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Holiday Tips out of control? What would you do?

December 24th, 2014 at 05:22 pm

Neither of us have ever received a holiday bonus. EVER in our lives. We simply never worked for employers where such a thing is in the realm of possibility.

So this is just the super expensive time of dishing out according to societal expectations.

I have a small disagreement regarding building tips with my husband. He thinks we have to give $50 across the board - to doormen, porters, and super (most people give more to super, but I don't want to, since we never ask anything of him ever and he is being paid quite well, including a very nice apartment in the building).

So just giving $50 across the board is $450. (this year building only has 9 full time staff members instead of 11 last year).

I think that we can tip based on how much we interact and how much we like. For example $50 to doormen we like, $40 to the one we like less, $20 to porters and handymen. ($30 to porter we like more), etc.
Who do you think is right?

It bothers me that there is an absolute expectation of tipping. And that we are giving more to building stuff than our son's pre-school staff(who are federal employees and are not allowed to take anything above $20 anyway and there does not seem to be an expectation that you have to. But the service they provide is more important to us, and they are nice to children).

Btw building staff is all union and are paid well.

So, building staff, pre-school staff, trainer (cost of a session is customary), than you are expected to give holiday tip for every service worker under the sun - from hairstylist, to nails, to cleaning, ect... (luckily I don't have a permanent haircutter/nail technician). mailman? But this seems to be very much out of control, and I don't quite feel the spirit, considering that I don't have a Christmas bonus to take this money out of and just have to take it out of our regular salary/savings.

10 Responses to “Holiday Tips out of control? What would you do?”

  1. PatientSaver Says:

    Special holiday tips given due to pressure and expectations are not truly gifts. Maybe your husband doesn't want to be bothered by spending the time to contemplate what's appropriate for each, but I would prefer to do it your way as well. Why reward someone you don't particularly care for?

    Are the school staff allowed to take non-money gifts above the $20? Maybe they'd appreciate something homemade or homecooked.

  2. Nika Says:

    No, school staff would not be over $20. I feel it is the building tips and the whole tipping culture is out of control, the pre-school is not the problem here.

    As far as homemade and homecooked, nobody appreciates that, especially those who will received a lot of it. Imagine you are getting massive amount of perishable, sugar-laden, unhealthy baked goods from 10-100+ people. You either waste it or gain a tonn of weight, on stuff that was not that great to begin with. (If I am to gain few pounds, it should not be from sugar cookies, that's just a waste). And home-made nick-knacks taking up the space in tiny NYC apartments is a curse not a blessing. So people who are expected to receive tips from clients definitely do not appreciate anything but cash or gift cards/alcohol(easily re-giftable items), and just think that the person who gave cookies is to cheap to give tips.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Tipping is regional and since we own our own home there isn't staff to tip! I tip hairstylist when I receive service. I don't tip our mailman. He's actually pretty bad at it, delivering wrong mail to our box and our mail to other boxes. I think you should tip those you feel deserve the gift and you want to give to them.

  4. ND Chic Says:

    I agree with you on the different amounts. My daycare had a little list of stuff they could use in lieu of gifts. I bought a couple items on it and gave homemade salsa to his teacher. The building staff tips are out of control.

  5. just a thought Says:

    Your building employees probably consider holiday tips part of their compensation package since they are expected in your community culture. I would as what would be the typical amount in your building, regardless of if you like one better then another.

    Instead of paying out of your current paychecks, why not budget throughout the year to cover this expense. (Yes, it's an expense.) It's not an unexpected one, so you can plan in advance. We gift our nanny two weeks salary each Christmas. We save up for it over the year, since we couldn't cover it out of our regular paychecks. We don't get bonuses either, but it doesn't bother me; it just doesn't happen in our lines of work.

    There are lots of benefits and opportunities to living in NYC. These holiday building tips are one of the expenses for having that lifestyle.

  6. LittleMissSplendid Says:

    Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I don't feel obligated to tip well paid service people. Service people with union jobs, independent contractors that set their own rates (they should be including a tip in their rate if they want one), and public service employees are not people I tip. I value what they do and am cordial, but I feel they're already being appropriately compensated.

    Now the waitress that is on her feet 12 hrs a day that still manages to smile and make polite conversation, while bringing my correct order on time only to get paid federal minimum wage? She gets a tip. The nail tech who always squeezes me in and does an amazing job all the while getting cursed out in her native language by the owner? She too gets a tip. For me tipping is a way to show my appreciation to a service worker that did an excellent job and I feel should have a better hourly wage. If they were paid more tipping wouldn't be necessary, but unfortunately that isn't always the case.

  7. My English Castle Says:

    Is it possible your husband wants to give a blanket amount to avoid over thinking it?

    As to whether you should tip at all, my father always said if you can't give with a cheerful heart, you shouldn't.

  8. rob62521 Says:

    I don't believe you are allowed to tip the postman.

    We did give tips to the ladies who cut our hair ...I just doubled what I normally would have tipped them and it certainly wasn't $40 each.

    I agree with LittleMissSplendid...the server who doesn't make minimum wage, yes, by all means, be generous. But for the others, I think a token based on how you feel should suffice.

  9. scfr Says:

    My thinking aligns with yours (imagine that). The tipping expectations in NYC are out of control. Like you, I'd be inclined to tip more to some and less to others. If someone always goes above and beyond what their job description requires, why shouldn't they get more? But having said that I do think you and your husband need to come to an agreement, even if you're right (LOL).

    I'm fortunate that I don't have anyone to tip. No regular service providers of any kind. We have several different mail carriers and they are always changing.

  10. CB in the City Says:

    I am fortunate that in Chicago, even though I live in a multi-unit building with staff, there is no expectation for tipping. I don't even know who most of the staff members are! Of course, I don't have doormen, or anything like that. We all come and go on our own.

    But since it is an expectation, I would tip whatever is the minimum expectation, and perhaps a little more for those who have gone out of their way for you. I agree with those who say it is an annual expense that should be part of your budget. If you can consider it just part of your housing expense, it might hurt less to do it.

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