ASK DR. DISH: Tip the mailman?

Question: Hey Dr. Dish, Are you still answering questions? (Wait — that’s not my question!) My question is about tipping during the holidays. It’s tradition that we locals put out beer and give money to the garbage man. But what about the mailman? Are there other people we are forgetting to tip?

Answer: First off, Dr. Dish is back — but I’m trying to figure out when. We’ve replaced Ask Dr. Dish with Cat Chat on Wednesdays. Right now I’m plugging in Dr. Dish blogs whenever I have space. But don’t stop sending me questions! I’m collecting!

OK, now to your question!

I was thinking about this the other day when I walked past a Salvation Army bell ringer outside Safeway. You don’t see them at any other time of the year. Which got me thinking about the other donations we tend to make during the holidays.

Namely, tipping or giving gifts to the people who make our lives a bit easier.

Postal workers, garbage men, firefighters, gardeners, lifeguards — yes, they get gifts, too — coaches, personal trainers, hair stylists babysitters. Sure, we might pay them already, but shouldn’t we give them a little something more during the holidays?

Truth is, it’s up to you.

Rule of thumb for folks to which you pay for a service: gifts should amount to the cost of a single service. For hairstylists, the gift should be worth a haircut; for a personal trainer, a single session.

For the ones who provide a free service — trash collectors, mail carriers, postal workers — a gift or cash between $10 and $30 is acceptable. But keep in mind, some government employees — even mail carriers — can’t accept cash or gifts exceeding $20.

The safest — and most economical — gift to give: food. Homemade or store-bought — most folks won’t complain about edible goodies.

Anyone have thoughts about this?


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