This is hands down the biggest tipping season of the year. Myself, I just returned from picking up my dogs from the groomer where they only go a handful of times a year and dropped $20 on the tip alone. And I'm feeling like I gypped her.
Yeah, now that I think about it I totally gypped her.
But I stink at this kind of thing. I spent a few years as a waitress in college and then a couple of years as a bartender while in that I-don't-know-what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up phase so I have no problem with tipping those people. I am a straight across the board 20% tipper in restaurants if the service is good, 15% if it's just adequate. And I've been known to leave less if I need to point out that they should consider trying another line of work. Bartenders I tip accordingly on a case by case basis.
After that, however, I get frazzled. And now with the holidays coming up I'm really stuck. It's easy enough to go online and find the unofficial guidelines for holiday tipping but I want to know what real people do. For instance, I have a house cleaner who comes once a week but we've only just hired her. She's only cleaned our home, as of tomorrow, three times. What do I tip her?
Ditto for my stylist. I've only seen her four times, less than half the year. She's pregnant so I plan on bringing her a cute onsie or something like that for her baby and I'll increase my usual tip by at least ten percent (I'm generous with my stylists, too). Is that enough?
So what do you do? Do you tip or give small gifts to your garbage men? Your postal carriers? How much do you tip your hairdresser or the person who delivers your newspaper. And are Christmas cookies as gift ever a good idea?
And should I go back to the groomer and leave her a big, fat tip and many apologies? Because no one trims my dogs' nails like she does and that's worth its weight in gold right there.