Doorman to resident: Your tip blows

Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral
By Teri Karush Rogers  |
December 28, 2009 - 6:01AM

After weeks of agonizing over how much to tip in a brutal recessionary year, apartment dwellers spent the weekend comparing post-game notes online. (StreetEasy, UrbanBaby)

For one resident of a luxury Central Park building, things apparently did not go well:  A doorman presented with a $60 tip responded, “I love the card, not so much the contents.”

(Insert empathy gasp here.)

Many fellow posters were aghast. Yet a fair number agreed that the $60 gratuity sounded miserly for a “luxurious small building in front of the park.”  Some forecast a Year of Awkwardness unless the undertipper apologized and re-tipped.

Come again?

We hadn’t heard of re-tipping before, so we asked those more experienced than us.  The consensus: Re-tipping is a slippery slope best not embarked upon, even if you suspect you erred on the frugal side and can afford to make it up.

On the one hand, you don’t want to reward rudeness, or trigger a tide of reopened palms.  But without a clear communication about whether you’ve miscalculated, you may simply be paranoid.  

After all, expressions of gratitude vary by building, often depending on the-fish-rots-from-the-head-down example set by the super or resident manager.  

While a handshake and a personal thank you are the norm in some places, other buildings post a note on behalf of the entire staff.   And according to Doormen, the pre-eminent sociological tome on the species, many staff deliberately keep you guessing whether you gave enough, a strategic ploy to elicit higher tips next year.

A better approach, we are advised, is to make up for your faux pas over time by tipping well for extra services performed in the future.

One more tip from experienced palm crossers:  Keep a record of your tithing this year and make a note of any reactions one way or the other, the better to help you fine tune your calculations next December.

Related posts:

1st Annual BrickUnderground Guide to Holiday Tipping

Yes, Virginia, we keep lists too

Tipping the mailman

Co-op bans holiday tipping

Stiffed again! Doorman blasts bad tippers


Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

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