Friday, November 20, 2009

Deliciously Opinionated -- Holiday Tipping

I was listening to the radio yesterday afternoon on my way home from the office and heard a segment about holiday tipping. I've been thinking about it ever since and was thinking so hard about it on my way home from work today that I completely missed my exit and had to cross the river and go into Portland before I could turn around. Argh.

But if I'm concentrating that hard on something, then hey... that's a Delicious topic.

I'm curious. How many of you actually give holiday tips to all the "service" people in your life? By service people, I mean:
  • hairdresser
  • mail carrier
  • teacher
  • trash collector
  • restaurant servers that help you regularly
  • manicurists
  • pet care provider
  • personal trainer
  • housekeeper
  • school bus driver
  • gardener
  • newspaper delivery
$20 is the average tip per service provider. (Except for hairdressers. You're supposed to tip them the equivalent of one visit!) But if you don't want to give them cash, you can always gift them useful gifts, like gloves for the trash collectors. But check this... we have trash pickup that's separate from recycling pick up which again is separate from the yard waste pick up. All of those have teams of 2 people, so if I paid $10 for a pair of decent gloves for each of them, that's $60 just to my refuse collectors. Now I appreciate what they do and all, but my goodness. That is just insane!

So let's calculate this out for my situation...

Hairdresser $50
Mail carrier $20
School bus drivers $40
Trash collectors $60
Servers I see even semi-regularly? Maybe $40
Am I supposed to tip the check out girl at Target that I like (and will wait longer to be in her line?) $20

We're up to $230 right there!

Let me put this into perspective for you. I try to keep all holiday gifts I buy for my family (husband and kids not included) at $15 or under. Since I plan ahead and also love to make gifts myself, I can usually pull this off without a problem. So for the 12 people I buy for, I spend... are you ready???

$180!!! And this is for people I actually love!

But here's what I don't get about the whole holiday tipping concept. I'm already paying them in some fashion or another! Why do I have to pay them again? I shouldn't have to and in fact, I don't. I wish them happy holidays and go on my merry way. (In years past when I have tipped or given gifts to service people, I have never once received a thank you note. I guess we'd have to check with Emily Post to see if you have to send a thank you note for a thank you gift, but quite simply, sending thank you notes display good manners.)

Am I missing some key point here? If I am, please enlighten me. I would really love to understand this whole concept.

I just had a thought...If we're all supposed to tip everyone in the service industries we frequent, does that mean I'm going to get $20 bills from the hundreds of people I help in our software support every week? Ha! Only in my dreams!


Valerie Geary said...

Personal trainer??? pah-shaw!!! No way Jose!! Gardener... does that mean I get to tip myself?? I only tip wait staff, valet parkers, hotel maid services, and hair dresser. Though I'm not sure why I tip my hair dresser and I don't tip her very much... I guess I'm just a cheap a$$. Also... I wouldn't tip them extra because of the holidays. I'm a scrooge. :)

Anonymous said...

I am a stylist and do not get much in the way of extra cash unless it is a regular I have had for a while or they are what a consider a "good" client. Most give gifts like baked goods, flowers, cards, etc. I do not tip my mail carrier for the holidays bc I live in a condo coplex and I do not even know who he/she is. I will tip wait staff more over the holidays though

Kate said...

Hi Lisa Marie! Thanks for your comment. Now I feel more comfortable about "tipping" my stylist with cookies or something. I won't feel so cheap about it! :)

Barbara said...

Kate, I agree completely. If one must do something extra over the holidays, I think a small gift of some kind or another is in order. I gave my hairdresser a Christmas tree candle one year; never even heard if she liked it. Oh well. I think all of these service people have paying jobs, and in many cases, good paying jobs. I believe the refuse collectors earn more per hour than I ever earned as an executive assistant. So, sorry, but I don't give these people Christmas tips. This has been a sore point with me for years. Guess I'm a cheapskate too!

Kidsncats said...

I tip the hairdresser when we go. I do not make a special trip over there for the holidays. I do not tip or gift to any of the others on your list -- except we do give usually a Borders or Starbucks gift card to the kids' teachers. This year, that will be out-of-budget though -- with having 7 teachers now instead of just probably baked goods for all the teachers this year. I always tip 20% when we eat out and with hairdressers. I don't use valets, personal trainer (I wish!) etc and never have seen my trash collectors (plus, they barely DO their job sometimes! and we pay a LOT for their service).