Scanning through my RSS reader (I use Google Reader and it’s fabulous), I ran across a post on what “etiquette” says we should tip for the holidays according to Emily Post. It seems “Ms Post” hasn’t heard that there’s a recession going on. She also hasn’t heard of frugality … or a budget.
|Live In Nanny||One Week’s Pay|
|Regular Babysitter||One Night’s Pay AND a small gift|
|Day Care Providers||A Gift AND up to $70 to each person who works with your child(ren)|
|Any Live-In Help||Gift AND up to one month’s pay|
|House Cleaner||Gift AND one week’s pay|
|Barber or Hairdresser||Cost of one visit|
|Trash Collectors||$10 to $30 each|
|Personal Trainer||Cost of one session|
|Dog Walker or Groomer||Cost of one session|
|Newspaper Carrier||$10 to $30|
|Handyman||$15 to $40|
|Building Superintendent||$20 to $80|
|Yard Worker||$20 to $50|
|Teachers||Small gift or note from you AND a small gift from your child|
I just gotta say:
Holy Guacamole, Are You Kidding Me?
I’m sorry, but are these positions not paid enough? Do the employees have to depend on the kindness of customers? I’ll exclude teachers (they’re arguably the most important of the group) — we should help them out, even though my kids attend a private school that charges me over $10,000 per year in tuition and then nickels and dimes me the rest of the year ($14 for my family to go to one high school basketball game?). As far as the rest of the people on this list, no way. I either don’t use them or it isn’t practical.
The trash guy? Gimme a break! He drives off nonchalantly when he negligently spills trash all over my yard with his giant robotic arm that slings my trash can around. The barber has gone up for the last 5 straight years even though he’s cutting less and less of my hair! I can’t imagine tipping a building superintendent since I own my own home. I don’t use paid babysitters (I have teenage daughters), only had one massage in my life and it was rather uncomfortable when I couldn’t help but wonder halfway through it if the masseuse was the older sister of my daughter’s best friend.
I don’t get the paper and I’ve had four different mail carriers this year alone. I walk and groom my own dog, work on my own lawn, fix what needs fixing, and clean my own home. This could be a list of “save money by doing these things yourself!”
Has tipping just gone too far?
Maybe tipping in and of itself hasn’t gotten out of hand, but the expectations sure have. It seems that everywhere I go someone has put out a tip jar, and it’s suspiciously primed with coinage and a few bills. Everyone from the Starbucks drive through to the dry cleaners to the deli has a clear bucket by the cash register just waiting on a tip. I wonder if the Salvation Army could increase their kettle donations if the kettle were clear plastic? What are your thoughts on all this tipping madness? I waited tables for over a year when I was first married so I know what it’s like to live on $1.85/hour plus tips. But when you have a job with the city, driving a truck and picking up trash with a robotic arm while making $43,000/year, it’s a little different in my book. When I tip, I tip extremely well, but I usually only tip waiters or someone that I know lives on tips AS their income. The instances cited by Emily Post are for jobs that have a steady paycheck. In these cases, a “tip” is really a gift and I reserve gifts mainly for people who are close to me.