where wildly different is perfectly normal
To tip or not to tip?
To tip or not to tip?

To tip or not to tip?

[Wordpress has gone to a new format. I cannot decide if I like it or not. I haven’t had time since it changed yesterday afternoon to figure it out. So instead I log on, whimper at everything being in the wrong place, and start writing. Don’t ask how long it took yesterday to find the “new post” button]

So it’s that time of year again. Do I tip peripheral workers, or no? People I’ve never met. People like the milkman (Yes we have a milkman. Yes it is organic happy milk from hippie cows. Yes they make killer eggnog that makes Tom’s eyes roll up into his skull). I’ve never met the guy; he’s on my front porch at 3 am. If I’m up at 3 am, there’d damn well either be a newborn or a vomit virus in my house. He bringeth milk. He taketh empties. Do I tip? How much?

What about the paper delivery dude? It’d be great if my paper actually made it to my porch, but the boys fight over who gets to retrieve it, so it’s a moot point. Do I tip? How much?

The mailman. I have to walk my lazy ass around the corner to pick up my mail, it’s not delivered to my porch. I’ve never met the mailman/woman/person/sentient robot. I do know that the person we have now is considerably better than the guy we had previously. It was not uncommon to find random bills under the mailboxes, and I’d frequently receive my neighbors’ mail. On the upside, I met a lot of my neighbors that way. Do I tip? How much?

The FedEx gal has brought so many boxes to my house that I’d tip her in a heartbeat…but by the time I get to the door, she has already pulled out of my driveway. She rocks.

My hairdresser, who I’ve had for 7 years, gets tipped, usually a Starbucks gift card that supports her caffeine habit.

My babysitters get tipped…’cause if you’ve cared for my boys you’ve earned a tip, and maybe combat pay.

It’s a tough call. I guess I tip those who I know, and send general blessings through the universe to those I don’t know. Sorry, milkman, you’re getting blessings this year.

Now on to teachers…sigh…


  1. RC

    While you are at it, can you figure out the whole “daycare provider” thing for me? I know all the teachers, and the two senior-type ones (director & assistant) work with me on scheduling issues and the like. Little Dude has had three different main teachers, who all float into his room at some point during the day. That is five gifts, at least? Do I get a fruit basket or something similar, for the whole bunch?

  2. Aly

    This is such a hard challenge every year, isn’t it? What gets me is when I don’t have cash on me and pay by credit card at the drive through. The receipt has a place for a tip. Do I tip for the cashier handing me a piece of paper and a pen out the window? Tipping is just an ongoing battle!

  3. I say tip but tip small. We don’t know what others are going throug this season and how hard things are for them. Will $5 help them out at christmas? No, but it will make them feel better that they were thought of and people who feel better do great things and pay it forward and go home happy at night and everyone benefits.

  4. Oz

    I’ve never even thought of tipping the mailman. Now I’m wondering who else I’ve forgotten about tipping. Yikes.

    Hey, RC, here’s how I’m handling the daycare thing: I’m getting a box of bagels for the whole group, and then giftcards for the teachers in my son’s room. I’m not sure if that’s the best way to handle it, but I figure it’s the thought that counts.

  5. I’m certain they get freaking boatloads of baked goods — and I can’t put a $$ value on their service so I always just leave a package of baked goodies out for them.

    Having been in the classroom — food and giftcards are great, even if it’s just a little for the local coffee place.

    Also, I do not tip at a restaurant unless someone brings me my food – regardless of the tip jar / tip line on the charge receipt.

Whaddya think?

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