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In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.
For New Yorkers who live in staffed apartment buildings, tipping is a fact of life this time of year, and one we've covered intimately at BrickUnderground. As we continue our Holiday Week coverage, peruse some of our best stories on the ins and outs of tipping:
ON THE ETHICS OF TIPPING:
- Are we morally obligated to tip? Opinions are split. Some New Yorkers consider it a worthwhile gesture for a job well done; others think the building employees are engaged in a legal form of blackmail.
- What happens to good tippers: Friendlier service, window washing, doorstep delivery and more.
- What happens to bad tippers: It depends on the reason: if you lost your job, staff will probably understand. If you're just cheap, expect attitudes to change.
- If you can't afford to tip: Gift cards, vouchers, warm chocolate chip cookies or a bottle of wine or liquor are all acceptable substitutes to cash.
WHO DESERVES A TIP?
- Doormen and supers? Definitely.
- The porter? Also definitely. If you have a doorman, he'll be front and center, but porters work behind the scenes.
- Amenity staff? Sure. If you use perks like the gym or pool, consider a $10 gift card or voucher.
- The mailman? Federal law prohibits mail carriers from accepting cash or anything worth more than $20, but many customers give small cash gifts or a gift card.
- The garbage man? This one depends on your general feelings about tipping.
- Consider three tenets of tipping: Keep a list (to avoid tipping twice, forgetting to tip, or accidentally tipping less than last year). Tip all staff members in the building (though you can always play favorites). Pay in cash (if possible).
- Need to tip staff members you never see? We've got solutions for that.
- If you're in a large building, it might save a lot of hassle to start a tipping pool.
- Your doorman's average tip is probably between $25 and $100. Most prefer a lump-sum tip around the holidays, rather than small amounts of cash here and there.
- Yes, Virginia, the doormen are tracking your tips, and if they seem less than thrilled this year, it may be because they've noticed a drop off.
- Also, perhaps unsurprisingly, building staffers confirm they get better tips in co-op or condo buildings versus rentals.