if that would count as a tip?! haha…
@Michael Senchuk – I def. think it’s a proximity thing too ever since blogging this… and the newspapers are good for kitty litter ;)
@Brian – Ahhhh…. yeah, that makes sense then.
@Wade – It is crazy sometimes that people think they’re entitled to tips and stuff even though they’re getting PAID TO WORK and do a good job, right? I wish people would do a good job because they care and it’s the right thing to do.
@SheBudget – I think the wealthy does tip a lot. Because they know giving out more gets them more in return down the road… but who knows. I’ll let you know once I’m there too ;)
@Kathleen – That’s an interesting thought actually – if it matters if they’re kids? I’d be MUCH more inclined to tip (and tip well) if kids were giving me these services.
@Robert Muir – I can see that. But what if it’s their job to get it ther at 5 a.m. whether it’s your preference or not? I guess I don’t get that we all tip for things that should be done well anyways… I understand the customizing part though.
@Briana @ GBR – Same here :) When I tip, I’m generous. I just don’t like tipping for every single thing out there.
@Crystal @ BFS – I think $100 is great! Esp cuz that’s the # I’d give if I were to guess :)
@autumn – :)
@Karen – Okay so yeah, they’re hooking you up even when you forget which is AWESOME, so I’d tip for that too then. I can see that.
@Pressure Cooker Diaries – Those bag carriers at the airlines always try tricking you too! I always try and carry myself since I know they’ll be expecting a tip at the end ;) But then again, If I were a girl and had like 10 bags then I’d certainly pay for convenience (not saying all girls have 10 bags, or can’t carry things themselves, just givin an ex.)
@jordana – Haha… is he your personal body guard at times? :)
@Kay Lynn (Bucksome) – Haha, of course!
@jaime – on my questioning? haha..
@Sense – oh wow, that’s a whole different atmosphere! no tipping at bars & cabs? i bet they looooove it when Americans come over there and tip anyways ;)
@Carmie of the Single Nester – Hah! It’s too bad you can’t do the opposite of tipping and get a little back ;)

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24 Steve November 29, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I have never understood tipping the mail carrier. Not only do they make more than I do and have better benefits, they also don’t have to get out of their trucks in my neighborhood.

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25 J. Money November 29, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I’ve always wondered how much they make… I know garbage collector’s make a $HIT ton more than people think – at least the ones in NYC. I feel like someone once told me they can make up to $80-$100k?

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26 Linda December 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm

What about tipping for take-out? They seem like they want the full 20% and get angry if they don’t get it. How do other people handle this?

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27 J. Money December 8, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Yeah!!! Same here. Although ever since I heard this radio station talk about how if you don’t tip people they’ll make a note in their “system” and give you crap for service the next time. (and much much worse things too – think nasty stuff in your pizza, etc). I doubt all of that is totally true, but still – why take the chance?! :)

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28 J. Money December 8, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Actually, now that I think about it, I ALWAYS take that chance! Haha…. I *never* tip for carry-out no matter how fancy the restaurant. Me thinks this is worth a blog post…

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