How Much Should You Tip?

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Image by cemre via Flickr

This post from CNN Money has been making the rounds. I’m getting into the game today.

With the holiday season upon us, tipping the people you work with is a tradition in some cases and actually expected in others. Here’s what CNN came up with and my take:

  • Housekeeper. We don’t have one. I’d think $75-100 would make a nice tip/Christmas bonus. I seem to be more generous than average with my imaginary maid. Maybe that’s because of the outfits she wears.
  • Gardener. Once again, we don’t have one. Even if we did, I live in Minnesota and have close to a foot of snow over the patch of weeds I call my garden. If I did have a gardener, I wouldn’t have seen him for a few months by now, anyway. $0!
  • Mail carrier. I’ve only met my mail man a dozen times and I’ve never considered giving him a Christmas present.  Do people really do that?
  • Barber. I don’t have one any more.   My wife has started doing my hair for me.  When I did, I tipped about 25%, but again, I wouldn’t think about a Christmas present.   I only saw him quarterly.   I don’t think my wife has a regular stylist either.  She’s just got a shop she goes to and gets whoever is available.  Is there holiday tipping protocol for that?
  • Garbage collector. No way.  Really?   I don’t know that I’ve seen the same guy twice.  Am I supposed to give a present to the anonymous, interchangeable union guy that drives past my house every Friday?
  • Newspaper carrier. One night, twelve years ago, while my wife was still working graveyard shifts, she had a hard time sleeping on her nights off.  That’s natural for 3rd shift workers.   At about 4AM, she was watching TV and saw someone run past the window.   Scared, she came to wake me up.  I handed her the phone to call the police, while I grabbed the only thing I had for self-defense and went to investigate.   I ran out on the front step–in my boxers, carrying a sword–and saw someone lurking in the neighbor’s yard across the street.   I yelled, “Y0u don’t belong here!” only to hear “I’m delivering the paper!” That’s when I start tipping the newspaper carrier. I stopped when we canceled our subscription a few years later.   Who needs a dead tree in the morning, when there are a million news sites on the internet?

If the majority of people are giving Christmas bonuses to that many people, and are as generous as the article suggests, then I fall far to the loutish end of the bell curve. I am planning to give my virtual assistant 1/12 of the pay he’s earned this year, so that should make up for some of it, but that is an ongoing business relationship.

How do you compare when it comes to holiday tipping?

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    1. 25% for the barber? That’s a huge tip. I guess if you have a regular barber, it is your hair after all and you’ll have to live with it for 6 weeks. 🙂
      From what you wrote, I’m way down in the loutish end almost falling off the graph.


    1. […] give to the folks at work or home. Fortunately Jason came through for me in the clutch, presenting How Much Should You Tip? posted at Live Real, Now. And because I’m tipping a bunch of those folks today (yes, Today). […]

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