The people you’re supposed to stiff come December.
Holiday tipping can cost you more than feeding your family for an entire week. But it doesn’t have to.
One in four people shell out more than $250 on holiday tips, according to a survey from care-giving resource company Care.com — and for 11% of Americans, that total balloons up to more than $400. Nowadays, the majority of tippers say they are giving each person $20 to $60 on average.
All that tipping is making people mad — at least judging from the comments this reporter got on a recent column about who you should tip over the holidays. “Tipping is ridiculous,” commented MarketWatch reader Jon Norman. “A tip for holiday tipping. Don’t,” wrote Larry Riley. And Rusty Harris said, “How about I just hold out my wallet and let EVERYBODY take a few bucks.”
For all of you who have had it with all the holiday tipping, this one’s for you. Here are 10 people you might think you should tip for the holidays, but don’t need to:
- Teachers. “Tipping teachers is a bad idea,” says etiquette and relationship expert April Masini. “It creates a conflict for them in the classroom, and while it’s fine to give them a gift card or little gift, money is a problem … you want to avoid any special attention and conflict of interest that your cash to a teacher may create.” The exception: If the entire class decides to collect money and pool it for the teacher, she says. And don’t give them chocolate (assume scores of other parents have already thought of that).
- Doctors and nurses. You want good health care, so you tip your regular doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional over the holidays, right? Wrong, says Constance Hoffman, the owner of etiquette and professional skills firm Social and Business Graces, who notes that while a gift is appropriate, a tip is not. The same goes for a therapist or psychologist, says Pamela Eyring, the president of the Protocol School of Washington.
- Takeout staff at a restaurant. Even if the same guy prepares your take-out order at your favorite restaurant all year, you needn’t tip him come holiday time, says Hoffman. Instead, you can, but don’t have to, tip him throughout the year — your change from the order of about $1 in the tip jay is fine, says Hoffman.
- Mailman. Regular U.S. Postal Service mail carriers aren’t allowed to get cash tips, gift cards or checks, so tipping them is a no-no. They also can’t accept gifts valued at more than $20.
- Hotel concierge. You tip them throughout the year, as you use them (about $5 to $10 or more, depending on the request, some experts say). But you don’t need to also do it during the holidays, says Eyring. Same goes for the hotel sales manager, she adds.
- Drycleaner. The dry-cleaner does not need a holiday tip, but a small gift, like a candle or a gift certificate to an inexpensive restaurant, for consistent and quality service is nice, Eyring adds.
- Salesperson at a store you frequent. Eyring notes that many stores have policies against their sales people taking tips. Even if they don’t, these people work on commission throughout the year and do not need a holiday tip, she says. A nice thank-you note will show your appreciation, she adds.
- Financial advisors or accountants. In lieu of cash for the financial professionals in your life, “send a gift basket or bring in lunch to the office that can be shared by the staff,” says Hoffman.
- Grocery baggers and cashiers. Throughout the year, you’ll tip a grocery bagger when she bags your groceries and carries them out to the car — typically $1 to $5 is fine — but you don’t need then give them a holiday tip on top of this, says Eyring. The cashier doesn’t need a tip either, she adds.
- Lawyers and legal staff. A gift, not a tip, is appropriate in this case. “You can bring by baked goods, have flowers delivered, or drop by with a beautiful plant,” says Hoffman. “With flowers and baked goods, you can deliver them to the whole office to share, individually to only the people you deal with, or to one particular person.”
This story was originally published on MarketWatch.
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