Tips on Holiday Tipping

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's not just the holiday season, it's also the tipping season. How much do you need to tip and how many people should you include? Sewell Chan, of the New York Times' City Room blog, looks at the anxieties surrounding holiday tipping.


Sewell Chan

Comments [30]

nicole from NY

What do I give my doorman as a holiday tip who moves my car every morning for alternate side parking in NYC?? I never have to worry about parking and I save money on a monthly garage.

Dec. 20 2007 10:53 PM
O. from Brooklyn/Manhattan

Chestine... yes, I know, better than you probably, about the main source of waiters' income coming from gratuities. I was just saying I am sympathetic to tipping because I used to earn tips for a living. Don't know if you have ever worked in service to another person, but it's not always pleasant and certain types in New York City can be very selfish and RUDE to service personel and a doorman usually has to maintain a certain type of decorum when dealing with people in the building and I bet goes out of his way to help many people in the building during the course of his year. His job description probably bends on a daily basis as people request different things from him so yes he is owed a tip. I agree that tipping can get really ridiculous in New York, but I bet you find the people who give the biggest tips are those with the least amount of money and those who are used to being in a position of waiting on rich, stuck up New Yorkers themselves. I worked for an art dealer in her home and used to help her pay her bills.It was my job sometimes to wrap her Christmas presents and put envelopes together and I was shocked that as a poor artist I was giving my news carrier 4 times the tip she was for his year of service! And I didn't think I was being crazy about my tip either! She gave me a gift too: a bag full of old crap she had hanging around her house which included an opened bag of chocolate covered Bing Cherries from Harry and David. OPENED!!!!!

Dec. 18 2007 12:12 PM
Kathy from Long Island

I tip each of the three guys who pick up our recycling, each of the three garbage men (waste management engineers, whatever is politically correct), each of two newspaper delivery guys and the postman $50.

I'm not sure if I should also tip the UPS driver, as I do all of my shopping online.

Dec. 18 2007 12:02 PM
Grant from NYC

I think there's always a segment about tipping around this time of year, but there is never a straight answer of how much one should tip.... Why is that? I'm always stuck not knowing.

Dec. 18 2007 12:00 PM
the montgomery's from douglas manor ,douglaston queens

i am the PTA president & it is tough to tip/ or gift the principal, the taechers, the custodial staff, & at home i tip the tennis pro, the garbage guys, the dry cleaners! too much!

Dec. 18 2007 11:58 AM
Susan from West Village

It may be counterintuitive, but I stopped tipping the super-unhelpful-super in my small building.

For years, I tipped him and STILL got grief or a blow-off for every request. So, enough.

Dec. 18 2007 11:58 AM
Joe from NJ

I own a company and we do a lot of shipping with UPS. I tip my driver about $200.00. However he does have to go up and down stairs for us. Is that too much, to little, or just right?

Dec. 18 2007 11:57 AM
Brian Stoller from Manhattan

Tipping for garage attendants? How much. I don't plan on keeping my car at their garage in 2008 due to bad management, and the card they provided lists their names for 2008... do I still need to tip? NOTE: Management and the attendants are not the same.

Dec. 18 2007 11:57 AM
chestine from NY

Hey! Call me cheap but I didn't agree to tip anybody! I barely have enough money to buy presents for the people in my life! Who tips me for doing my job every day! Why should I be obliged or feel guilty about people who get PAID to do what rent or maintenance pays them for!

Dec. 18 2007 11:57 AM
Waldo from Manhattan

I live in a very large building -- There's a box with pics of each building employee and a box into which you can place your Xmas gifts. Some residents give a lump sum and some employees believe that building management is shafting the employees and keeping most of the money. Residents will tell you their weight, sexual practices/fantasies, family secrets, etc., but NOT the amount they tip.

Dec. 18 2007 11:55 AM
Steve from Manhattan

@chestine - the tip I have for you is: Don't buy Podhoretz's book.

Dec. 18 2007 11:53 AM
inquisigal from Brooklyn

I'm less interested in this topic, and more interested in how NYC employers (other than my own) are handling holiday tips or bonuses for freelance workers?

I am a freelancer who has 2 steady jobs, where I have worked over a year at each. I do not get vacation pay or health insurance. How about we encourage employers to give tips or bonuses to their freelancers?

Dec. 18 2007 11:52 AM
Nora Wertz from Montclair NJ

I believe that it is illegal to offer a monetary gift to a Federal Employee.

Dec. 18 2007 11:52 AM

What nobody mentions about tipping your mail carrier is that the mail carrier is expected to tip the subs who do his route on his day off and his vacations, and the clerks who sort the mail for him in the office. In my post office, that means each carrier has to pony up about $400. We don't get any kind of bonuses from the post ofice, so if we don't get tips from customers, we're basically screwed.

Dec. 18 2007 11:52 AM
Nancy Duggan from Morristown, NJ

Having bartended for 20 years, I look forward to testing your theory of the alienating "too large" tip. Maybe this week, even! Merry Christmas.

Dec. 18 2007 11:51 AM
James Jones from NYC

My doormen, porters, etc, are all so unfriendly and unpleasant to me, that I choose to forgo tipping of anyone. They don't open the doors --- they are automatic. Why is this necessary?

Dec. 18 2007 11:51 AM
Grant from NYC

How much do you tip your super in NYC?

Dec. 18 2007 11:51 AM
eligit from astoria

as a personal guitar teacher i can tell you how it works:

i travel all over new york teaching people (and their childred) IN their homes. all weather, 6 days a week.

during the holidays no lessons are generally taken and so my income pretty much disappears for at least 2 weeks. i do not make a salary....i get paid per lesson, per hour.

so i consider it very reasonable to expect some sort of tip at this point to reflect the reality of this situation.

needless to say the people i generally work for can easily afford to tip me.

Dec. 18 2007 11:51 AM
Ayesha from New York, NY

Was it the customary tip for a doorman? Porters? And what if you've only been in the building for 3 months? Do you pro-rate the tip?

Dec. 18 2007 11:51 AM
Jonathan from Brooklyn

If I don't get a tip from my primary source of income — should i feel obligated to tip as well?

Dec. 18 2007 11:49 AM
chestine from NY

Post #3 - O

Yes I understand about waitresses but that's another story - the wait person minimum is hardly an income! Of course they should be tipped - and well.

But do you know how much doormen make and how many people in a big bldg give a doorman?

Dec. 18 2007 11:49 AM
Emily from Manhattan

My postal workers leave a holiday note in my mailbox, which, seems to me like a blatant request for a tip.

Dec. 18 2007 11:49 AM
hjs from 11211

and we cut short the most important topic of our time and move to the most silly.
I don't have a doorman so I could careless about this.
hey rich people tip well today so for the rest of the year u can treat the working man like a piece of garbage on the side of the road without guilt.

Dec. 18 2007 11:49 AM
Michael Winslow from Inwood

My Super is new the old one was fired.

Do I tip this guy?

He hasn't done anything for me yet and he's only been on the job for about a month.


Dec. 18 2007 11:47 AM
Robert from NYC

I'm thinking of leaving a stocking filled with coal for the mail carrier this year. That's better than he deserves. Tips are gratuities not something everyone and anyone should expect to receive. Your boss pays you to do your job, I tip you because you did it thoughtfully and well or you did something extra, not because you did it.

Dec. 18 2007 11:07 AM
Mary from New York

I will ban all tipping until we can appropriately tip Brian Lehrer and his staff!

Dec. 18 2007 11:02 AM
O. from Brooklyn/Manhattan

I meant a card from my 'news carrier' not the mail carrier. I would guess no, but...

Dec. 18 2007 11:02 AM
O. from Brooklyn/Manhattan

Yes, you tip the newspaper carrier. I know this after getting a card one year from my mail carrier slipped in with the newspaper that had HIS return address on the envelope. You're also supposed to also tip your hairdresser for the year too! New York is TOO much sometimes, eh? Tip the hairdresser when you get your hair done, yes! But an extra tip! Yikes.

The mail carrier?? Not sure. In England the 26th of December is known as Boxing Day, not because people beat each other up, but because it was the day one acknowledged people like the postman, the milkman etc.

I am sympathetic to it all somewhat because I was a waitress in this city, but sometimes it goes too far!!!!

Merry Christmas, though!

Dec. 18 2007 11:00 AM
chestine from NY

who tips me for doing my job?

Dec. 18 2007 10:58 AM
Josh Neufeld from Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

I live in a mostly co-op building with 80 units in Prospect Heights. This year, we're giving our super $100, the porter $60, and the security guard $75. The guard is getting that much because he also delivers packages directly to our apartment. (I work at home.) Are these prices in line with the services provided?

Also, are we supposed to tip our mail carrier? What about the mysterious person who delivers the New York Times to our apartment door every weekend?

Dec. 18 2007 10:28 AM

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