Thursday, December 18, 2014

The annual home owner helper gift shakedown

Giving gifts can be a very rewarding experience. 

In fact now that my daughter is 11 we've had a big talk about giving. This year I talked to her about how she should think about who she'd like to give gifts to rather than just getting. First I got a little pout but then she ran around and made a few gifts that she was really proud of and she asked her dad to help her buy one. She's really enjoying the experience.

The home helper gifts
But there is one part of the holiday gift giving experience can rub me the wrong way. When every person who works around the house appears asking for a holiday "gift."
I admit I'm a bit of a scrooge on this one. I get an envelope from my mailman and my newspaper delivery person. This annoys me because I don't think you should ask for a gift for doing your job. I have in the past given these guys gifts of either cash or gift cards or baked goods but I'm not sure I will this year. I know even as I type this I will cave on this because I'm afraid the two folks in question will torture me in the year to come if I don't.

These in particular piss me off because they happen to do a crap job. My mail box is literally on the edge of the street. The guy doesn't even have to get out of his truck since he drives onto my lawn and even still he can't be bothered to actually pick up any mail inside the box, frequently we get mail to the wrong address and often we don't get our mail. Plus he ignores my don't give me any junk mail request. No holiday tip for you ... sorry. The paper delivery guy - oh where do I start? We get a paper Friday - Sunday. At least once a month the Sunday paper will be missing the magazine section. The magazine section is home to the crossword puzzle which is the entire reason we get the paper. Once a month. We'll call the service number. They'll tell us the replacement is on the way and ... it never comes. Sorry craptastic newspaper delivery guy - no holiday tip for you.

How about my handyman who isn't handy or helpful? He's a sad case and it's our own fault that he's still around. His wife is dying and he's old and her only caregiver. He can't do much at this point without breaking stuff so his to do list is very small and should be empty but we pay him every month. It's become a marital issue at this point. My husband insists we keep him I make him deal with him. In the past when he did a lot of stuff for us we happily gave him a nice holiday bonus. This year I think if he shows up looking for a bonus he'll probably be canned. Ah who am I kidding we'll give him a tip and he'll be hanging around forever not actually doing anything except breaking stuff for us.

The shakedown
The garbage guys. I do actually tip our garbage person. She's a lady she waves to my son when she sees him. She honks the horn and she deals with our trash which is something I'm very happy not to do. She's super talented - she has to back down our street to start. But I have been subjected to the garbage shakedown. Here's how it went. A few years ago my husband was home and he said, "I tipped  the garbage guys."

I asked, "what do you mean?"

He said, "The three guys who drive our truck were out there and they asked for their tip so I gave it to them."

I grinned and said, "we have one garbage person and she's a lady. Honey, you got hustled."

Other people I'm happy to tip with either cash, gift cards or baked goods include the pool guy, the water delivery guy (those bottles are heavy and he's always got a smile), the lawn guy, the house keeper, the teachers and the endless list of coaches. These folks interestingly never ask for tips. Hmmmm maybe that's the reason I love to give them gifts. 

What other people think
If you're looking for a more traditional guide to holiday tipping here's Emily Post's advice. She's got more holiday spirit than I do. Even consumer reports who I think of as a frugal bunch apparently thinks I should be more generous.

No comments:

Post a Comment