Holiday tipping: letter carriers

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frugalecon
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Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by frugalecon »

How do people approach holiday tipping of letter carriers? I was under the impression that they are not supposed to receive cash tips, but our letter carrier has left a holiday card, of the sort that newspaper delivery people include in your paper at this time. Our postal service is not particularly good; we often receive mail for other addresses, which always makes me nervous about where our mail goes. That factor makes me less disposed to a holiday tip or gift, but then the letter carrier herself controls our mail. Any advice?
Robert44
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Robert44 »

In the past I have given our mailman giftcards to places like Panera. The last two years we have given him a box of truffles.
Hope he isn't diabetic.
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jeffyscott
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by jeffyscott »

With a median income of $55,000 for letter carriers, I'm not adding a tip to that, never have. We have never had any problems with service. As far as I am concerned, it should be illegal for them to accept anything of value from postal customers and soliciting gifts (if that's what the card is about is totally inappropriate, IMO).

I've got two children who work harder than letter carriers for far lower pay and benefits. I'll keep my money and let them inherit 2/3 of it someday (the other kid has a high income).

All postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Exec­utive Branch. Under these federal regulations, 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. Furthermore, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.

http://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2 ... er_025.htm
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corysold
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by corysold »

This is somewhat on topic, but as a newspaper carrier, we are asked to put those cards in the paper around this time. It saves on dozens of calls per carrier into the paper call center asking for our address. Multiplied by 15-20carriers per warehouse location and that number gets big in a hurry.

I'm assuming that isn't the case for the post office, but just a FYI that those cards aren't a necessarily soliciting a holiday tip directly, though I understand that is what they are mostly for.
navyasw02
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by navyasw02 »

frugalecon wrote:How do people approach holiday tipping of letter carriers? I was under the impression that they are not supposed to receive cash tips, but our letter carrier has left a holiday card, of the sort that newspaper delivery people include in your paper at this time. Our postal service is not particularly good; we often receive mail for other addresses, which always makes me nervous about where our mail goes. That factor makes me less disposed to a holiday tip or gift, but then the letter carrier herself controls our mail. Any advice?
Tip $0. They're federal employees.
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Tycoon
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Tycoon »

jeffyscott wrote:With a median income of $55,000 for letter carriers, I'm not adding a tip to that, never have. We have never had any problems with service. As far as I am concerned, it should be illegal for them to accept anything of value from postal customers and soliciting gifts (if that's what the card is about is totally inappropriate, IMO).

I've got two children who work harder than letter carriers for far lower pay and benefits. I'll keep my money and let them inherit 2/3 of it someday (the other kid has a high income).

All postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Exec­utive Branch. Under these federal regulations, 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. Furthermore, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.

http://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2 ... er_025.htm
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MtnTraveler
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by MtnTraveler »

As federal employees they can only accept gifts of $10 or less.
carruthers209
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by carruthers209 »

Point of clarification here. My friend is a postal carrier but because it's a rural area it's not a federal job. Contractors take those areas and bid for them. She has to provide her own vehicle and only earns something north of minimum wages. Jobs are hard to come by in rural areas so many people take these jobs to help pay their bills. So not all postal carriers are civil service.
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BTDT
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by BTDT »

navyasw02 wrote:
frugalecon wrote:How do people approach holiday tipping of letter carriers? I was under the impression that they are not supposed to receive cash tips, but our letter carrier has left a holiday card, of the sort that newspaper delivery people include in your paper at this time. Our postal service is not particularly good; we often receive mail for other addresses, which always makes me nervous about where our mail goes. That factor makes me less disposed to a holiday tip or gift, but then the letter carrier herself controls our mail. Any advice?
Tip $0. They're federal employees.
FWIW Not all letter carriers are federal employee's per se:

"By law, the USPS is obliged to provide for an “efficient” system of mail delivery. Federal statute
provides the USPS with considerable freedom to enter into contracts with private parties. Wage-
earning contractors cost less to employ than wage- and benefits-earning USPS employees. "

Couple of our friends are federal letter carrier contractors, and must provide their own vehicles and receive little if no benefits. Based on the condition of their vehicle and their lifestyle, I think they are barely making a living.

[Edit- My bad....I posted about same time as previous post and missed much the same answer as mine]
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CABob
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by CABob »

This is a very timely post obviously. I have never gifted our carrier before, but, am considering it this year just because she is very pleasant and does provide some extra services. I think we will go with a boxed food assortment (candy, crackers, cookies, etc.). I was considering a gift card to Starbucks but it sounds like that is forbidden.
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SrGrumpy
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by SrGrumpy »

Never in a million years would I tip the mailman, no matter how "pleasant" he is. If you're feeling generous at Christmastime, go and tip someone at McDonald's or your local supermarket. They work much harder with none of the generous benefits.
krannerd
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by krannerd »

We have a letter carrier who is the primary carrier for our house. He's nice and friendly. One year he got a plate of Christmas cookies from us...said he loved the fudge...so, now he gets fudge each year.

I've not done this elsewhere...but our letter carrier is a neighborhood fixture and we treat him as we do other neighbors.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by jhfenton »

Tips are for folks who provides a personal service with whom I have an actual relationship. I haven't a clue who our letter carrier is or if we even have a regular one. If I was home and knew our carrier and interacted with him or her on a regular basis, I would consider it.
uncertainty
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by uncertainty »

SrGrumpy wrote:Never in a million years would I tip the mailman, no matter how "pleasant" he is. If you're feeling generous at Christmastime, go and tip someone at McDonald's or your local supermarket. They work much harder with none of the generous benefits.
It's interesting that this board continues to perceive itself as friendly to everyone, while at the same time a handful of millionaires are disparaging an occupation with a median income of $55,000 (MEDIAN) and reasonable retirement benefits. God forbid anyone without an advanced degree can work their way into a middle class salary...

And there's no way a fast food worked in a climate controlled building works harder than a letter carrier delivering mail at -15°F or 95°F + humidity. Especially considering the joint damage from shouldering the weight.
Robert44
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Robert44 »

We don't tip because we think the person "needs" it. We do it because we get pleasure out of it. We tip the mailperson, newspaper delivery person, trashman, my leaf guy. Just about anyone who does things for us.
And from our experience it all comes back in one form or another.
mouses
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by mouses »

Anybody who thinks letter carriers don't work hard should try delivering mail in 10 degree windy weather for hours, often to mailboxes where the homeowner hasn't shoveled away 2-3 feet of snow.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by SrGrumpy »

uncertainty wrote:
SrGrumpy wrote:Never in a million years would I tip the mailman, no matter how "pleasant" he is. If you're feeling generous at Christmastime, go and tip someone at McDonald's or your local supermarket. They work much harder with none of the generous benefits.
It's interesting that this board continues to perceive itself as friendly to everyone, while at the same time a handful of millionaires are disparaging an occupation with a median income of $55,000 (MEDIAN) and reasonable retirement benefits. God forbid anyone without an advanced degree can work their way into a middle class salary...

And there's no way a fast food worked in a climate controlled building works harder than a letter carrier delivering mail at -15°F or 95°F + humidity. Especially considering the joint damage from shouldering the weight.
I worked fast food, and I don't have a degree, and I'm not quite a millionaire. Fast food is the hardest gig I ever worked. AC is little help when you're bending over a smoky grill, running around like crazy. Did I mention the greasy smell? My mailman drives from box to box, delivering the mail through his window. A professional life without annoying cubicle-mates appeals has strong appeal, I'm sure.
Ninnie
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Ninnie »

Depends on the relationship you have with your carrier.

In our first home, we always used to tip him. A card with a $20 bill. He was very appreciative. He also walked our route and through our gate to our front door, always had a smile on his face even when our dog barked at him, did a great job with deliveries (no mistakes) and was overall a genuinely pleasant person.

On the other hand, our current mail carrier drives a truck (boxes are at the end of the driveway), is constantly mixing up our mail with our neighbors (one year I had to chase after a check I was expecting with less than attentive neighbors and it was a major hassle), and is insanely slow - we often don't get our mail until 6:00pm. And yes, he's out all day because I see him in the mornings in the neighborhood - he's just very very slow. So no tip.
navyasw02
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by navyasw02 »

BTDT wrote:
navyasw02 wrote:
frugalecon wrote:How do people approach holiday tipping of letter carriers? I was under the impression that they are not supposed to receive cash tips, but our letter carrier has left a holiday card, of the sort that newspaper delivery people include in your paper at this time. Our postal service is not particularly good; we often receive mail for other addresses, which always makes me nervous about where our mail goes. That factor makes me less disposed to a holiday tip or gift, but then the letter carrier herself controls our mail. Any advice?
Tip $0. They're federal employees.
FWIW Not all letter carriers are federal employee's per se:

"By law, the USPS is obliged to provide for an “efficient” system of mail delivery. Federal statute
provides the USPS with considerable freedom to enter into contracts with private parties. Wage-
earning contractors cost less to employ than wage- and benefits-earning USPS employees. "

Couple of our friends are federal letter carrier contractors, and must provide their own vehicles and receive little if no benefits. Based on the condition of their vehicle and their lifestyle, I think they are barely making a living.

[Edit- My bad....I posted about same time as previous post and missed much the same answer as mine]
The fact that they accepted the terms of that employment through their contracting company doesn't make it something I should have to tip for when its a taxpayer provided service.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

We have had two long-term mail carriers in the last 35 years. The first mail carrier retired several years ago, and is now just taking cruises with his wife. Nice man; pleasant demeanor, and accurate delivery.

Current mail carrier is a middle-aged woman, same level of service and attitude. Most recently went inside the PO and "re-mailed" a package that had exceeded the weight limit. Saved me a trip to the PO. Next day she even gave me the tracking info and explained what I had done wrong. My postage amount was correct, just over the "trusted" weight.

Knowing our carrier's names was easy, given their length of service.

I'm kinda surprised at the length of service each had/has accumulated. Perhaps the carriers can bid on their routes.

So, a $25 gift card isn't out of line for her. I'm sure she will appreciate it.

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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by nisiprius »

I've never analyzed it. I give 'em $20. In cash.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by GerryL »

Our local post office (suburban) is very understaffed, as many likely are these days. Often my mail is delivered after 5PM. During the holiday period I have been out on the corner waiting at 7PM as the mail truck comes driving down the street. And, yes, in their rush, the carriers sometimes make mistakes.
While I don't feel I am in any way required to tip, I leave a baggie of homemade cookies out in my locked box on the corner just to let them know there is a human who understands there is another human delivering mail. I get a handwritten thank you note in return.
Pdxnative
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Pdxnative »

i have never really considered it a tip, but we give a holiday gift to our carrier same as we do to neighbors, teachers, etc. He knows us by name and is part of our community.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by jdb »

Thanks for the tips on the tips. We plan to give our long time letter carrier a year end thank you gift but never sure what to give. Don't want him violating federal law. A Macy's gift card or cash?
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Yooper »

carruthers209 wrote:Point of clarification here. My friend is a postal carrier but because it's a rural area it's not a federal job. Contractors take those areas and bid for them. She has to provide her own vehicle and only earns something north of minimum wages. Jobs are hard to come by in rural areas so many people take these jobs to help pay their bills. So not all postal carriers are civil service.
According to (http://www.fedsdatacenter.com/usps-pay-rates) my rural deliverer makes between $20-$30 per hour.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by navyasw02 »

I'm sorry, but this thread bugs me. Carrying mail is something we pay the government to do. A mailman walking or driving around with mail doesnt have to go through any extraordinary efforts to put your mail in your box. He/she doesnt have to get shot at, get deployed away from his/her family, has limited responsibility for dollars or personnel, work excessive unpaid overtime, he/she simply stuffs mail in a slot. Why tip a mailman when you should show your appreciation to soldiers, sailors, engineers, federal law enforcement, intelligence, foreign service, or any of the other dozens of federal employees who do something significant everyday that isnt visible from your doorstep?
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Yooper »

uncertainty wrote:
SrGrumpy wrote:Never in a million years would I tip the mailman, no matter how "pleasant" he is. If you're feeling generous at Christmastime, go and tip someone at McDonald's or your local supermarket. They work much harder with none of the generous benefits.
It's interesting that this board continues to perceive itself as friendly to everyone, while at the same time a handful of millionaires are disparaging an occupation with a median income of $55,000 (MEDIAN) and reasonable retirement benefits. God forbid anyone without an advanced degree can work their way into a middle class salary...

And there's no way a fast food worked in a climate controlled building works harder than a letter carrier delivering mail at -15°F or 95°F + humidity. Especially considering the joint damage from shouldering the weight.
Wish someone would have made this argument when I was a newspaper delivery boy with +30 lbs of papers on my 10 year old shoulders, slogging through snow for pennies (2 hours after school every night) - tongue in cheek. Would have given my left arm for a minimum wage job. Wait a minute, I DID give up my paper route when I was eligible for a minimum wage job as a busboy at a restaurant... I moved on when better opportunities presented themselves.

Although to this day (40 plus years) I still remember the cookie box Mrs. Kritselis gave me every Christmas as a tip that had TONS of cookies mom never made. One had an anis flavor that unfortunately I can't remember the shape of so I have no idea what it was.

Sad but true, I never see paperboys anymore. I still recall NOT wanting to go but HAVING to go because the papers were on my doorstep when I got home. That taught me a very valuable lesson that sometimes you have to do things even though you don't want to do them.

You do what you have to do. They call it WORK because it's so unsavory that no one will do it unless you PAY them to do it. Tips are if you go above and beyond (in my opinion). I figured this out quick quick quick, and made sure I smiled and was super pleasant whenever I came to "collect"....
Geologist
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Geologist »

navyasw02 wrote:I'm sorry, but this thread bugs me. Carrying mail is something we pay the government to do. A mailman walking or driving around with mail doesnt have to go through any extraordinary efforts to put your mail in your box. He/she doesnt have to get shot at, get deployed away from his/her family, has limited responsibility for dollars or personnel, work excessive unpaid overtime, he/she simply stuffs mail in a slot. Why tip a mailman when you should show your appreciation to soldiers, sailors, engineers, federal law enforcement, intelligence, foreign service, or any of the other dozens of federal employees who do something significant everyday that isnt visible from your doorstep?
You may not find this a satisfying response (and it applies to some other posts), but tipping is a matter of custom. It doesn't depend on some application of logic. This is why you tip a taxi driver, but not the driver of a bus, even if they travel the same route. If we look back far enough in time, tipping letter carriers probably started because it was a government employee with whom you had a personal relationship (he came to your home) and there were few others for which that was true.

Having said all this, I've never tipped my letter carrier and if you don't want to tip yours, don't.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by navyasw02 »

Geologist wrote:
navyasw02 wrote:I'm sorry, but this thread bugs me. Carrying mail is something we pay the government to do. A mailman walking or driving around with mail doesnt have to go through any extraordinary efforts to put your mail in your box. He/she doesnt have to get shot at, get deployed away from his/her family, has limited responsibility for dollars or personnel, work excessive unpaid overtime, he/she simply stuffs mail in a slot. Why tip a mailman when you should show your appreciation to soldiers, sailors, engineers, federal law enforcement, intelligence, foreign service, or any of the other dozens of federal employees who do something significant everyday that isnt visible from your doorstep?
You may not find this a satisfying response (and it applies to some other posts), but tipping is a matter of custom. It doesn't depend on some application of logic. This is why you tip a taxi driver, but not the driver of a bus, even if they travel the same route. If we look back far enough in time, tipping letter carriers probably started because it was a government employee with whom you had a personal relationship (he came to your home) and there were few others for which that was true.

Having said all this, I've never tipped my letter carrier and if you don't want to tip yours, don't.
Maybe it's a regional thing, but I've never heard anyone tipping the mailman in any of the areas I grew up in or lived since.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Mrs.Feeley »

In the past mail carriers were not permitted to accept any sort of tips or gifts since they're federal employees. This I heard years ago from a friend who worked as a mail carrier.

However, these days, in our neck of the woods, most of the long-time postal employees have been forced into early retirement and their jobs filled by part-time contractors. Every time I see our postal carrier struggling up the hill and up the winding steps with another 38-pound box of dog food from Amazon I feel pity, especially if it's raining or snowing. I would pass them an envelope for the holidays if not for the fact that every time I happen to see our postal carrier it's a different person.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Gnirk »

Our mail carrier gives us superb service (we travel, and place our mail on hold several times a year, coupled with forwarding during other times). I didn't know they weren't supposed to accept gifts. I've always given him a check for $25 in a card every year. He has never solicited a "gift" by giving us a card first. He does, however, leave us a "thank you" card afterwards.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by jlawrence01 »

During the hot months from March to October, we leave the mail people a couple of bottles of cold water on the mailboxes each day. Ditto for the garbage people, except for my neighbor who leaves them a 6-pack of beer every few weeks as long as they leave the cooler.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by sawhorse »

navyasw02 wrote:The fact that they accepted the terms of that employment through their contracting company doesn't make it something I should have to tip for when its a taxpayer provided service.
No, it is not a taxpayer provided service. One of the biggest myths is that the USPS gets federal tax funding. It gets no federal tax funding except a tiny amount to pay for mailing Braille materials.
navyasw02 wrote:I'm sorry, but this thread bugs me. Carrying mail is something we pay the government to do.
No we don't.

I don't think you should feel obligated to give them anything, but it's a nice gesture if delivering the mail means getting barked at as if you're the meanest person in the world, if it's been inconvenient for them to deliver at some point (unshoveled driveway, etc), and/or if they did a favor such as recognizing your (wooden, not electric) fence-defying dog two blocks away and giving it a ride back to your house on the mail truck :D One time there was a package that wasn't delivered to my parents, and when they asked him, he looked into the matter with the post office and got it resolved. I'm not sure if it's because they had tipped him, but it couldn't have hurt.
Last edited by sawhorse on Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
SrGrumpy
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by SrGrumpy »

jlawrence01 wrote:Ditto for the garbage people, except for my neighbor who leaves them a 6-pack of beer every few weeks as long as they leave the cooler.
Inebriated garbage-truck drivers!? I have never seen my garbage guys get out of the truck. They have a great gig. Anyway here in LA, the utility that handles garbage is refusing to disclose what it did with a $40 million slush fund of public money. So I am disinclined to reward corruption with a backhander.

I am sure the folks in Chicago and Illinois have scarier stories.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by sawhorse »

SrGrumpy wrote:
jlawrence01 wrote:Ditto for the garbage people, except for my neighbor who leaves them a 6-pack of beer every few weeks as long as they leave the cooler.
Inebriated garbage-truck drivers!? I have never seen my garbage guys get out of the truck. They have a great gig. Anyway here in LA, the utility that handles garbage is refusing to disclose what it did with a $40 million slush fund of public money. So I am disinclined to reward corruption with a backhander.

I am sure the folks in Chicago and Illinois have scarier stories.
What did that garbage truck company do with the $40 million? They probably screwed over the garbage men that work for them. Don't hold the garbage company's corruption against the employees.

Do you have robot arm garbage trucks in your area? The garbage men I'm thinking of get off their trucks at every house.

Giving alcohol to garbage drivers is reckless. I wonder if the neighbor could be held liable for an alcohol-related accident. Plus, some of the garbage men I've seen may be younger than 21.
SrGrumpy
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by SrGrumpy »

sawhorse wrote:
SrGrumpy wrote:
jlawrence01 wrote:Ditto for the garbage people, except for my neighbor who leaves them a 6-pack of beer every few weeks as long as they leave the cooler.
Inebriated garbage-truck drivers!? I have never seen my garbage guys get out of the truck. They have a great gig. Anyway here in LA, the utility that handles garbage is refusing to disclose what it did with a $40 million slush fund of public money. So I am disinclined to reward corruption with a backhander.

I am sure the folks in Chicago and Illinois have scarier stories.
What did that garbage truck company do with the $40 million? They probably screwed over the garbage men that work for them. Don't hold the garbage company's corruption against the employees.

Do you have robot arm garbage trucks in your area? The garbage men I'm thinking of get off their trucks at every house.

Giving alcohol to garbage drivers is reckless. I wonder if the neighbor could be held liable for an alcohol-related accident. Plus, some of the garbage men I've seen may be younger than 21.
The garbage "company" is a public utility. The slush fund is jointly controlled by utility and union officials. Good times!

Yeah, we have the robot arms, and it seems half the loose trash flies out the top of the truck, especially since voters banned supermarket plastic bags that we would repurpose as garbage bags.
Green Nut
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Green Nut »

I don't tip people that earn a full pay. A waitress/waiter on reduced pay, sure no problem.
tim1999
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by tim1999 »

I don't tip people who get a pension when I don't.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by walker46 »

I was a mail carrier a long time ago, almost fifty years ago. Only a handful of people tipped and usually the tip consisted of cookies which I appreciated. I didn’t expect a tip since I felt I was adequately paid and I was in fact better off financially than many of the people I delivered mail to. I like to think I worked just as hard delivering mail to everyone on the route regardless if they tipped or not.
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by TomatoTomahto »

corysold wrote:This is somewhat on topic, but as a newspaper carrier, we are asked to put those cards in the paper around this time. It saves on dozens of calls per carrier into the paper call center asking for our address. Multiplied by 15-20carriers per warehouse location and that number gets big in a hurry.

I'm assuming that isn't the case for the post office, but just a FYI that those cards aren't a necessarily soliciting a holiday tip directly, though I understand that is what they are mostly for.
Strangely enough, in the same year that I'm considering dropping my newspaper delivery, I'm also considering tipping the newspaper delivery guy. In the past I didn't tip because I didn't think of it, and lately there frequently are late and incomplete papers. But, I think that's probably not the carrier's fault, so I'm going to tip this year.

If I tip my mailman $50, what do you think is a reasonable tip for the newspaper guy? Our mailman goes above and beyond, regularly, which the newspaper guy doesn't. Is $40 too stingy?
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

My letter carrier delivers my mail to my neighbors and their mail to my box, he get's to wear a headset radio as he delivers the mail, has excellent benefits including a defined benefit pension. Tip? I do that every time I purchase a postage stamp.
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anonforthis
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by anonforthis »

It seems like some people are jealous of the letter carrier's benefits. :D
corysold
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by corysold »

TomatoTomahto wrote:
corysold wrote:This is somewhat on topic, but as a newspaper carrier, we are asked to put those cards in the paper around this time. It saves on dozens of calls per carrier into the paper call center asking for our address. Multiplied by 15-20carriers per warehouse location and that number gets big in a hurry.

I'm assuming that isn't the case for the post office, but just a FYI that those cards aren't a necessarily soliciting a holiday tip directly, though I understand that is what they are mostly for.
Strangely enough, in the same year that I'm considering dropping my newspaper delivery, I'm also considering tipping the newspaper delivery guy. In the past I didn't tip because I didn't think of it, and lately there frequently are late and incomplete papers. But, I think that's probably not the carrier's fault, so I'm going to tip this year.

If I tip my mailman $50, what do you think is a reasonable tip for the newspaper guy? Our mailman goes above and beyond, regularly, which the newspaper guy doesn't. Is $40 too stingy?
To your first point, it is hard to say whose fault those issues are. At my place, we put together main paper with the advertisements/flyers each day. So if you are missing the Sports page, probably not your guys fault. If you are missing the ads all of a sudden, that might be. But I will note, when you put together 300 papers a day, you can usually tell when one isn't the same as the others.

For late paper, our truck usually arrives at 2:45 AM. I get done at 6:15 when that is the case. There are days the truck doesn't come until 4 AM for various reasons, late sports games, election days, weather, etc. Then I drive like a madman and get done at 6:45-7:00. So if it is only late once in a while, likely the truck/printer is late. If it has become late everyday, your carrier is sleeping in! :twisted:

For tips, I get everything from $5-$100 for monetary gifts, with the majority in the $20 range. The $100's are a few couples who request the paper on their porch and I do that (though I do it for others who tip nothing as well). But like anything in life, the 80/20 rule applies. I deliver to about 300-320 homes and I'll get maybe 50-70 tips and they are all very appreciated.

Long post short, $40 would be very generous and would likely be very appreciated. $10-20 would be more than sufficient for "good" service. I'm happy when I get anything, $40 would make me very grateful.
S&L1940
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by S&L1940 »

nisiprius wrote:I've never analyzed it. I give 'em $20. In cash.
used to give $25 for the post office folk who were on the route long term. new carrier, think I will dial back to $20. they always leave a greeting card with their address, kind of think that is an invitation to give...

slightly off topic, newspapers tossed on my driveway, we get the local paper plus the NY Times (old habits die hard). same delivery person tosses both papers but attaches a greeting card (with return envelope) in each paper. always given them a single $25 check, wondering if I should be giving them a tip for each paper delivered? back in the day in an apartment building, always gave the young man a weekly tip; we went from a quarter a week to a half a buck when our kids starting delivering (but not to us) and we realized what a chore it really is - particularly as they needed to collect for the subscription and had to assemble the weekend sections in the early a.m.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by TomatoTomahto »

corysold wrote:To your first point, it is hard to say whose fault those issues are. At my place, we put together main paper with the advertisements/flyers each day. So if you are missing the Sports page, probably not your guys fault. If you are missing the ads all of a sudden, that might be. But I will note, when you put together 300 papers a day, you can usually tell when one isn't the same as the others.

For late paper, our truck usually arrives at 2:45 AM. I get done at 6:15 when that is the case. There are days the truck doesn't come until 4 AM for various reasons, late sports games, election days, weather, etc. Then I drive like a madman and get done at 6:45-7:00. So if it is only late once in a while, likely the truck/printer is late. If it has become late everyday, your carrier is sleeping in! :twisted:
Well, I think the delivery guy is off the hook. I'd pay extra if they skipped the ads; they just go into recycling. Missing sections is rare; much more common are late deliveries, and he's also off the hook for tardy delivery. We get an email when the paper will be late, and I think that's automated beyond his control. There have been a fair amount of construction delays in our northern NJ area, and I think that's what's to blame.

I think $40 is the ticket. Thanks for your input.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
corysold
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by corysold »

1530jesup wrote:
nisiprius wrote:I've never analyzed it. I give 'em $20. In cash.
used to give $25 for the post office folk who were on the route long term. new carrier, think I will dial back to $20. they always leave a greeting card with their address, kind of think that is an invitation to give...

slightly off topic, newspapers tossed on my driveway, we get the local paper plus the NY Times (old habits die hard). same delivery person tosses both papers but attaches a greeting card (with return envelope) in each paper. always given them a single $25 check, wondering if I should be giving them a tip for each paper delivered? back in the day in an apartment building, always gave the young man a weekly tip; we went from a quarter a week to a half a buck when our kids starting delivering (but not to us) and we realized what a chore it really is - particularly as they needed to collect for the subscription and had to assemble the weekend sections in the early a.m.
Sure, give them $12.50 per paper. :D

Where I work, we deliver 8 different papers. Some people get 3-4 (Chicago Tribune, USA Today, WSJ, Investors Business, etc.). I'd never expect a second tip for delivering multiple papers. The amount of additional work needed is basically zero.
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

anonforthis wrote:It seems like some people are jealous of the letter carrier's benefits. :D
Sure! Who doesn't like listening to music while working? :)
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sawhorse
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by sawhorse »

A tip on tipping not related to mail carriers: There are some workers you think would get minimum wage but don't.

Here is a partial list of employees who don't get federal minimum wage. Some states and local governments have enacted laws requiring minimum wage. And of course, some employers give minimum wage when they aren't required to.

For some, but not all, workers on this list, employers are technically required to give minimum wage if tips aren't enough. But there is almost no enforcement. Audits on restaurants showed that when the staff didn't get enough tips for minimum wage, only about 10% of employers compensated for it. The numbers are far lower for other occupations.
  • Workers with disabilities
  • Newspaper delivery
  • Bartenders
  • Bellhops
  • Beauty salons
  • Hotel maids
  • Supermarket baggers; cashiers get minimum wage but baggers don't and they're not even entitled to the low wage given to waitstaff
  • Restaurant waitstaff; includes buffet workers who don't actually serve you
PVW
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by PVW »

navyasw02 wrote:
Geologist wrote:
navyasw02 wrote:I'm sorry, but this thread bugs me. Carrying mail is something we pay the government to do. A mailman walking or driving around with mail doesnt have to go through any extraordinary efforts to put your mail in your box. He/she doesnt have to get shot at, get deployed away from his/her family, has limited responsibility for dollars or personnel, work excessive unpaid overtime, he/she simply stuffs mail in a slot. Why tip a mailman when you should show your appreciation to soldiers, sailors, engineers, federal law enforcement, intelligence, foreign service, or any of the other dozens of federal employees who do something significant everyday that isnt visible from your doorstep?
You may not find this a satisfying response (and it applies to some other posts), but tipping is a matter of custom. It doesn't depend on some application of logic. This is why you tip a taxi driver, but not the driver of a bus, even if they travel the same route. If we look back far enough in time, tipping letter carriers probably started because it was a government employee with whom you had a personal relationship (he came to your home) and there were few others for which that was true.

Having said all this, I've never tipped my letter carrier and if you don't want to tip yours, don't.
Maybe it's a regional thing, but I've never heard anyone tipping the mailman in any of the areas I grew up in or lived since.
I believe it is a regional thing. When I lived "out west", I never heard of anyone tipping the postman. Now that I live "out east", it is apparently a regular custom with many postmen and managers ignoring the no cash rule.

I usually defer to custom on tipping issues, but in this case I still don't tip the postman. Probably the biggest reason is that my postal delivery is impersonal and I have only spoken to the postman on a few occasions.
stupidkid
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Re: Holiday tipping: letter carriers

Post by stupidkid »

I tipped my guy $20, he's really nice and has held mail for me at the office when he noticed I was away for a few days (without me thinking to ask). Planning to tip him again this year, probably the trash guys too since they wait for me when I'm running the trash out in the morning. Maybe a sixer, that's a good idea.
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