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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

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daruma / December 14, 2004 3:34 PM

Definitely the paper deliverer, he leaves a card in the paper with his name and address around this time. He deserves it, I can't eat breakfast without my Sun-Times and he almost never disappoints! I think it's technically illegal to tip the mail carrier.

Ruthie / December 14, 2004 4:17 PM

This article from CNN mentions all of the various people you can tip around the holidays. Most of their suggestions seem really high.

Several of the families I babysit for have given me nice gifts or about the amount of cash I would ordinarily earn in a day's work as a tip. It's really nice to be appreciated, but I get kind of embarassed if people give me too much.

Ruthie / December 14, 2004 4:20 PM

Oh, to actually answer the question, I don't tip anyone for the holidays, but I really don't have anybody I could potentially tip-- no doorman, cleaning lady, dogcatcher, etc.

PS People really tip a dogcatcher?

Andrew / December 14, 2004 4:33 PM

I've occassionally tipped the paper delivery guy.

I'm not sure how one would go about tipping the garbagemen -- attach an envelope to the trash can? Get up at 5am and wait for them?

Alice / December 14, 2004 5:03 PM

I usually get a Jewel or Dominick's gift certificate for my newspaper delivery person.

Lisa / December 14, 2004 5:07 PM

I wish people would tip their teachers....

Benjy / December 14, 2004 5:20 PM

I live in a high rise condo building and there's a collection run by the condo association which goes to all the building's staff -- maintanance, doormen, garage attendants, etc.

Eamon / December 14, 2004 5:48 PM

Well, you learn something new every day. I just called the USPS and confirmed: yes, it is illegal to tip your mail carrier. That stinks. I've left tips before by leaving an envelope addressed to the carrier with a card and some cash.

I always tip our garbage collectors, especially considering the sheer volume of bottles we dispose of on a weekly basis. Oh, the shame. The shame. I think of it as hush money.

We've only recently gotten the paper delivered, so this'll be the first year we do that. We also give a special holiday tip our hairstylist, who is just fantastic. And finally, I like to send a couple bucks via PayPal to the websites I read most often.

e_five / December 14, 2004 6:06 PM

I have been unemployed for more than half the time Bush has been in office, so I haven't been able to tip anyone for a couple of years.

Michael / December 14, 2004 6:58 PM

Tip the dogcatcher?! Weren't they always the bad guys in cartoons when we were growing up? I don't tip the garbage man either. (do you realize HOW MUCH those guys make? that's one of those City Hall "favor" jobs) Nor the mailman -- I don't even think we have a regular on our route, as far as I can tell. I might tip the paperman if I had it delivered, because those guys probably don't make shit anyway, and it's important to have your paper before you leave for work. It's probably also a good idea to tip the person who does your hair.

Robert / December 14, 2004 8:33 PM

We don't have the same tipping culture in Australia, but my family used to tip the milk delivery boys at Christmas (until the service stopped a few years ago, more's the pity).

Lisa will be pleased to learn that most people give gifts to their teachers, too.

Ellie / December 14, 2004 10:03 PM

Ummm, so seriously, how do you tip the trash collector? Does anyone have a personal relationship with their trash collector?

tony / December 14, 2004 10:12 PM

Holiday tipping for me used to include tipping the doorman and tipping the super. As I have neither nowadays...I don't have to give out holiday tips.

Qix / December 15, 2004 6:50 AM

e_five: maybe you should find a job that tips. Then you can return the favor!

steven / December 15, 2004 7:25 AM

since it's illegal to tip the mail carrier, and i'm not going to wait around for the garbage collector, the only person i would tip is my building's super...then again, he might not deserve it. my mom sends her auto mechanic guy a bowl of homemade cookies every year.

did the question really mean dogcatcher? maybe it should be dog walker.

Mike / December 15, 2004 8:51 AM

Not to be a downer on the Holiday spirit here, but I always thought that you were supposed to tip for good service, like when a waiter is really attentive or a bartender keeps their eye on you.
What exactly constitutes good mail or newspaper service? Them not losing my phone bill? The Tribune being on my doorstep at 3am and not 4:30am like all the suckers down the street?
I'm tipping my newspaper guy, but for all I know, he could be the worst newspaper delivery guy in the history of the world and I might just be encouraging him.

Jen / December 15, 2004 10:11 AM

When I was growing up we'd tip the garbage men with a 6 pack of beer. Really. My dad would put it on top of the cans before he went to work in the morning (blue collar guy - he worked early too). In retrospect it seems hilarious! Did he think they would drink it during the day? These days, since we're rehabbing our house, I occassionally leave a 6 pack of coke out there, especially after we've taken down a wall or something. So I'll probably do that for the holidays too.

Lana / December 15, 2004 10:40 AM

I hate being a grinch, but I don't do any extra tipping for the holidays. I really don't understand this issue. Is it compensation for someone being paid poorly? Is that really my fault -- will tipping end or continue that problem? Is it a "thank you" for good service? I can't say I get a level of service that goes beyond what I'm paying to have done in the first place. And I know first hand it doesn't lead to better service in the long run.

I love my job, but don't do anything that engenders receiving tips or bonuses (nor am I making six-figures to make up for it either), so I don't give money away.

I prefer at this time of year to make donations to charities. They do really good work!

consigliere / December 15, 2004 10:44 AM

Nothing for the mail carrier, as she's failed, daily over the entire year, ever to close the gate she opens to get to the mail box. But the paper deliverer gets a double sawbuck for hitting the front door every day just hard enough to let me know it's time to get up and read all the depressing news.

Kirsten / December 15, 2004 10:46 AM

Jen, that is a great story, how funny. Hopefully they weren't driving around drinking it.
There was an article in a magazine, Real Simple I think, about how much to tip to whom, and they had about 20 people on there. Outrageous. Some of them were kind of out there, if I remember correctly.
We tip our newspaper delivery person, and I'm planning on giving my facial lady an extra tip this year, she is the only person who managed to get my skin under control, and she deserves it. My friend gave her trainer a bonus when she got to her goal, but that was not at Christmas.

Brandy / December 15, 2004 11:20 AM

Um - I'm thinking I don't have anyone to tip.

Near Christmas one year, my dad was writing men's names on heavy duty workgloves. I asked him what he was doing - he was giving them to all the guys that worked at his favorite junkyard. Same gloves, so names on 'em (ala summer camp or gym uniforms). I thought that was thoughtful.

Andrew / December 15, 2004 11:37 AM

Boy, everybody got hung up on the dogcatcher. It was just a random example, guys!

emily / December 15, 2004 11:59 AM

I don't really have anyone to tip either. I send cards to people I want to wish well; the landlord, my old hairstylist, etc. If I left money or beer in my alley for the garbage men, homeless people going through my trash would benefit instead.

I would totally tip the dogcatcher, though. He/she does a great job at keeping those damned stray dogs off the street.

robin.. / December 15, 2004 2:35 PM

it's that time of bake a festive bundt cake for my tattoo artists to let them know i'm thinking of them even when i'm not under their drop an extra ten bucks in the tip jar at my morning coffee place, and an extra ten in the jar at my evening coffee take a bucket-o-cookies to my favourite record store and my favourite neighbourhood cheese shop...and to send a card to my organic food co-op...

ah, chanukwanzmas. warms the cockles of my dark heart, so it does...

TK / December 15, 2004 2:44 PM

OK, don't tell, but I do tip the mail carrier (Target gift certificate), and it's because she never fails, despite crappy weather, totally torn-up sidewalks, etc, never stuffs oversized pieces into the box, destroying all of the mail, and doesn't freak around the dog. Yes, I know it's her job, but she does it surpassingly well (and I've seen the worse end of the spectrum).

Meanwhile, seriously, I second (third?) the questions about how, to tip garbage collectors...

TAF / December 15, 2004 4:44 PM

In the UK the day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day; this is the day when dustmen (garbage collectors) and other service providers make the rounds to collect tips from those they serve. The custom likely goes back to when tradesmen would go around to the servants' entrance of their clients to get a box of scraps leftover from his lordship's Christmas dinner.

Christmas goose and plum pudding won't make it in today's world so give cash to those who provide services to you.

JT / December 17, 2004 10:37 AM

I don't have a lot of people to tip, nor money to do it with. We have a nanny, and give her a small actual Christmas gift and a cash bonus, whose amount depends entirely on our financial situation from year to year. I get the parents at my sons' preschool together and get AmEx gift checks for their teachers each year. Additionally, I make peppermint bark, and give that (nicely wrapped) to other teachers, colleagues, landlord, mail carrier, etc. However, I'm not so sure I want to do anything for the mail carrier this year since the mail is usually late and often shoved into the box until it tears.

Leah / December 20, 2004 9:43 PM

I have noticed some of my customers (I work in a cafe) have left a bigger tip with a Merry Christmas this week. It is nice, but I certainly don't expect it.

Otherwise--I don't tip anyone extra... cause I don't get the paper, only see my hairdresser 2-3 times a year, I am my own barista for coffee... But I'll take care of my waiters this week.

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