Holiday Tipping? Not So Much

I read an article today that provided guidelines as to what we should tip people who provide services to us throughout the year.  It told whom to tip and how much, whether to give a tip or a gift, and as usual when I read these articles I was surprised at who tips whom and how much they recommend you give.

Perhaps this is a more regional thing, but I just don’t do much of this.  True, I don’t have pool maintenance people, a personal trainer or a dog walker – I do these things myself.  Still, if I did I would figure that I pay these people for their services, so unless they go above and beyond the call of duty I don’t see any real reason to tip them.

Of the twenty-two service providers mentioned in the article, I only receive services from four: mail carrier, newspaper carrier, hair stylist and teacher(s).

My mail makes more than Husband, so I don’t think he (she?) will be getting a tip.   I have a newspaper carrier, but only have it delivered on the weekends so no way am I going to follow the article’s advice and give the tip of a full subscription period, especially when he/she has an uncanny ability to toss the paper right next to the sprinkler.

Isn’t that telling.  I don’t even know if my carriers are male or female.  It was different years ago, when the mail carrier was a neighbor and the newspaper carrier was my friend’s little brother.  In those days we seemed to have closer relationships with our service people, so tips and gifts felt more like giving and less like obligations.  It just shouldn’t feel that way…

My hairdresser has been doing my hair for 22 years, and even once set me up on a blind date with his brother.  If I wind up getting a service from him around the holidays I’ll probably bring a bottle of wine, but I consider the fact that I still tip him even though he now owns his own salon generosity enough.  Come to think of it, my new hair color had to be applied twice and is AWFUL, so perhaps this year he should be giving ME a gift.

Who else will be getting a gift or tip from me this year?  Well, Son’s teachers will be getting tote bags that hold photos, and I’ve filled the slots with shots I took at the Halloween party.  Inside will be a thank you note from me along with some cookies or other baked goods.

I’ll also give a some baked goods or a small, special gift to the teller at the bank who is always so cheerful and helpful, the girl at Costco who always chats with me and the Office Manager at Son’s doctor’s office who always, always goes above and  beyond.

I’m not going to feel obligated to give a gift to someone just because “that’s what’s done”.  Perhaps if I lived in a New York highrise I’d pay the price for not tipping my super or doorman (remember Ross getting shunned by his neighbors on Friends?), but I never expected a gift from any of my clients for doing my job.  Those that did give me a gift felt that I’d gone above and beyond my job duties in my dealings with them, and that’s because I did.

If people go above and beyond for me I shall give them a gift from the heart.  Not because some nebulous “they” say I should.


One Response to “Holiday Tipping? Not So Much”

  1. copyeditorsdesk Says:

    oohhh hyperventilate!!!!

    This stuff is out of control. Useta be you left a tip to the mailman (now known as the “person-person”) IF s/he who delivered your mail was a) consistently assigned to do so and b) known to your route.

    Neither of these apply anymore, but what the hey. Now we can give “gifts” to our hair stylists, pool dudes, lawn dudes, hair stylists, dentist’s receptionists, veterinarians, teachers, grocery-store checkout clerks, and the complete stranger we stumbled into at Starbucks.

    Argh! My stylist gets $75 a hit, which, since my hair is very short, comes about every six weeks. I doooon’t think I owe him anything more than that.

    In the Dark Ages when I grew up, it was considered unethical (in some school districts, that translated to “against the rules” or even “illegal”) to tip a teacher. Given that teachers haven’t received a raise since then, ooookay, maybe they’ll choke down their pride and take whatever handout the kiddies’ parents decide to pony up.

    Now, the yard dude: yesh. I’ll probably fork over a $100 gift certificate to Home Depot to that guy, since he went way above and beyond the call of duty to help me out and rejected an offer of extra pay for the privilege.

    But otherwise: really, do we owe Christmas baksheesh to people who are just doing their jobs?

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