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Dear Ms. Demeanor: 5 tricky tipping issues

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Tipping season brings its fair shares of conundrums and questions. Below, our beloved Ms. Demeanor solves some of your stickiest tipping problems.

Q. I just moved in in November. Can I tip less than I normally would?

A. Tipping sets you up for good will and good service for as long as you will live in your apartment.  Extra work for the building is inherent for a move.  If you can afford it, I say go hard, it's your home!

Q. I'm moving out of state in January. Do I really have to tip?

A. If you believe in karma, as I do, tip as you always would.  At a minimum, tip graciously to those building staff who truly helped you and made your life easier.  The envelopes can be lighter for those whom do you not particularly like or appreciate. 

Q. My roommates don’t want to tip our staff. They say since we’re renters and young we don’t need to tip, but I want to. What should I do?

A. Tip as much as you can reasonably afford and sign the cards from you and you alone.  You should not have to be penalized for your roommates' collective classlessness, nor should you stoop to their level.

Q. One of my doormen just started about a month ago. Does he really get the same as everyone else? If not, how much less is fair?

I think one fifth of what one would reasonably tip a doorman with one year of experience in the building is appropriate.

Q. Some of my doormen have families and some are single. Is it fair to give more based on what you know they need?

It is fair to give more based on the service they provide, children or not.  Many people have dependents beyond immediate family and lack of children does necessarily imply less need.


Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to msdemeanor@brickunderground.com and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

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