Tipping: How to show your appreciation during the holidays


Hair stylists keep us looking good, mail carriers get us our mail rain or shine and sanitation workers do one of the dirtiest jobs around. The holidays are a good time to show your appreciation with a tip.

"Tipping is supposed to be optional in most instances, and as a result it's something more personal," Advanced Etiquette founder Syndi Seid said.

A survey of 1,800 Americans by ShopSmart found barbers receive an average tip of $10. Teachers get on average $20, as do hairdressers, mail carriers, manicurists, newspaper carriers, pet-care providers and sanitation workers. Gardeners and lawn care workers do slightly better at $25. And housekeepers get an average tip of $50.

"You tip what you have extra to spare and to share," San Francisco resident Christine Woehler said.

"I tip if I feel that if people give me a friendly good service, treat me kindly and don't make me feel like I owe them something," San Francisco resident Jody Kasch said.

Seid suggests another option.

"The difference is for people who serve you year round that I think a gift is much more personal than just giving money," she said.

Not everyone agrees. In fact, ShopSmart found that 39 percent of people surveyed said they didn't tip at all last holiday season. 55 percent of the women who didn't tip cited tight budgets as the reason, 41 percent of the men gave the same reason for not tipping.

TurtleTip.com founder Stone Melet has another reason.

"A lot of servers have a sense of entitlement that they're going to get 20 percent regardless of what kind of service they provide," he said.

That's why the former waiter and his wife founded TurtleTip.com.

The site is a way to award good service and make your displeasure known for poor service. If you like the service, you can leave your tip and a sticker acknowledging a job well done. If you don't like the service, you leave a minimal tip and a different sticker explaining the rest of the tip is being pledged to charity.

Stone has a link to several charities on his website.

"We felt like the businesses like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are much more deserving of a few extra bucks from the average consumer than a waiter who's doing a mediocre job," he said.

But for workers who do do a good job, tips are much appreciated.

"Actually I never expect any more tips because of the holidays, but when I receive it, I really appreciate it," hair stylist Julian Lee said.

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