Awww….the holidays…the time of mulled cider, bedazzled trees, and…tipping? I am posting this out of purely neurotic selfishness. I never know who, and how much, to tip. There are the basics: I understand you tip extra for your hairdresser, and from reading on Emily Post it seems only the truly Grinch-like don’t get a small gift for their young children’s teachers, but what about the mail carrier? The garbage collectors? And everyone in between?
Last year we did not tip our mailman. I took an informal poll at work, and it seemed maybe two-thirds of my department did tip, and I guess the rest of us were just heartless. I don’t know our mailman (we are never home when the mail is delivered), but we did receive a card in the mail right before the holidays from him wishing us a merry Christmas. Since I am raggedy old cynic I quipped that he must be digging for a tip. Matt, my angelic other half, said he was just wishing us a nice holiday. I told him to “shut it” and said he is now most certainly not getting a tip, citing things like 1) the card (obviously), 2) the fact he probably makes more than me anyway (who knows, but checking the USPS rates – yes, which my sick self did – it’s possible), and 3) we were poor (we are not really poor, and it’s an insult to those who are, but I say it anyway in order to snatch free food from my mom’s pantry).
Now a year has passed, and my cold heart has melted a bit. Maybe it’s finally wanting kids, or just another year with Matt, who won’t say a mean word about anybody (except about the Guidos and Guidettes on “Jersey Shore”, which I make him watch, and you betchya he enjoys it, and for the actress Katherine Heigel which he has an odd fuming distaste for), so I’m re-evaluating my coal-in-the-stocking ways.
Then there’s the trash collectors. They have a truly awful job, but we pay an arm and a leg for trash pick-up (although I’m sure that never sees their pockets), and we only put our trash out every OTHER week since we don’t have a lot. I’m also puzzled at the logistics of tipping the trash collectors. Do you tape an envelope to the can? What if they don’t see it, or worse, it goes in the truck with the rest of the garbage? I’m also rationalizing not giving them a tip because we only put our trash out every other week, giving them a “gift” on weeks off. Don’t say it, I know: I’m awful.
And it’s not about the measly 20 bucks, or anything, and when Matt and I eat out we always, always tip 20%, but I guess it runs on principal. There has to be a cut-off: for a hair dresser, a personal trainer (which I think I will purchase a small gift for), or a newspaper delivery person, they are providing a service for you that is extra, right? It’s right to acknowledge them during the holidays, but where does it end? Looking online, it doesn’t. Also, that Emily Post MUST be a multi-millionaire.
So please let me know what you do to acknowledge the mail carrier and any other folks in your tipping/gifting arena. I put a snazzy poll on the side of the blog (well, it’s snazzy for me, anyway). And please leave a comment if you have good gift ideas. I’m thinking a gift card to Wawa or Dunkin’ Donuts may be nice. Oh, and Happy Holidays (isn't that what it's all about?!)!