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I had a paper route as a kid in rural Colorado. Many, many people tipped me at Christmas time. I thought this was pretty standard.

 

Some sort of subtle reminder is not out of the question, to my mind. I'd love if my carrier left a little envelope with "Happy Holidays" and a way to provide her tip so easily.

 

 

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Where we lived before, we received the local newspaper and also, years ago, the Miami Herald International edition, before it was discontinued.  We never tipped the delivery people and we never received anything from them, suggesting that we tip them.

 

Yesterday, I gave $ (a Christmas present Tip), to the 3 men who work on the garbage truck that comes to our house twice a week. 

 

I am not sure there is a tactful way to ask for tips and I suspect that a request for tips might result in the loss of some of your customers or some of them complaining about the request to the newspaper circulation department. 

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It has always been customary to tip the delivery person here. When I was a carrier (as a kid) we would deliver a calendar in person to each customer. The calendar was printed by the newspaper. The delivery of the calendar was the "signal" for lack of a better term, that it was time for the yearly tip.

 

I split my tips (through the year) for the carrier because I try to give $1 per week as a tip, plus more at Christmas. By having a subscription, I'm paying less than if I'd buy it myself, plus it comes to my door. That's worth an extra $1 to me.

 

Michele, I wouldn't waste money on the stamped envelopes, even for a portion of your customers. A first class stamp is $.046!!! That is crazy. A card that says something like it's been a pleasure to serve you and I look forward to continuing, etc...should be enough of a signal if the culture of your delivery service includes a Christmas tip.

 

Good luck!

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I have never tipped the mail carrier, the newspaper person or the trashman. It never occurred to me and I don't think it was something that happened in the area I lived in. The trash man never got out of the trash truck at all and was lazy lazy (would dump trash everywhere and not pick it up). I doubt he would have gotten out of the truck to pick anything up from the top of the can.

 

As far as tips to the newspaper lady, the newspaper lands at random inconvenient spots in the driveway and I wouldn't have a way to leave her anything. Half the time, I can't find the paper..lol

 

I did buy some popcorn mix from the sausage place in the mall...it looks really good and thought that the mail man and our NEW trash man would appreciate that. It never occurred to me to leave them cash. Goodness. Is leaving a $10 bag of yummy popcorn a faux pas? I wouldn't have ever guessed that.

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I honestly don't think there is a way to tactfully ask for tips. Also, I think you should only include a cute card (with at least your first name) if you really want to wish those customers a happy new year. And it couldn't hurt just to be nice to your customer base. Lastly even those who do tip may not do so as speedily as you may like -- they may get ground to it after the holidays. So you might be on your own for gifts this season.

 

I could see some weekend or Sunday only subscribers just stopping their service if they felt pressured or awkward.

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I have never tipped the mail carrier, the newspaper person or the trashman. It never occurred to me and I don't think it was something that happened in the area I lived in. The trash man never got out of the trash truck at all and was lazy lazy (would dump trash everywhere and not pick it up). I doubt he would have gotten out of the truck to pick anything up from the top of the can.

 

As far as tips to the newspaper lady, the newspaper lands at random inconvenient spots in the driveway and I wouldn't have a way to leave her anything. Half the time, I can't find the paper..lol

 

I did buy some popcorn mix from the sausage place in the mall...it looks really good and thought that the mail man and our NEW trash man would appreciate that. It never occurred to me to leave them cash. Goodness. Is leaving a $10 bag of yummy popcorn a faux pas? I wouldn't have ever guessed that.

 

Why would it be a faux pas to leave a present? I think you are looking pretty hard for ways to feel put out.

 

 

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When I did newspaper delivery there was never tips.  One house would leave an xmas card but that was it.  I did 3 routes 364days a year (we got xmas day off), I would start my routes at 130am and finish at 6am.  I would have been pleasantly surprised if I had gotten any tips and it never would have crossed my mind to solicit them.  Tips should never be counted on when figuring out how to pay your bills, I assume if you need them to get you through this season it is because of buying gifts for xmas with $ you would normally allocate to bills?  While it is understandable to be feeling the pinch especially when hoping for tips and not getting them, a tip is not required.  It is a customary way to say thank you to a service person but certainly not an expectation worthy of soliciting for.  In fact if I got a solicitation from a newspaper carrier I would likely report it as a complaint to the company. Completely tacky imo.

 

Tips can be counted on when figuring out how to pay bills in many, many professions.  Cab drivers, wait staff, hairdressers, bar tenders, cleaning people. It is completely customary to tip the newspaper person- Google it.  I doubt you will find a lot of "no one tips the newspaper person!" responses and a whole lot of the opposite.  Here, I'll help: Do you tip newspaper carrier at Christmas?

 

I think a whole lot of "no one around here does it" really means "we never did, my parents never did, I didn't think of it". Unless you have asked more than one neighbor, don't presume to know what everyone else is doing.  

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I didn't know you were supposed to tip the paper carrier. I also find it so strange when people say they leave cards, money, or baked goodies for the mailman. I wouldn't even think that a government employee could accept those types of gifts?

 

They can accept non-cash gifts valued at under $20.

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I meant to write this before, about the stamped envelopes.

 

When my DD did her GS Gold project, she gave activity bags to the patients on the long term epilepsy monitoring ward. She included a stamped postcard with a 3 question survey. She had a 20% return rate.

 

We value everyone of those but if only 20% of people used them when receiving a gift, I wonder if the rate wouldn't be any better if people were using them to give a gift.

 

It just seems like it'd be a waste, IMHO.

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That said, the newspaper company I work for tells us to solicite tips each December. It has always been done here and I was simply trying to figure out a way to do it respectfully.

 

Have you asked your co-workers how they handle it?

 

When I was a subscriber, the carrier included in the bag a photocopied hand-drawn card that said something like "Happy Holidays!" with his name and address.  I appreciated this method very much - and some of the suggestions up-thread would be a complete turn-off to me.

 

Don't include envelope or SASE.

 

Don't say a word about your personal finances.  Either the customers feel like rewarding the service or they don't.  A carrier with five kids is the same as a carrier who is a retired guy supplementing his Social Security.  Both are doing the same job.  How they do or don't spend their money is irrelevant.

 

I don't think it's too late to do anything this year, but in the future you may want to get it done a couple weeks earlier.  People may lose the generous mood pretty quickly after Christmas!  ;)

 

 

 

 

 

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I think there's still time to give out a holiday card with your name and address, and I appreciate when our mail carrier does this.  There's so much turnover here it really helps to know the person's name.   I'm sorry this thread has taken a less than supportive turn.  I completely understand counting on holiday tips and think your best bet is to send general good wishes, rather than referring directly to tipping or to supporting your family since that might alienate some.

 

I hope it works well and mountains of tips pour in! :) 

 

Amy

 

 

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We've never tipped a newspaper or mail carrier. Heck, DH and I were discussing the other day if we were supposed to tip the guys that dry off our vehicles at the car wash. If tips are the norm and expected or someone will be offended; i think a "tips are appreciated" disclaimer would be nice to have. I'd happily tip if I knew it was expected of me. It may only be a dollar because we are tight financially but i would definitely make an effort.

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Here's my vote:

 

A simple card with the first of your suggested statements.

 

No envelopes and certainly no stamps (too expensive).

 

 

 

I know the paper delivery pays very little for a fair amount of work and time. It's only fair that you be compensated for your service. Tips are customary and expected, and I am sorry that there has been less for you this year.

 

You're a real sweetie. I pray that God will provide all that you need, and that He provides even more abundantly with some unneeded but appreciated treats for you and your family as well.

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How about something like, "Dear _____, Happy holidays! I love my job, and I appreciate your business! May 2014 bring you much joy and happiness. Whether the 2014's news in the paper is good or bad, I hope your family news in 2014 is always wonderful. Sincerely, Mary Jones (or whatever your full name is)."

 

 

I'd write something similar to this.  I'd address the note to customer,  with your name and address (or preferably post box) on the back. You could put this on the front of the paper with a paperclip so that they don't miss it. 

 

If they were planning on tipping, this is a gentle reminder that the paper does not appear on the porch by magic.

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I think a card with your address is fine and not too late to do.   You may just want to do an annual note with your address and phone number to call if they ever have a problem with the delivery (if calling you is an option).  Our carrier changes pretty often around here, so the note is nice because we don't even know who are carrier is.

 

Also, I suggest adding a short thank you note in the papers of those who have tipped you so they know that you received it.  Our old carrier from years ago had a form thank you note - just a slip of paper that was typed out with a thank you - she probably had a bunch and just grabbed it when she received a tip.  We also got that note pretty much the day after we tipped her.  I appreciated knowing that she received it.

 

 

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I'd give each customer a Christmas/holiday card.  Maybe include a tiny candy cane....

 

When I was a paper kid, almost everyone tipped without any sort of suggestion / reminder.  I think an obvious suggestion could be a turnoff.

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I have a paper route, too, and I just put out my Christmas cards last week (Sat., Sun, & Mon. of last week). The newspaper "provides" the Christmas cards (at a cost to me of $.06 each.) They forbid "begging" and require religiously neutral greetings.

 

I agonized for weeks, because the carriers that get big tips are the same ones in trouble for begging.

 

I finally went with: an envelope addressed with my name and address, but no stamps. A note inside that thanked my customers for patience when the weather was bad (we just had a week with incredibly slick roads) and that thanked my customers for the tips I have received. The note repeated my name and address.

 

I figured that what I was really wanting was to make sure that the customers who didn't know tipping was possible/customary knew it was done, so genuinely thanking those who have been tipping through their bill would do the trick.

 

I don't know the end result, but in the week since I've received about $250 in tips (and one small box of chocolates), ranging from $1.00 (Elderly lady) to $60.00. Most came in the mail; several were left on doorsteps or in delivery tubes; and one person was watching for me and ran out with cash.

 

I've just given notice to quit. The early morning hours are wearing me down.

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Piping in late, but I hope you have a blessed season, Michelle, and that your tips increase!  Delivering newspapers requires a lot of diligence and faithfulness and that for very low pay.  I'm surprised at the "It'd never occur to me to tip -- they already get paid" thoughts that I see. My 13yo son delivers newspapers on his bike six days a week, puts them exactly where his customers want them, and is very quick to respond if there's ever a missed paper. He's out there on his bike even when it's 5 degrees, icy and dark in the winter or 100 degrees with no shade in the summer. He makes about $.09 per paper each day, so about $2.16 per customer a month. He really, really appreciates any tips he receives.

 

This thread reminded me to help him get his note onto the papers tomorrow (and to get a gift out to our mail carrier!).  We just attach a photo copied greeting under the rubber band of each one; I have a lot of extra Christmas cards this year so maybe we'll stick the photocopies inside of one of those. His message will say something like "Season's greetings ~ I hope my service has been satisfactory this year.  If you ever need me to redeliver a paper, my phone number is below.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! [Name, phone number and address]."

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I would prefer that the newspaper pay the carrier a little more and then stop encouraging them to solicit for tips.  If the price of the paper needs to be raised, do it. But stop paying less than a fair wage and encouraging carriers to beg. 

 

But I feel that way about MANY jobs, starting with the barista at Starbucks. 

 

 

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My parents delivered newspapers for 25 years (most of my childhood was spent riding along every night until I was old enough to drive around myself).  There were years they would print up a page with some snowmen and "happy holidays" or something on it and their first names, never last or our address (though for some of the local routes people did know who we were).  Some people leave tips, some don't and it is usually the same people every year that tip whether my parents sent one out or not.  Some people do leave some really nice tips for their paper carriers.  Some would even be standing outside waiting for us in the middle of the night. 

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I would prefer that the newspaper pay the carrier a little more and then stop encouraging them to solicit for tips.  If the price of the paper needs to be raised, do it. But stop paying less than a fair wage and encouraging carriers to beg. 

 

But I feel that way about MANY jobs, starting with the barista at Starbucks. 

 

Papers are barely making it as it is.  Many have already gone under, even major ones.  It would be nice, but it's not going to happen. 

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I have a paper route, too, and I just put out my Christmas cards last week (Sat., Sun, & Mon. of last week). The newspaper "provides" the Christmas cards (at a cost to me of $.06 each.) They forbid "begging" and require religiously neutral greetings.

 

I agonized for weeks, because the carriers that get big tips are the same ones in trouble for begging.

 

I finally went with: an envelope addressed with my name and address, but no stamps. A note inside that thanked my customers for patience when the weather was bad (we just had a week with incredibly slick roads) and that thanked my customers for the tips I have received. The note repeated my name and address.

 

I figured that what I was really wanting was to make sure that the customers who didn't know tipping was possible/customary knew it was done, so genuinely thanking those who have been tipping through their bill would do the trick.

 

I don't know the end result, but in the week since I've received about $250 in tips (and one small box of chocolates), ranging from $1.00 (Elderly lady) to $60.00. Most came in the mail; several were left on doorsteps or in delivery tubes; and one person was watching for me and ran out with cash.

 

I've just given notice to quit. The early morning hours are wearing me down.

 

Just wanted to add I got a card from our newspaper deliverer one year and thought it was really odd, couldn't figure out why he was sending a card.  If you didn't grow up with the paper (many people don't) or weren't from a family that tipped, you might have NO CLUE anyone would.  Seems like a total oddity to me, frankly.  I really feel for you and want you to have everything you want and need.  I think however that if the carrier had sent something like what Maus described (thanking customers for their tips the previous year) at least it would be obvious.  As a consumer though, I don't feel a need to tip a newspaper carrier I never see or receive personal service from.  Of course our paper has gone missing, been stolen, etc. so many times on and off over the years, we probably don't feel as kindly toward ours as your customers do toward you.  :D

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When we got paper delivery, we always got a note from our newspaper carrier around Christmas time, discussing the precarious financial situation that they were in and asking for tips; the letter included the delivery person's name and address.  I'm not necessarily recommending that tactic, but without something from the person providing their name and address, it would have been impossible to tip them, as we never saw them in person and did not have any interactions with them (our subscription transactions were handled directly with the newspapers).

 

:svengo:

 

Except for my 3 days at Burger King, every job I ever had invloved below-minimum-wage hourly rates and tips. And still the thought of teling customers I was broke and asking for extra money just bothers me.

 

We don't get a newspaper delivered. I do not tip my mail carrier. But if I did get a letter from my newspaper deliverer telling me how broke they were and asking for money I would have to restrain myself from replying to them with a letter telling them how much broker WE are, with a sob story of how #*@%ing sick I am of PB&Js and Ramen noodles. Then I would cancel my subscription and buy chicken for dinner with the money I saved. :nopity:

 

But back to the OP:

I hope your tips increase this Christmas. I think there is no perfect solution- some people will be deeply offended by an outright statement asking for tips. Others are truly clueless and unless you specify "Send generous holiday tips to blahblahblah" they will just think you're a nice person wishing them Happy Holidays. Other people will tip you no matter what, others will not/cannot. :grouphug:

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I haven't seen an actual 'paperboy' in about 20 years.  In all the places we lived, we got our subscription and paid everything to the paper, usually quarterly and the last few times have been credit card on line.  I wouldn't have a clue if we had one person delivering or several working different days (as with our mail) and I'd never see them to give an actual tip.  It would never occur to me to tip you as I'd never have seen you, or ever paid you.

 

Do these people pay you directly (as the kids that delivered when I was in high school did) or is it all mail/online payment? 

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There have been a lot of thoughtful comments made and I just want to say thank you. Many blessings to all of your families and I hope you Christmas is filled with love and joy. :)

Same to you, Michelle -- and I hope my comment didn't seem unsympathetic. I keep trying to think of a way that you can let your customers know that you appreciate tips, but I don't know how you can do it without making it look like you expect to receive them. I also think it depends on your own personal comfort level. I don't think it would hurt to give your customers Christmas cards with a little note about how much you appreciate their business and how it helps you support your family, so they feel a bit of a personal connection with you.

 

I hope you get lots of tips over the next few days, as you're working very hard at a job that has lousy hours and doesn't pay very well, so I hope your customers appreciate how lucky they are to have you delivering their paper to them every day. I think people tend to take good service for granted until they get a new person who does a terrible job, and if they don't know you personally, it's easy to forget that you are a real person who deserves their thanks.

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I know this thread is long, but if you decide based on which ends up the majority opinion, place me in the category of those who tip whenever possible for great service, but I would not tip if someone reminded me expectantly that I should do so.

 

I would be fine with a friendly card or note that said something like, "Thank you for allowing me to serve you, best wishes for the coming New Year." and included information including mailing address and phone number in case I needed to contact them for any reason in the coming year. Anything more than that, and I'd put it in the trash immediately, and I'm part of a service industry that runs on tips.

 

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Do you deliver a paper people subscribe to or is it a free community newspaper that gets left on everyone's driveway? In the first case, I'd include a Happy Holidays message to remind people to tip you. In the second, I think you're just out of luck since many people don't want the paper and just put it straight in recycling.

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I don't understand the whole culture of tipping and people expecting to get tips above their wage for every single job and even asking for a tip :huh:.  A completely foreign concept to me.

We have tons of jobs that rely on tipping here in the US.  Waiters/waitresses and newspaper delivery are paid ridiculously low wages and tipping is customary to offset this.  I know I used to do paper delivery, and 5 hours a day, 7 days a week got me a whole whopping $150 a month.  So yeah...it's good form to tip.  

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My parents tipped the "newspaper boy" when I was growing up.  They knew his name, his address, and his phone number.  If the paper got delivered without a bag and it rained, they could call him up and ask for another paper.  He came by every month to collect payment.  

 

Now, I would have no idea how to tip our newspaper delivery person.  I don't know their name, address, phone number, etc.  The paper sometime comes at 3:00am, sometimes 6:00am, etc.  If there is any problem, I have to call the newspaper company, not the deliver person.

 

My mom always baked cookies, or provided other treats, for the garbage collectors and mail carrier.  DH and I had a great mail carrier for a while.  We knew his name, he knew our name, he got mail delivered to the correct house, watched for deliveries when he knew we were away, etc.  (We live in one of those rare places where the mail carrier still walks door-to-door to deliver the mail.)  We would give him something for Christmas.  He retired and now we seem to have a different mail carrier every few days.  We have had at least five times in the past month we have gotten the wrong people's mail--totally different names, different street names, and different house numbers.  Last week DD received a college acceptance and there was another packet from the same university addressed to a high school senior DD knows a few blocks away in our mailbox.    

 

 

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If you don't want to give your home address, maybe this?  Or if you don't mind giving it, you could include that instead of or in addition to the paper's address.

 

"I hope you had a wonderful 2013 and have been happy with your delivery service this year.  It's been my pleasure to serve you, and I look forward to continuing to do so in 2014.  Should you want to contact me for any reason, please do so through the paper at: 

 

XYZ Publications

Address

Phone

 

Happy holidays!

Michelle, your XYZ delivery person"

 

 

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I would imagine tipping will get more sparse. A lot of people are in financial difficulties. I would let it go and work on a different job. If anything, I would not do a SASE or overt solicitation.

 

The bolded is exactly what I see happening.

 

My hubby used to get scads of tips during December--almost enough to cover all our Christmas expenses. But the last few years have been less and less, and this year almost nothing.

 

Except more cookies! LOL, much appreciated by me, even though I'm getting a little girthy.

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We have tons of jobs that rely on tipping here in the US.  Waiters/waitresses and newspaper delivery are paid ridiculously low wages and tipping is customary to offset this.  I know I used to do paper delivery, and 5 hours a day, 7 days a week got me a whole whopping $150 a month.  So yeah...it's good form to tip.  

 

Ridiculously low as in below the federally mandated minimum wage. 

 

When I was a waitress, I made $2.25/hour. That was fairly generous as restaurant jobs go.  The minimum wage at the time was, I believe, $8/hour.  Restaurant dining would be MUCH more expensive if it weren't for the custom of tips.   If newspaper delivery folks were paid minimum wage, the paper would be much more expensive too.

 

I am not a fan of the system. But, it is what it is, so I tip.

 

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Ridiculously low as in below the federally mandated minimum wage. 

 

When I was a waitress, I made $2.25/hour. That was fairly generous as restaurant jobs go.  The minimum wage at the time was, I believe, $8/hour.  Restaurant dining would be MUCH more expensive if it weren't for the custom of tips.   If newspaper delivery folks were paid minimum wage, the paper would be much more expensive too.

 

I am not a fan of the system. But, it is what it is, so I tip.

 

I understand about restaurant wages. Not having grown up in this culture, I am curious about those tipping rules:

how do you know who relies on tips because wages are pitiful, and why would it be customary to tip postal workers and garbage collectors, who do not earn such low wages?

Why the garbage collector and not a school teacher, seeing both are employed by the municipality?

Why the postal worker and not the librarian?

 

ETA: In my home culture, it is considered insulting to tip the owner of the business. So, if the self-employed owner of the hair salon cuts your hair himself, he should not be tipped - if an employed hair dresser does, she would be. You tip the waiter, but you don't tip the chef who owns the restaurant. Are there similar considerations in the US?

I would not consider it appropriate to tip any self-employed private teacher/tutor my children had; I would give them a Christmas gift (gift card, so almost like money - but handing them a check or cash would seem wrong). I would give a monetary tip if the private teacher was employed by some school or organization.

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I would find it horribly tacky, and it might be enough to make me decide against tipping you --- and I tip everybody.

 

Same here. I tip or give gifts to many people whose services I receive over the course of the year. I really do not appreciate overt requests for tips/gifts. Tips & gifts are truly extras, as a show of appreciation. They should not be overtly asked for, imho.

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I understand about restaurant wages. Not having grown up in this culture, I am curious about those tipping rules:

how do you know who relies on tips because wages are pitiful, and why would it be customary to tip postal workers and garbage collectors, who do not earn such low wages?

Why the garbage collector and not a school teacher, seeing both are employed by the municipality?

Why the postal worker and not the librarian?

 

ETA: In my home culture, it is considered insulting to tip the owner of the business. So, if the self-employed owner of the hair salon cuts your hair himself, he should not be tipped - if an employed hair dresser does, she would be. You tip the waiter, but you don't tip the chef who owns the restaurant. Are there similar considerations in the US?

I would not consider it appropriate to tip any self-employed private teacher/tutor my children had; I would give them a Christmas gift (gift card, so almost like money - but handing them a check or cash would seem wrong). I would give a monetary tip if the private teacher was employed by some school or organization.

 

When dh was self-employed, he would receive tips. He was a carpenter. He was often the one doing the work, sometimes one other person. He didn't receive them on every job, yet they were highly appreciated when they happened. I wouldn't say tips are standard or expected in his industry. They often came when he went out on an urgent call (like putting a tarp on the roof in the rain), when he worked for someone for a long period (he worked on one house for over a year almost full time),  or if someone was especially pleased with his work. 

 

While cash was appreciated, gift cards were nice too. Especially to a restaurant as we tried to eat out at someplace semi-nice, like Olive Garden, after he finished a longer job. Baked good were appreciated as well. 

 

I probably wouldn't tip someone who painted a few rooms, unless they were working it as a rush job, like this week. I would tip someone who did a room addition, or any other larger jobs. 

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I understand about restaurant wages. Not having grown up in this culture, I am curious about those tipping rules:

how do you know who relies on tips because wages are pitiful, and why would it be customary to tip postal workers and garbage collectors, who do not earn such low wages?

Why the garbage collector and not a school teacher, seeing both are employed by the municipality?

Why the postal worker and not the librarian?

 

ETA: In my home culture, it is considered insulting to tip the owner of the business. So, if the self-employed owner of the hair salon cuts your hair himself, he should not be tipped - if an employed hair dresser does, she would be. You tip the waiter, but you don't tip the chef who owns the restaurant. Are there similar considerations in the US?

I would not consider it appropriate to tip any self-employed private teacher/tutor my children had; I would give them a Christmas gift (gift card, so almost like money - but handing them a check or cash would seem wrong). I would give a monetary tip if the private teacher was employed by some school or organization.

 

It's not customary to tip postal workers or garbage collectors the same way as restaurant workers  (for every time you receive a service).  Like newpaper delivery workers and cleaning people, it's customary to just give a Christmas tip / 'bonus'. 

 

It is also customary to give a Christmas bonus ( and end-of-year bonus) a school teacher.

 

Why not the librarian? I don't know. Probably because they don't come to your home to perform their service.  All of the Christmas tip people I can think of come to your home, except teachers.

 

I agree with you that proprietors should not be tipped.

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It is also customary to give a Christmas bonus ( and end-of-year bonus) a school teacher.

 

Gifts, yes...... Tips, no. At least no where that my kids have gone to school, or where I've taught. We could accept gifts but not money.

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I understand about restaurant wages. Not having grown up in this culture, I am curious about those tipping rules:

how do you know who relies on tips because wages are pitiful, and why would it be customary to tip postal workers and garbage collectors, who do not earn such low wages?

Why the garbage collector and not a school teacher, seeing both are employed by the municipality?

Why the postal worker and not the librarian?

 

ETA: In my home culture, it is considered insulting to tip the owner of the business. So, if the self-employed owner of the hair salon cuts your hair himself, he should not be tipped - if an employed hair dresser does, she would be. You tip the waiter, but you don't tip the chef who owns the restaurant. Are there similar considerations in the US?

I would not consider it appropriate to tip any self-employed private teacher/tutor my children had; I would give them a Christmas gift (gift card, so almost like money - but handing them a check or cash would seem wrong). I would give a monetary tip if the private teacher was employed by some school or organization.

It depends where you live. I only tip jobs I know are customarily tip-reliant: bartenders, wait service, etc. I have family who work those jobs, so I know which ones near me are usually tipped. I have been rather confused and taken aback by the breadth of who gets tipped some places. I know teachers are sometimes given holiday or thank you gifts, but it's not required. But garbage collectors?i give our mail lady cookies because I like her and I would give her cookies if she was my neighbor, but it's not required. So really, it varies by region and cultural differences.

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