The Holiday Shakedown: How much should you tip your mailman + others?

Holiday tipping makes me uncomfortable the way tipping cab drivers makes me uncomfortable. How much am I supposed to tip? 10%? 20%? Do I just round up? And as I’m sure many of us are feeling this year, I kind of want to tip just enough. Well, I suppose some of us feel that way every year. . .but I digress. In my research, I’ve found that during a recession, as long as people haven’t lost their jobs, they are expected to tip the same amount as in years previous. While this knowledge is all fine and good, what if one has never lived on their own in a city and thus HAS NEVER TIPPED BEFORE?! Well, have no fear.

According to a Yahoo Poll (and , here are some typical numbers for common service providers:

  • Cleaning person – $50
  • Hairdresser – $20
  • Manicurist – $20
  • Newspaper carrier – $20
  • Barber – $15
  • Building superintendent – $25
  • Doorman – $10-80
  • Pet-care provider – $25
  • Mail carrier – $20
  • Fitness instructor – $25

They had a few additional suggestions, but the services provided in that section included, “elevator operator” and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you had one and therein lived on Park Avenue. If you’re interested, I’ve done a bit of reading and The New York Times’ City Blog did a pretty comprehensive guide last year, which also discusses both the history and merits of tipping. It’s kinda nerdy interesting, actually. Basically, it says that tipping is both a way of expressing appreciation, it also is a down payment towards good service in the year to come both for service providers and for professional employees.

I guess, it comes down to this – is there someone that provides a consistent service for you? If so, why not take thank them if you financially can. If you can’t do it financially, bake them some cookie or write them a nice note. A bit of appreciation can go a long way.

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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