Question: Hey Dr. Dish, Are you still answering questions? (Wait — that’s not my question!) My question is about tipping during the holidays. It’s tradition that we locals put out beer and give money to the garbage man. But what about the mailman? Are there other people we are forgetting to tip?
Answer: First off, Dr. Dish is back — but I’m trying to figure out when. We’ve replaced Ask Dr. Dish with Cat Chat on Wednesdays. Right now I’m plugging in Dr. Dish blogs whenever I have space. But don’t stop sending me questions! I’m collecting!
OK, now to your question!
I was thinking about this the other day when I walked past a Salvation Army bell ringer outside Safeway. You don’t see them at any other time of the year. Which got me thinking about the other donations we tend to make during the holidays.
Namely, tipping or giving gifts to the people who make our lives a bit easier.
Postal workers, garbage men, firefighters, gardeners, lifeguards — yes, they get gifts, too — coaches, personal trainers, hair stylists babysitters. Sure, we might pay them already, but shouldn’t we give them a little something more during the holidays?
Truth is, it’s up to you.
Rule of thumb for folks to which you pay for a service: gifts should amount to the cost of a single service. For hairstylists, the gift should be worth a haircut; for a personal trainer, a single session.
For the ones who provide a free service — trash collectors, mail carriers, postal workers — a gift or cash between $10 and $30 is acceptable. But keep in mind, some government employees — even mail carriers — can’t accept cash or gifts exceeding $20.
The safest — and most economical — gift to give: food. Homemade or store-bought — most folks won’t complain about edible goodies.
Anyone have thoughts about this?
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Agree … we always got chocolates for the mailman or postal carrier (ours was a woman).
@Maxcat I think food is always the best — and easiest.
gift cards seem to work well.
i used to tip our mail carrier Beverly, 50 bucks at Christmas. she was a total babe and looked so good in those tight post office shorts. i always saluted her and said: ”you’re doing a hell of a job, postal worker Johnson; exemplary, keep it up.” she always smiled and endured me. then the PO took Beverly away and gave us Bob. he’s more in keeping with the Post Office’s tradition of surlyness and incompetence.
@turkfontaine Got the opposite situation. I used to have one of those cranky old postmen working our route for a while. Leaving packages at our doorstep when he wasn’t supposed to, throwing pacakges down and leaving instead of coming to our door, getting on our case if our box got too stuffed if we missed checking our mail for a day or two. The only tip I wanted to give him was watch your back if I see you around town out of uniform. I guess he retired and now we have a nice woman who replaced him. I think we’ve been tipping her a little the last few years.
I miss my cigar smoking mailman and his backup mail-woman (she was cute 😛 ). Used to leave box chocolate for them. My new carrier not too good cause he comes super late to deliver our mail.
Like you said, it’s up to you.
Cat, I have a suggestion… replace Hawaii Five-0 chat on Tuesdays with A.D.D. I think we’ve pretty much covered aaaaaall the bases on the new show, LOL! …and Dr. Dish is always so fun to add our 2 cents!
Oh, and like any service, if they do a good job, then tip if you feel like it.
@MaxMaxMax I’m considering doing both, actually. We have a little niche here for #H50, so I have to contribute to that. But I miss ADD. Plus, questions are backing up!
I hate to sound “pake” (no offense, just local slang) but I don’t give naything to our mailman or garbage man. I never see our mailman cause I’m usually at work and our garbage man doesn’t even have to jump out of his air conditioned truck. I do however bring food up tp the lifeguards at the city pool I swim at. I figure they’re watching my back everyday I swim and deserve it.
It’s funny how I see some differences here with how we used to do it in the Netherlands. We would, for example never give out food to strangers over there. Personally I don’t think I would ever accept food either (from strangers) if I was working in one of said jobs. Why not? I think one of the reasons would be health concerns.
We did, however, always leave a tip for the mailman, the guy who delivers the newspaper and the garbage man. Usually they got about 10 bucks each. If they want to have food, they can buy it themselves from that and then know where it came from 😉
We give them either our home made bake cookies or a loaf of rum cake….
My grandfather used to be a garbage man. During Christmas, the rubbish trucks would have a pickup follow behind to pick up the beer that people would leave for them.
We rarely give cash and only tip people whose service truly goes above and beyond. It’s more special that way — no gifting “just because.”
Also, I would disagree that trash collectors, mail carriers, and postal workers provide a “free service.” We help pay for that with our taxes and fees!
btw.. I think we’ll skip tipping the garbage people this year.. ever since they started with that automated truck (so no people outside anymore), we find trash next to our garbage can like every other week or so. This was something that didn’t happen before when they were doing it manually, and it is kind of messy sometimes (depending what fell out of the garbage can).
https://img29.imageshack.us/img29/328/dsc0001c0.jpg (ok, it isn’t messy in this pic, but at least it gives you an idea of what we often see).
In my opinion picking up trash isn’t anything ‘special’ anymore or a certain service they deliver when they do it with just a single person in a truck, plus them leaving trash on the street isn’t exactly what I want to see.
I’ve always gave our old mail carrier a bottle of Grey Goose or the like. He was very personable and knew our family well.
We have a new mail carrier now. Just as personable and friendly as the previous. But he appears to not like the liquid as the earlier. So, here in lies the problem.