Every year I write an article about how I am not going to tip my mail carrier for the holidays. I’m not a fan of tipping my mailman, garbage man, and a long list of other folks. I typically take a lot of heat in the comment section for my anti-Christmas holiday tipping philosophy.
There are several reasons that I refrain from tipping certain people in my life, like my mailman.
But, there are those that I go out of my way to give a tip to such as my housekeeper, my barber, and my guitar instructor. I’m not going to tip my mail carrier this Christmas. Who are you tipping this year?I'm not going to tip my mail carrier this Christmas. And here's why. Who are you tipping this year?Click To Tweet
A List of Popular Holiday Tipping
Every year the major publications publish their lists of holiday tips and holiday tipping guides on how you should consider giving to these people in your life during Christmas and the holidays. The following are part of the holiday tipping tips and guide that appears originally in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
- Mail Carrier – The U.S. Postal Service forbids mail carriers from accepting cash and says gifts must be under $20 in value.
- Baby Sitter – One to two nights’ pay is about right for a babysitter
- Cleaning Person – The cost of one visit is considered appropriate
- Dog Walker – Tip your regular dog walker up to a week’s pay.
- Hairstylist – The normal cost of a visit would be a nice tip for a stylist you see regularly.
- Newspaper Delivery Person – Consider giving $10 to $30, unless you tip regularly throughout the year.
- Nursing Home Worker – A personal gift such as homemade cookies or fudge (consider enough for multiple people on shifts)
- Superintendent, resident manager – $75-$175 on average
- Parking garage attendant – $25-$75 on average
- Doorman and/or concierge – $25-$150 on average
- Porters, handyman, and maintenance staff – $20-$30 on average
- Personal Trainer – $50 or up to the cost of a session
- Music Instructor (Lessons) – $50 or up to the cost of a lesson
- Your Child’s Teacher – Small gift, accompanied by a note or drawing by your child
- Au Pair/Nanny/Day Care Provide – Small gift, accompanied by a note or drawing by your child
- Trash Collectors – Tip each of your trash $10 to $30.
- Virtual Assistant / Remote Worker – A week’s salary or the equivalent of one small project
Factors to Consider Regarding Holiday Tipping
Trying to determine who you should tip during the holidays can be tough. And, there are no right or wrong answers. It’s a very personal decision.
Here are are few things to consider when deciding who to tip:
- Did you personally hire them?
- Do they depend on your tips instead of a salary?
- How close are you to the person?
- Do you truly like the service he or she provides during the year?
- Does the same person habitually provide you with the service?
- Do you live in a building with a doorman, supervisor, etc.?
- Do you live in a large city or a small town?
- Can you afford to give a tip?
I Personally Hired Get a Christmas Tip
One rule of thumb that I use in my own holiday tipping guide is whether or not I hired the person. I typically do not give a holiday tip to my garbage man, mail carrier, teacher, and the like.
I do enjoy giving a holiday gift or tip to people that I have hired to help me such as my housekeeper, gardener, guitar instructor who gives me lessons, and others. I’ve realized that you have to spend wisely because the budget always seems tight.
I really wanted the services that these people provide, and that is why I sought them out to hire them. These are the types of people that I give a holiday tip to during Christmas time.
Those Whose Salaries Depend on Tips
I am a big proponent of tipping people whose salaries predominantly depend on receiving tips. Those, of course, are people whose jobs are food servers, hairdressers, and the like. These are the people who need tips or extra tips during the holidays. These are the people with jobs that we should support with other additional tips.
Your mailman does not need a holiday tip. He or she makes enough as it is.
Even the independent contractors who deliver rural mail earn 100% of their salary from their salary and no tips are expected. If your mail carrier goes above and beyond the call of duty such as checking on the elderly and the like, then there may be a reason for a tip during the holidays.
Under federal regulations, mail carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount. Additionally, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.
Maybe my mail carrier is an innocent bystander who is caught up in my dislike for the USPS and the actual post office’s service. There is a reason why they require a bailout from the federal government every year thanks to their leadership’s poor mismanagement.
Every year, I get beat up in the comment section below by disgruntle mail carriers and USPS employees who claim that the Post Office doesn’t receive a government bailout. But, they do. It might not be labeled as a “bailout”, but if they have to receive a cash infusion every year from the federal government like Amtrak to make ends meet, what is that?
It’s a bailout! It’s a bailout by a different name. The USPS is subsidized every year by the government and every year they run at a loss and need government help to stay a going concern.
It’s not a bailout in the 2008 financial collapse sense of the phrase. The Post Office reported a loss of $2.7 billion for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2018, which was better than a $5.6 billion loss in the prior year. The Postal Service reported a net loss of $3 billion on total revenue of $18.5 billion for the fiscal year third quarter of 2021.
This marks the 15th straight year of the USPS operating at a loss. It’s a bailout of another name. But, a bailout is still a bailout.
And, of course, the mandatory pension funding obligation and union stranglehold doesn’t help either. And, while I’m on my soapbox, I’m so sick of all the postage rate hikes too!
The U.S. Postal Service is set to raise stamp prices this Fall, increasing the cost of regular postage by 5.5%. First-Class Mail Forever stamps, as well as the cost of mailing a single-piece, 1-ounce letter, will go from $0.55 to $0.58.
But, I digress…
People I Skip Tipping at Christmas
You probably may also want to consider skipping giving a tip to any of the professional people in your life. Here is a list of people that I do NOT tip:
- Mail Carrier
- Garbage Collector
Tipping Servers During the Holidays
My wife has changed the way that I tip servers at restaurants. In fact, during the holidays, we have a new family tradition where we go out to dinner (usually to Waffle House) on Christmas Eve. And, we often leave a big tip.
I’ll say right up front that I’ve never worked in the foodservice industry. I don’t know anything about it other than being a customer. When I met my wife, I gave a standard 15% tip for average to great service, but I was also ruthless when there was bad service. The server got 10% if they were lucky.
It is absolutely true when they say that opposites attract. That fits my wife and me to a T in most respects. She’s the yin to my yang. She is a very kind and generous woman. And, like most husbands’ wives, she brings out the best in me. My wife has always been a big believer in a 20% standard tip.
After four years of dating and now over 11 years of marriage, she has changed me for the better with my poor tipping habits with her tipping tips. About three or four years ago, I started giving a standard 20% tip for even average service.
If you’re like my wife and not the best at math, here is a tip card that you can download and print off. Keep it in your purse or wallet in case you don’t have your cell phone handy. It’ll help you figure out how much tip to leave your server.
What About Over Tippiing?
Are we reinforcing bad behavior by tipping too much? A friend of mine thinks that excessive tipping contributes to poor service at restaurants. And, we can extrapolate that sentiment to other services as well.
Let’s say, for example, that I have poor service one day at a restaurant, but I still give the waiter a 20% tip on my meal. In his or her mind, the server must have done a great job. But, the truth of the matter was that it was just okay service and maybe even borderline below average.
Now, if my friend goes back to the same restaurant the next day, and he will most likely get the same service because I’ve been positively reinforcing the server’s bad behavior with excellent tips. It’s a case like Pavlov’s dogs, and I’ve conditioned the waiter to give unacceptable service because of my tipping habits.
And, now thanks to COVID-19 and the horrible plight of service industries, 20% may be the new norm and 25% to 30% the new standard for excellent service. Like the current inflation on many goods across the United States, higher tips are a new cost that is likely here to stay.
Be sure to check out my full blog post on excessive tipping and the second and third-order effects.
What About Banking at the Post Office?
Senator Ted Cruz and 18 of his Senate colleagues recently signed a letter opposing post office banking. Yet according to the Federal Reserve, about 63 million Americans are underbanked. They do not have regular access to commercial banking and instead are likely to rely on high-fee options such as check cashing outlets, money orders, and prepaid cards.
Banking with the US Post Office sounds like a horrible idea to me. While it will give more access to banking to many Americans, I’m skeptical if the post office can pull it off with good customer service.
I see long lines and wait times for services in our future. But, maybe banking is this business segment that can get the US Post Office back in the black and profitable.
So, should you give your mail carrier a cash tip this holiday season? Should you give them cookies or other baked goods?
The Christmas season is a time for giving, but it can also be a time of stress and disappointment. Many people get aggravated by the holiday rush like standing in long lines to buy gifts, traffic jams due to shoppers hitting the roads on the weekends at the same time as everyone else, or missing and delayed holiday packages.
While giving someone a tip may sound like a good idea initially, there are second and third-order effects that you may want to consider. But, are we reinforcing behaviors with our tipping that we don’t want?
What about you? Are you giving your mail carrier a holiday tip this year? How much are you giving? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. Go ahead…I’ve got thick skin.
102 thoughts on “Who Should Get a Christmas Tip? Your Mailman? Here’s Your Ultimate Holiday Tipping Guide!”
Agree. I have never even seen my mail carrier or garbagemen, and as I live in the city, it could be a different person every couple of days or weeks. Therefore, I’m not planning on tipping them.
I tip my mailman every year. We are both disabled and he really goes out of his way for us. He provides an extra service to us because he doesn’t stick a notice for a package in the mailbox, He delivers the package. He knows that it’s hard for us to get out. He gets cookies Valentine’s and Halloween and a gift card for Christmas.
Nice! Our mail carrier is not exactly young. He’s good to us, and he works hard! We give him a little something every Christmas.
I don’t see any where to reply to this article so I’ll reply to a comment. When I lived in NYC I used to tip my mail lady $50 every year and boy did she deserve it. She went out of her way to save my packages if I wasn’t home and would meet me after work at 6pm to give me all my packages and every day she would bring my mail to my door. I work from home and do a lot of online shopping. Last year we bought a house by the beach and have the same mailman every day, he too is amazing and goes out of his way for us. I have tipped him $100 this year plus a box of cookies I made that he loves. I am a firm believer in over tipping. When we go out to eat, hubby tips 25-30%, as he’s walking out I leave an extra $20 on the table for the waitress. I grew up poor, know what it’s like to be poor so now that we have our own business and doing pretty good (not rich) I do feel the need to give back. I also give way too much to animal charities, but that’s another story. I’m a huge animal lover myself. And they have found me. Lol
As a bartender and someone who give their extra time and money to an animal shelter in the St. Louis area, I appreciate your comment!
It’s not expected to get a big tip every time from everyone but it is alway appreciated. The server wage in MO is $2.74 per hour and this coming year the minimum wage was voted to raise to $10+ for everyone but tipped employees. We will still be making under $3.00. Tips make or break us always.
Many tipped employees wrk multiple jobs and people and employers demand great service. Tipping is required for us to pay our rent, buy groceries, and give to others. Tipping a regular server or bartender at Christmas is def a nice touch and may get you better service next time your at your favorite restaurant!!
I worked as a cocktail waitress in my younger days so I understand what you are saying. Everyone should have to work as a server and also in retail. Then they would understand why you don’t leave the clothes you tried on in a pile on the floor and you’d leave good tips for your server. They are both hard work.
I give my mailman a tip at Christmas. I live in a bad neighborhood and he always makes sure I get my mail. He does it with a smile, too. I always know when he’s on vacation because the mail gets lost. I’d give him way more than twenty dollars if I could afford it.
I tip my mail carrier more than is legally allowed because I leave town eight times a year and he is always having to start, stop, and hold my mail…I live in a small village surrounded by the huge Metropolis. I have the same delivery man nearly every day and we’ve become pretty good speaking friends.
To the author. There is no educational degree that can make you an expert on who to tip. To anyone who doesn’t tip the letter carrier: while it may say somewhere in “the rules” that we can’t be tipped, every manager and boss knows that we get tipped cold hard cash every year. It is openly accepted. I think everybody should do this job for one hour. If you did that even when the weather was perfect, you would give tip at least $50 per year. This work looks so easy when you look at the mailman. But let me tell you it is extremely physically demanding work even on the lightest mail days. During Christmas we work 80 hour per week. All year we walk 10 miles per day in anywhere from 5 degrees to 95 degree heat, here on most of Long island. Add rain, snow, ice, loose bricks, dog bites, bee stings, general injuries including broken bones , occasional vehicle/pedestrian deaths, and just plain old nasty people to that. We carry up to 30 bs of mail and parcels while looking at the addresses on the mail while navigating holes on lawns, hoses, toys electric cords, and those strings that ties down inflatable decorations. And we get yelled at when we trip over christmas lights. Fact 30% of the people on my route tip. The average is $20.00 but also get 5, 10 ,15, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 80 dollar tips. We also get cookies, hot chocolate etc. Anything at all is appreciated very much and we and give special attention to these people. We rely on it as part of our salary. I deliver to 412 house so do the math. Merry Christmas to the “expert” who wrote this article.
Man, the US postal service has it TOUGH nowadays! I think they lost like $18 billion or something this fiscal year.
How do I actually tip my mailman if I never see them though?
Sam, would you tip him or her if you saw him every day? Would that make a difference in your holiday tipping?
I wouldn’t usually tip my carrier, however I started a home business and he picks up packages from me a lot. He even checks if I don’t request a pick up. I can’t get to the post office so I count on him and his service
Tip mail carrier $20. Trash & recycling collectors each $20 and a bottle of liquor. Hair stylist $40 double the cost of haircut.
That deficit is for the postal service in totality. The mail carriers still get their salaries and have even received cola increases every year regardless of the postal service having lost money. Amazon makes bazillions. Their drivers do not. Regardless, I don’t tip my mailman with cash. He gets cookies (homemade of course) and the garbage collectors don’t get anything. They are paid quite well also and they don’t depend on tips. I think everyone should just do what they feel is best for them and their budget and not worry about what’s expected or not expected. I would however caution against going over the allowed amount for a mail carrier because you wouldn’t want someone to lose their job because they accepted something more than allowed.
This cleared up a lot of things for me, especially since this is the first year I have anyone to tip. Thanks!
Who are you planning on tipping this year?
Could not agree more. We’ll not be tipping the mail man. He’s doing his job, and not very well at that might I add. 😉 They get paid good money and to drive around stuffing mail in mailboxes. Now, if it’s someone I’ve hired or who depend on tips then I’ll definitely consider it.
I think that mail carriers who drive their routes around town get a bad rap because of those USPS employees who work inside the post office at the customer service desk.
True but mine, like his, gets a bad rap for not doing her job well.
I don’t know what you guys think is good money. I am a high school teacher, and I make $20,000 a year. The parents that gift me a restaurant or a gas gift card for Christmas are a Godsend. It’s so nice to know your hard work is appreciated even if they didn’t “personally hire” you. I will also be tipping my mailman who makes $15/hr. That’s not good money. Your hairdresser who makes $65-75 an hour? She makes good money, so why fatten her paycheck? I think we need to reassess what’s valuable in society.
Agreed! And teachers would be at the top of my list!!!
You are so right. People assume that school teachers make enough money, but that’s not true across the board, and people should be more aware of the fact. And, even a well-paid, hardworking teacher likes to know his/her efforts have not gone unappreciated. A lot of teachers pay out of their pockets for classroom supplies. Some stay way beyond the normal school hours. Others make themselves available online on weekends for kids to answer questions about schoolwork. If you can do nothing else, write a note to the administrator at the school commending the teacher–it costs nothing but can really help.
$20000 for a high school teacher sounds far too low to be true. Where are you located? Frankly, unless you are a part time teacher, I don’t believe you.
Private schools do not pay much unless they are elite. At Catholic school I earned thirty thousand a yea. Less pay—less stress from public schools
Teachers are underpaid and under appreciated. I don’t have children but I know from talking to others that teachers deserve a lot more respect and especially higher wages. If anyone deserves a “tip” it’s our teachers. They are forming our future leaders.
Yeah but in rural areas we don’t have mail trucks they use their personal vehicles and part of their salary is supposed to go towards their cars because small towns who can’t afford text books for all their kids definitely can’t afford for all the postal workers to have their own vehicles aswell so they have to use their everyday cars.
I actually agree with you. I think tipping has gotten out of control. And I think your “did I hire them or not?” is a good rule of thumb with some exceptions. I do live in a building and will tip people accordingly—the super, the doorman (though my future residence doesn’t have one), the porter, etc.
Behind-the-scenes people who do a lot of the work will never see a tip. And I really don’t feel comfortable tipping a garbage man or mail carrier, who in my area both make more money than I do. (Then again, in my areas many servers and hairstylists make a lot more than I do as well.)
You bring up a great point that things are a lot different around the country where something that is the norm in NYC is not the same in Charleston, SC or Fargo, ND.
I love my mail carrier, she brings the Dogs treats, delivers lots of packages (big online shopper). The clerks at my local Post Office are great as well, always extra friendly. I tip my carrier at Christmas, and bring goodies to Post Office. We are a town of about 35,000. Not big city, but not tiny little town. I appreciate the great service.
I have an eBay business and work from home. I live in a rural area and I rely on my USPS driver to give me excellent service. She picks my packages up, not at the mailbox but from a box I made behind our well house. She goes above and beyond what is expected of her. I was a UPS driver and I also understand what it’s like to drive in the thick of winter and in The heat of Summer. No air conditioning in the vehicles during the summer and heaters that barely works in the winter. Going into driveways that are not plowed, going toe-to-toe with dogs that are protecting their property and their owners. etc…… In my opinion it’s a job that one should get hazardous duty pay for, LOL. I do agree that it is their job but if someone goes above and beyond what is expected of them then why not give them something special for the holidays to show them that you appreciate what they do for you!
Do your research a little more thoroughly there, Hank.. The USPS has NEVER taken a federal bailout, much less every year as you claim.
Oh come on, Gary. They are subsidized every year by the government and every year they run at a loss and need government help to stay a going concern. In 2013, the US Postal Service losses reached $3.9B!! It’s not a bailout in the 2008 financial collapse sense of the phrase. It’s a bailout of another name. But, a bailout is still a bailout. In 2012, the USPS lost almost $16 billion, hit its own legal borrowing limit, and defaulted twice on required payments to the government. The Postal Service loses over $25 million every day and has turned to the government for help regularly.
Hank you got this one very wrong. The USPS does not receive any money from tax payers except to pay for mail for the blind and mail for some non-profit organizations. The USPS brings in billions annually but because of the heavy burden placed upon them by Congress (because of Fed Ex and UPS lobbying) the USPS can never get even. Overturn the bill that is forcing the USPS to prefund postal employee benefits and the USPS will be doing just fine. Right now the USPS is being forced to prefund postal employee benefits for employees who haven’t even been born yet. The Federal government is treating USPS income like its own personal slush fund that they dip into whenever they want. Where do you think all that money the USPS is being forced to prefund is going to? Right into the government coffers.
It’s a government agency providing a public service…are you upset that your local police department “takes a bailout” every year too? They are legally required to serve all Americans…should they cut out remote areas that don’t provide good profits to ensure they don’t have a deficit equal to .1% of the federal budget? And you’re against rate hikes…very interesting.
Sorry Hank, but you’re not getting off that easy. In 2006, Congress required USPS to prefund future retiree health benefits seventy years into the future, something no other Gov’t or private company was required to do. This was because USPS was profitable at that time, and was used as a cash cow. With out this prefunding, USPS would be a break even operation. And not a dime of tax payer money has been used toward the Postal Service in over forty years. Suggest you look it up.
USPS lost $3.9 billion in fiscal year 2018, according to a new report from the Task Force on the United States Postal System.
Having been a letter carrier for 36 years,I feel if a carrier goes above and beyond to serve the customer,than they deserve a tip.I never said no to anyone if they wanted me to buy stamps for them.If a customer needed one stamp,I gave them one out of my wallet.no charge.If it were raining,I put their parcels in a plastic bag to protect them from getting wet.The list is endless.I am now retired and can look back on my career with satisfaction knowing I always gave my customers good service with a smile.
I agree. My mailman and garbage man go above and beyond. My mailman walks my mail to the door (rural road) if it’s raining so that we do not have to leave. Always smiles. His braves the elements in the extreme weather months. I will be tipping.
My mail carrier is awesome and will be receiving the $20 he absolutely deserves.
Our mail carrier gets a tip. He is cold in the winter and hot in the summer. My 7 yr old grandson will often stand by the box to hand him a cold drink during his summer route and he is so appreciative. He goes the extra mile for us and he deserves the tip.
tom says: You sound a lot like my mailman. He’s the most considerate guy. I always tip him at Christmas for a job well done all year. A few times during the year, no particular holiday, if I bake cookies or fudge, etc., I always leave some in my postal box for him. I think it’s the courteous thing to do when someone consistently goes out of their way.
My mail carrier probably makes 3x as much as me so I definatly do not leave atip and I don’t believe I should their livelyhood does not depend on tips. I do however like my mail carrier and he has always been pleasent so my daughter draws him a picture and I put it in a Christmas card.
I love your response! Your gesture is one of the kindest things to do and say regarding this topic. Christmas is all about “generosity of spirit” and you have shown that in the purest of form!
I am a mail carriers wife. Let me tell you they work very hard!! They don’t get paid as well as people think they don’t get government benefits they are the ones who work in all weather, their trucks have no real heat or air. When there are empty routes they get split up instead of management filling in like they are ” contracted to”. While most people work 8-12 hour shifts and get paid for each one. Mail carriers DO NOT. Their routes are determined on how many boxes they have and how long management thinks it should take. My husband works 6 days a week and this time of year he has a lot of days he gets home well after 7pm he starts at 6:30am. Know who suffers the family. He knows all his customers by name and goesout of his way to pprovide great service. Your mail and packages don’t just magically get from one place to another. So remember just like your other service providers they are also one. Yes there are great ones and bad ones but they appreciate your gifts and kindness I know that a simple card makes mine feel like his service matters
Hi Jen, I agree with you. I am also a city carrier’s wife. My husband is a veteran of the Marine Corp and working with the Post Office for about 15 years. It is especially rough lately with all the Parcels from online shoppers that they have to deliver. UPS, FedEx and Amazon will have them deliver many of their packages. He has to go in at 7 am and comes home 10 pm and sometimes even later especially around the holiday season. They really do not get paid enough to handle the labor that they get paid to do. He as well knows everyone names and make sure everyone packages, mail or the person is taking care of. This article really did anger me on the opinion that he had not really thinking about the real work involved and what they sacrifice as well as their families.
I wish Hank could do a ride along with one of us carriers one day to see what really happens out there. Then I’ll show him my pay stub and he can tell me what he thinks about tips then. We carriers genuinely appreciate customers that acknowledge our service.
My boyfriend is too a mailman I would love to see these people walking 13 miles everyday in all types of weather making just enough money to live. His knees are going bad already and only been there for 7 years. People for some reason are so hostile towards mail carriers and I don’t understand why. It’s very rude to judge someone’s job when never even working it themselves
I do not tip the garbage or recycling people but do in fact tip my mail carrier! I appreciate all the hard work she does for me. I run a home business & depend on her to take care of many packages. She always goes out of her way to say hi & be friendly. Shes always smiling even though im sure secretly shes saying “not more packages!”. Its not about how much you tip someone, its often just saying “I appreciate you & the job you do for me”. I was a teacher for many years & always loved being recognized for my hard work all year caring & teaching others children. I feel you should use your discretion as far as tipping! Nowadays service people are not expecting anything, so whatever you give is aprreciated, even homemade gifts!!!
he never tips me at my job……
I do give at the holidays to the mail carrier. That said I live in a more rural than urban suburb. We have 2 consistent carriers… One on weekdays and one on Saturdays. They took the time to stop and introduce themselves when we moved in, the mail is on time and well delivered and they even do things like collect community food pantry donations so I don’t have to haul cans all around town. I’m happy to leave a little something at the holidays… Whether it be cookies or a $20. I don’t really see it as a tip, I see it as a thank you and a kind gesture.
Doing your job doesn’t deserve a tip. We all struggle at work one way or another and we all make sacrifices when it comes to are family regarding work. If you feel like giving a gift that’s a different story. It’s up to each individual person it’s not a standard.
I’m always perplexed by the notion of giving teachers small homemade gifts and notes, while some people, like hair stylists, could be given up to a $120 tip from those who go all out on their hair. No offense to many professions you listed, but teachers are in charge of educating the youth. They care for one’s child. During the week, they see the child more than the parent sees the child. They spend their own money buying materials for the classroom. I don’t think teachers get enough credit for what they do besides present lessons and grade. And for the education they have to pursue to do what they do, they really are underpaid (especially new teachers and private school teachers). For me, my kids’ teachers get the best tips from me and one day if I ever need a nursing home worker for my parents or anyone else who helps me support my family, they too will be shown just how thankful I am to have someone care for those I care for. This is just my personal thoughts on tipping.
I agree! My mom was an elementary school teacher and would often get small gifts from her students. She always appreciated the gesture, but how many “best teacher” apple ornaments does one need? It was often a lot of junk that collected dust in a box in the closet. Even a $5 gift card would have been better. She never complained, this is my opinion, based on all the extra time and money she spent because she cared about her students. Compare that to $150 for my hairdresser? No way.
This is so ridiculous to me…Personal trainer $50?! Trash collectors?….And then your child’s teacher who sees your kid everyday and spends 75% of the year with them gets a small gift?
Pretty crazy how cheap some people are on here. First of all usps is not government nor do they get any federal assistance. Do your research before you make false accusations. Second… mail carries do not make anywhere near what you think they make especially starting out. They often work up to 70 hours per week and half of the routes are walking.(on the city side of things) .. so they’re required to walk in -40 degrees through 4 feet of snow for 15.50 an hour to start. They definitely work for their money and DEFINITELY deserve gratuities for christmas.
I agree. My mailman goes out of his way for me. Ex. FedEx delivered a valuable package to the wrong address. They just randomly dropped off anywhere and their customer service is horrendous. If it was not for my mailman who knew where my pkg. was by speaking to the woman who received it In would behave never gotten. He received a thank you by way of his favorite beverage. He did not want not accept but I insisted. I will not buse fedex ever again. This year my mailman is getting an above average tip. He also treats my dogs to biscuits. Not to mention the postal service pays into their pensions if civil service. (Crs). That changed to FERS which is federal retirement system where they are required to pay into a pension funds and low and behold social security so your politicians can find where they stole the money from. And mailman pay more out of their pay for this. And now have to work longer in order to retire. So they are not overpaid . Postage rates.? Don’t go there hank. Usps is less than any other country. You realize that when fuel goes up it takes six months for approval to charge fuel surcharges. Not like ups or the others who just tack in on to your rates. And the usps delivers anywhere everyday. ( to that distant home way out in the woods) where the others won’t, unless you pay a lot more….maybe.
God bless the usps.
I am tipping my mail carrier this year, but I’m kind of strapped this year so he’s getting homemade fudge. He is really polite and when I get a package, he rings my doorbell before he leaves to let me know so it doesn’t end up stolen. I think I may do the same for the trash collectors because once in a while if I’ve forgotten to pull my bins to the curb, they come inside the gate and take it. I know they don’t have to do that, but I’ve taken a minute here and there to give a hello, smile, or say thank you to them so they are returning the kindness maybe. Either way, those are probably the only ones that I am tipping this year.
I always tipped my garbage men, they take ANYTHING I put out. They can be a real pain about taking wood, can weight, large bundles, furniture etc. A good tip goes a long way! The mailman stuffs bills into my box when it’s convenient. No tip for him.
Why tip a mailman. They make more then most of you tipping them. I have watched my father inlaw who is a mailman come home with $10,000.00 yes 10K in tips at christmas. I was disgusted he accepted this as he owns a 500,000.00 home and several rental properties. It ridiculous to tip a mailman or garbage manor anyone else. They should be paid what they charge you for your service. How many of you get tipped for doing a good job. I sure dont I make evey dollar by my sweat and no one considers tipping me for my work.
I tip my mail carrier a box of Andes Candies b/c I have an electric fence for my dog and the mailman goes out of his way to bring packages to my garage door.
I don’t believe in giving a hair stylist a tip of a full haircut, that’s crazy!
Sounds like you have a problem with your father in law.
Well, now that I know cheap scrooges like you people exist I will definitely be giving a tip to the mailman. What a bunch of cretins on here.
Kind of judgmental aren’t ya! Reverting to name calling is a bit childish. Does your mommy know you are on the internet? It’s nice to tip the mail carrier if he/she does an exceptional job. But why would one want to tip a mail carrier who makes a habit of delivering your important mail to the wrong house in the neighborhood when the mail is clearly and correctly addressed? In this day of identify theft, this can be a bit unnerving. And, if the mail carrier does an exceptional job, it should be up to the person as to whether she/he wants to tip. The mail carrier does draw a government paycheck.
My postman goes above and beyond and is a very pleasant personable guy to boot. My garbage men are excellent.
Although they get paid above minimum wage, they don’t get paid that well either. I like to show my appreciation for doing jobs that I just dont’ want to.
We have two homes, our primary mail carrier is awesome, so I do leave her a gift card to a local restaurant, and she’s never hinted to leave anything, and is very thankful every Christmas.
However, out 2nd home which were still working on the mail carrier actually left a postcard envelop in our mail box today.. .so basically she’s asking for a tip. I was a little put off by such, most all of our mail goes to our primary house, and all we get at the 2nd home is junk mail and sale flyers.
I’m thinking about simply leaving a Christmas Card in the mail box, but no tip.
Ha! Someone with TWO homes who has the money to fix-up their *second* home is offended by a card/envelope and may not leave the mail carrier at their *second * home even a twenty (which would no doubt mean more to them than you) this holiday season. You certainly are *rich*!!
I always give my mail carrier a gift card to dunkin donuts for $10. He does an awesome job. Trudges thru the snow when I haven’t shoveled. He delivers packages to my door. I live in a small town so maybe it’s different than city life.
I don’t tip my trash collectors because they change frequently, but my mailman will receive a tip. He is friendly, and went out of his way to be helpful when I was ill and housebound. I think that tipping should be reserved for those who go out of their way. However, those who rely on tips for wages are in a tough spot. Although I Do tip them, I resent the idea that they have to rely on the charity of strangers to make a living. Restaurant owners claim that they would have to raise prices to pay a living wage. What, I wonder, do they think tipping does? Tip money makes the same dent in my pocket as charging the real cost of my meal on the menu.
I agree, I seldom eat out for this reason. Pay people properly and I get to decide if your meals are worth the cost.
I’m thinking about tipping my mailman. I get a lot of packages and he goes out of his way to deliver them. But I had a $200 Walmart gift card stolen at the post office. A substitute mailman left a slip for me to pick up the package. I called to have it redelivered and the manager had it on his desk but the next day they called and said it disappeared. Although it was sent certified, it wasn’t sent in a way that they would replace it. Please remember to ask what service you are buying just in case something should happen.
My dad born in 1927 and died recently ALWAYS tipped everyone and well and here is why. #1 he was a truck driver and every ONCE in a while usually Jewish clients would tip him for a delivery. Made a huge difference to his family. I notice now that often delivery folks are Mexican or folks who do not get paid well, and so we tip. Mail. I live in a rural town and our new mailman, brings the stuff to the door (like if there is a stamp missing and he says “it looked like a bill” or adds $ from his wallet if a package is short and leaves the bill. I am giving him $20. Rural carriers do not make that much $. Same with the garbage pickup. The OWNERS of these places earn much (they bill the town, for recycling) but oi doubt the workers get much. I say to the writer of this, get real. My husband drives a bus. He gets gift cards and cookies etc. He earns $20,000 a year. A YEAR. Teachers earn 4 times that. And we always always gave the teachers a small gift. It’s polite, it shows class and good manners. And while you say “you didn’t HIRE these folks” ah but you did. You vote in school elections etc, you did hire them. And while I can understand not tipping an ANONYMOUS mail carrier, try having a nasty one. We did for years. Who didn’t “allow” a note from a neighbor. What did I do? I left her a note “since this didn’t go through your normal channels, be aware I shall live your gift with the postmaster” and I did that.
Every month or so we leave our garbage men a case of beer. They work so hard, and they always bring our empty bins up to the garage instead of leaving them on the street. We are the only house in the neighborhood they do this for! So for Christmas we leave 2 cases for them. Our cleaning lady gets tipped one full day’s worth of pay. And our mailman, whom I’ve never really met, gets a box of homemade cookies and a card. He does a nice job, but he doesn’t go out of his way like the garbage men or the cleaning lady does.
It’s Christmas…. If you are fortunate enough to be able to give, why not do it?
I love your last comment….
“It’s Christmas…. If you are fortunate enough to be able to give, why not do it?”
My question would be, where does it end? Who gets a tip and who doesn’t? Maybe I’ll change my mind next year. You make a great point. Thanks!
its your money and you decide who you want to give a tip to,its not who gets one and who dosen’t,its all up to you
Thank you, Mark. Exactly.
I never tip the garbage man (the truck picks up our cans and dumps them- I have never seen him get out of the truck at our house). Our mail carrier we put stuff in the mailbox on certain days- mailman appreciation day, (my daughter colors a thank you card) and for Christmas I am putting a small gift bag of cheap goodies in the mailbox (2 packets of hot cocoa, a snack size bag of trail mix, 2 clementines, a candy cane, and a small pack of fruit snacks along with a christmas card)- however, we use Amazon Prime so we see our mail lady and talk with her quite often. We currently don’t use a personal trainer, house keeper, dog walker, landscaper, etc. We do usually tip well in general when it is someone who generally gets tipped (restaurants, barber/salon, etc) but try to do a few dollars more at Christmas time.
well I have a conundrum, I left a card with a tip for the mailman in the mailbox, but it wasn’t our usual driver that day, and the alternate driver took it. Now what?
It sounds like you just chalk that one up to bad luck and move on. You inadvertantly bring up another good point about why tipping may not be the best idea. I was wondering this myself on Christmas Eve because I noticed my mail carrier changed for the holidays. I would want to wait outside and give it to them myself. I also wondered if the garbage man would notice a gift versus regular trash that I’ve left on the side of my driveway?
Maybe if it is wrapped with a big bow and set on top of the trashcan, with a big sign under it “Merry Christmas to my trashmen!” haha
The substitute will usually bring it back and leave it for the regular carrier. The regular will leave a thank you card for you if they received it. We generally split our gifts with the regular subs.
I am a regular carrier and if I am off my sub will place any cards or gifts on my ledge for me. Cards, tips and gifts are not required or expected but appreciated! So is a bottle of water on a hot day or a hot chocolate on a freezing cold day. We do work hard in all conditions, there are a few bad apples in a bushel…but by and large we all work hard to take care of “our” customers. I have had the same route for years. I have laughed and enjoyed birthdays and cried tears when one of my customers passes. We watch over our community and often are the first one there in an emergency.
The USPS does not receive a “federal bail out”. The postal service operates only with the money it makes from services and products that it sells. I don’t care wether you tip your carrier not, even though we are always pushed to our limits, especially during the holidays, but I am tired people assuming that we get tax payer money operate.
I give $52.00, or a dollar per week. I know they earn good money. It is a gift, not a payment. I do not feel a dollar per each week that the mail is left at my door is extravagant. Who else provides that kind of service without complaint?
i can’t believe you people who are saying that the mailman makes a lot of money so you are not tipping him.why should it matter how much he makes to tip him.there are a lot of people who make a lot of money that get tipped.the mailman has to go through pouring rain,sleet,snow,really cold temps,really hot temps,fight off peoples dogs,and probably a lot more but i just can’t think right now.but anyway just remember what he has to deal with everyday outside to bring you your mail,it should not even concern you how much he makes just as long as he is doing a good job,and as long as he is sociable and kind and nice.do it out of your heart not out of your mind and if you don’t want to do it then so be it,but don’t condem the guy and worry about how much he makes,that is whats wrong in this world today,everybody worries about everybody else and their personal business,i could care less how much he makes just as long as i get my mail and and he does his job
one more thing,i have a german shepherd and i know how dogs are with mailman and i don’t know why it is that way,but when my dog was a pup i kept bringing him around the mailman so he gets used to him and showing him that this guy is ok and you know today 86.5 pounds later he does not bother the mailman,instead he gives him kisses and wags his tail,so do things for a good reason and don’t keep thinking negative and you will find you will be happier in life.
I agree with your sentiments however, USPS mail carriers do not “make enough as is” as the author claims. USPS mail carriers are some of the hardest working and most underpaid in the US for the service they provide. It is a myth that USPS mail carriers “make a lot of money.” Entry level mail carriers make anywhere from $15.50 to $16.25 an hour which in many major cities is barely a living wage. Yes, mail carriers receive raises of about 50 cents annually so the mailman you know who makes $25 to $30 an hour probably has been working for the USPS for 15 to 20 years.
The first year we moved to this house, I did tip the mailman. I put 25.00 in the card he left in the mail box. He did give us a thank you note, than my Husband complained that the mailman never speaks to him, that he wasn’t personalable at all. Plus I had no idea that he was not suppose to except money. I think this year, since the card is back in the mailbox that he will get a gift card from star bucks, like someone else said in their letter. Good idea.
The first year I bought my house I had a great mailman, he introduced himself to me, he was nice and helpful when I had questions about how the new-to-me city did certain things, and so he received a tip with a card expressing my appreciation. After that my nice mailman retired and I had a mailman that wouldn’t speak to me, wouldn’t take my outgoing mail unless I had mail being delivered even though he used my driveway to turn around, would walk across my yard from the neighbors in 3-4 feet of snow then turn around and not deliver my mail if there was more than a flake of snow on my porch steps, and often times the mail I did get wasn’t mine. When I went to the post office to complain the response I got was “well how much important mail gets delivered these days anyways? Most of it’s just junk so who cares if you get it today or 3 days from now?” I couldn’t believe my ears!!! When I said that wasn’t the point, that he had skipped my house for over a week even though the steps were clear when I left for work and have no control over it snowing while I’m working, and now my insurance company was threatening canceling my policy because my payment was still sitting in my mailbox, I was told that wasn’t their problem I should have drove the payment to the post office and mailed it there or paid it online.
This year has gone much better and I’ve been contemplating the idea, I do not have a lot of money and live paycheck to paycheck so I think he may be getting a homemade treat instead of money or gift card, especially since they can’t accept money, which I didn’t know til now.
Wow that is horrible. I live in an iffy section of town and we can’t seem to keep a mailman but if I have a problem, the post office takes care of it immediately.
I’m kind of hoping we get to keep the one we have now, he’s a nice personable kid and I appreciate him in general.
I give a lil something to the postman who services my small business. You see, I have a crippling Amazon addiction habit problem with deliveries every single day. I know I’m adding to his workload, so this year will hand him a $50 Starbucks gift card, and because I don’t know him at all, I will hope he drinks Starbucks (or can regift it). As far as sanitation workers go, they’re generally paid really well & I assume they chose their job. I’m not adding to their workload, so I’m not gonna run out in my pyjamas at 5am to give them something. Really, they don’t even get out of the truck anymore!
So that’s me.
*United States Postal Service Gift Regulations:
Mail carriers working for United States Postal Service are allowed to accept:
Snacks and beverages or perishable gifts not part of a meal.
Small gifts of little intrinsic value (travel mugs, hand warmers, etc…) and no more than $20 value.
Perishable items worth more (large fruit baskets or cookie tins) must be shared with entire branch.
Mail carriers working for United States Postal Service may not accept:
Cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other form of currency.
My mail carriers go out of their way to make sure I get my parcels. They go up a couple of flights of stairs and put the boxes at my door or under my door to make sure they aren’t stolen. If they’re too big they leave them with a neighbor. This is not supposed to be done but is done anyway. I tip them every year for going that extra mile for me. They go through the crappiest weather and aren’t paid what people think. It’s worth it.
My husband is a mailman of 20 years and he makes 64k. He sorts huge carts of his mail into individual address slots for several hours every morning and then he delivers it to 700 homes daily. Yes, 700! PLUS he is inundated by Amazon packages! During the Christmas season, he walks Amazon packages up to at least 1/3 of those homes daily. They can weigh up to 70 lbs. My husband’s back always hurts. In our Florida summers he delivers mail out of his ancient truck with no a/c. This is standard. None of them have a/c. And he can’t have too many doors/windows open because the mail can’t be blown around.
Because the USPS IS so poorly managed, he is HUGELY overworked and overburdened. Plus Amazon has changed everything to….TOO MUCH. He ever works less than 10 hrs per day. His assigned days off are Fridays and Sundays, so he never gets a weekend or two days in a row off. Did you know that mail carriers work as subs for about 6-11 years before they become “regular carriers” with benefits and salaries, and that this time as a sub does NOT count toward retirement??
And did you know that it’s nearly impossible to transfer out-of-state or ANYWHERE for a mail carrier??? Our family is stuck right here for 13 more years.
There’s always more to any job than meets the eye. Mail carriers can INDEED accept cash, gift cards and anything else someone wishes to give. It’s literally the highlight of our year, to feel appreciated and blessed a little around Christmas.
Please don’t stop tipping/showing appreciation for your mail carrier! Feeling cared but and ppreciated us what keeps them going the whole rest of the year.
I Would think someone who takes care of your child deserves much more than a small gift and a drawing from your child. This is your child not theirs and they have your childs well being in their hands. Wow anyone who is taking care of my child and keeping them safe while away from me deserves much more than small gift and a childs drawing. They may love your child but they are still yours and not theirs! I think it’s sad because it sounds as though you take those people for granted. When in reality should be the most important person you tip!
I’m assuming since you seem to be pretty well informed that your are just trolling your readers about the USPS. They are operating at a loss because Congress passed a law in 2006 (written by lobbyists for FedEx and UPS) to pre-fund 75 years of health care benefits for its retirees. 75 years. There is not a single organization in America that has to do that or anything close to that. Plus they don’t get to set their own rates. They are set by an independent commission, the Postal Regulatory Commission, also modified by the 2006 law. Ever since the USPS has been running at a loss. Weird, I wonder why FedEx and UPS lobbyists would want to see the USPS go bankrupt?
I am a CNA for hospice. I have gone out to homes on Christmas, we believe there is no holiday for the dying. We do not make a lot of money. I usually have to work weekends at another job to pay my rent. No one tips me. I don’t expect it. I’ve been reading these comments. Wow, I barely have enough to pay rent and utilities and now to read about all the people I should tip. Yikes! No wonder i hate the holidays
I love my postal carrier. He brings our mail into the garage when it rains when we have larger packages. He signs for our packages saving me countless trips to the routing center. I was more happy to tip him $100. But I did it with an in-person holiday card. Those guys work hard. Their “mismanagement” is no reflection on the hard work those folks do – working in all weather and dealing with ungrateful people like the author. Mail is the best deal I can think of. Be grateful for those willing to do the job. Btw- the postal organization was one of the first organizations to employ women and minorities in this country. I appreciate their work and their work ethic.
I tip my mail carrier who goes out of their way to notify & leave my packages out of sight. USPS hands over all monies to the government
Why would anyone take advice from a guy who admittedly tips 10% to people?
We have TERRIBLE mail carriers. They will have my package on the vehicle, park in front of my house, smoke in the van, deliver my mail but not my packages. I have to ask them if they have my package and they literally say “ nope” or “ dont got it” then i have to call and talk with the supervisor or file a claim. So, no, i wont tip my carrier. I dont drive so i have to rely on online shopping. We finally got included in a regular route this year and still have substitutes. I say thank you when they fo deliver my packages and not one iota of acknowledgement. According to the head supervisor, service would improve once we were included in a regular tout. Ummm, I have yet to see that improvement.
Tired of rate increases? In 1980 a stamp was .15 in 2020 it is .55. It should be .63 if it kept up with inflation. Try sending a letter by FedEx or UPS.
I am planning to do something for my mailman at Christmas. I just moved into my home this summer and he has been very nice commenting on improvements I’ve made or just being cheerful and saying hello. What touched me most though was that he said he would look for my indoor cat who escaped the house and bring her home if he found her. She came home on her own but it was so kind of him to offer his help. Most would not have done so.