What to Tip?

It's the holidays and it's time for celebrating… and tipping! If you have a doorman or any type of staff in your building this time of year has some of you living in fear of the "hairy eyeball". How much should you tip? Should you dig deep at all for building staff, after all aren't they getting a paycheck? 

BHB pal Sewell Chan asks the tipping question today in the New York Times City Room and provides some insight.

Well, what do you do? 

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  • anon

    Is this is a topic thats intresting? why not talk about what a schmo Yasky is?

  • Micky

    I was thinking $50 for each of the doormen and porters and $100 for the super. Also $25 for the postal carrier.

    I am very curious though to know what others tip in the neighborhood.

  • http://BrooklynHeightsBlog Karl

    I live in a walkup so I save on doorman etc. I tip my cleaning lady who makes $80 a week for one cleaning $120. I tip John, the best UPS carrier in the country $40. After that, I somewhat ambivalent.

  • Billy

    I give the doormen $50, the super $200, the mail carrier $25, the dry cleaner deliverer $25 and the newpaper deliverer $20.
    I give the other building staff 50 each as well.
    Most people in the area do not live in buildings with big staff.

  • Jen

    My building suggests a contribution of 10% of monthly maintenence. They pool it an distribute evenly to the staff. We give extra to the staff that we find especially helpful/friendly — usually $50 each.

  • Kris

    Our building has 150 units, and we have 6 staffers to tip. Is it appropriate to just give them $30 or are we gonna look cheap. I mean, even if 100 people give them a $20 that’s still $2,000!

  • GHB

    You’re gonna look cheap. Especially if you give that to the super. You asked…

  • Annette

    I think you give what you can afford, of course, and also based on merit to some extent. When I lived in a full-service building, we had 4 full-time doormen, 2 relief doormen, a porter, a handyman and a super. That’s a lot of staff and a lot of cash. And the relief guys, who work an average of one or two shifts a week, certainly don’t warrant the same tip as the full-timers.

    I had a studio apartment (vs. a 1 or 2-BR), and only got packages delivered every once in a while; I never had dry-cleaning delivered and rarely, if ever, needed anything beyond pet food accepted during my absence. I bought coffee, tea, soda and sometimes bagels, egg rolls or other requested small items for the desk-bound doormen and never accepted money from them. I baked cookies and gave iced tea.

    And I *ALWAYS* said thank you when the door was opened for me – you cannot believe how many rude people just walk through without even the slightest acknowledgement. Yes, that’s their job, but that doesn’t mean you can take leave of your manners – how hard is it to say “thank you”?

    So when I didn’t have $600 to spare come the holidays, I would take heart in the fact that I treated them well and fairly and did small favors througout the whole year, delivering a modest tip with a cache of more fresh baked goodies, specially packaged, and hope that I wasn’t looked upon as “cheap”. I know at least one doorman who did think I was cheap; but then again, so was he, as he never did anything durig the year without expecting a bonus in his hand. It goes both ways…

  • bornhere

    I’ve lived in the same co-op for nearly 26 years, and I tend to give $75 to the only full-time doorman (who works from 8 am to 5 pm M-F), $75 or $100 to the super (who lives on the premises and always gets “extra” for anything he does for me), $40 or $50 to the part-time porter, and $20 to the weekend doorman (who is essentially useless but nice). The staff is union, and when I review the building’s financial statement every year, I am fairly impressed by the salaries and benefits. The benefits definitely exceed those I get as an editor in advertising. I’m not sure how compelled I feel to give these gifts, but I do think I would be embarrassed not to give. Have any of you ever received a thank you note from building staff or is that a preposterous notion?

  • Loving Brooklyn

    Tada, maybe you should get a little more rest and be less negative about the people who help to keep you safe. Your little tirade proves that you are not grateful for anything that people do for you. I’m sorry but it’s okay to be a dull doorman. They are not there to sing and dance for us. They’re there to open the door and receive our packages. Your perception of the super may be a little tainted. Perhaps you should try and talk with him in the same manner you would a family member or significant other. I’m sure that negativity your conversations with him. Lastly, maybe you should consider moving back to your other building, since their method of telling you who works in the building is so much better than the current one. I’m sure your neighbors feel your disdain for where you live and don’t want you in their community anyway.

  • Loving Brooklyn

    Sorry, that was supposed to say “I’m sure that your negativity permeates your conversations with him.”

  • GHB

    Tada, no I don’t get a thank you note from my building staff. Just a grateful “thank you” and a handshake. That’s all I need. God knows I don’t need more paper. Our management company also sends out a list of building staff. There are a lot of new shareholders in the building who may not know exactly who does what, but since they help keep the building running, these guys should be acknowledged. If your building’s staff is so horrible, you should take it up with the management company and your board (though I’m guessing that you’re the problem, not your staff.) Happy Holidays!

  • Arthur

    Tada – “done with this blog”. Do you think this blog is one big monolith? No, it is a collective of different opinions. Perhaps you shouldn’t be so quick to take your ball and go home.

  • bornhere

    Just because people don’t talk with building support staff as they might with their family members or significant others (which, Loving Brooklyn, I have to admit I find just a bit too intimate), doesn’t mean they can’t live in a particular place or voice an opinion. I don’t really get some of the “go back where you came from” stuff that goes on. Isn’t this blog just a sort of cyber cocktail party/drive by thing? Everyone needs to calm down. C’mon — where’s the Christmas spirit? Sniping at a blog contributor and then talking about an absence of warm and fuzzy feelings is odd.

  • GHB

    Agreed bornhere. I can’t see me askin’ the doorman to go down on me for my birthday!

  • Loving Brooklyn

    Okay, so I’ll take the move back where you came from comment. I meant the rest. I just think you cannot compare the methods of how different building distribute staffing information. Both ways were aimed at informing the tenants of the existing staff. It’s fine for Tada to voice his opinoin, just like it’s fine for me to disagree with it. I also did want to help him/her to try to start thinking of the people who service the building in a different light. Just because the moment you come home the doorman is smoking could mean that you were interrupting his cigarette break. The US Department of Labor mandates that people receive a certain amount of breaks from doing their job. Perhaps the doorman is on his break, but has to end it a little earlier to service the tenant that is coming into the door. There are just varying perspectives to each situation. This Tada fellow seemed to look at everything in the negative. I was just pointing out that mere fact. I guess I took it a little personal and that’s where the “move back” comment came from.

  • meow

    As a first timer this information has been useful. My question is do you directly hand them each of their tips? I don’t even know who my porter is because I am brand new to the building.

  • GHB

    If you’re that new to the building (a week or two?), then you don’t really have an obligation to tip, unless the staff was particularly helpful to you during your move. I always hand tips directly to the recipient.

  • 11201

    The p/t porter in our co-op (no doorman) is so much more helpful and useful than our live-in super. that’s why we give him $100 this time of year and her $50. He is friendly and helpful and goes above and beyond for us year-round. She does what is required of her and generally not much else. Many of our neighbors have admitted to tipping similarly – giving the porter 2x as much as the super, sometimes more.