Tipping the doorman - some questions

DrezDrez Registered User regular
So my building has a number of doormen. And other folks.

I can't tip everyone. But there are three doormen that have been extremely helpful to me with regard to package deliveries (all packages come through the front desk).

I believe holiday tipping is somewhat customary. True or false?

Is it sufficient, or a bad idea, to tip just those three individuals?

Should I also tip the super?

Is $50 per person enough?

Is cash the only valid option here, or is something like a $50 prepaid AMEX/Visa just as good?

Thanks in advance.

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Posts

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    To append to that: There's one doorman in particular that I deal with the most and has extreme patience. I was thinking of giving him a little more, like $75 or $100. Bad idea to give him a different amount than the two others (whose shifts sometimes overlap)?

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    I now imagine you live in a posh mansion with numerous servants Drez. How much staff are you talking about?

    If you really have that many staff you might want to do something for the general staff like a traditional holiday food thing. Like people should grasp the concept that Andy, Bob and Chuck are the ones you see and help you the most so they got something special but something for the entire staff shows some appreciation at least.

    I don't see a huge difference between the card and the cash though I don't think it classes it up any.

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Ha, no, just a huge apartment. I'm talking about 20 staff basically, some are maintenance, some are supers-or-whatever, and there's about 6 or 7 doormen. But I only really deal with 3, and 1 the most. The doormen are around the clock so I only interact with a few on a regular basis as they have shifts that jive with my life schedule.

    The card question is because it would be better for me to use my credit card to purchase gift cards than give out cash this particular month.

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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Cash is king.

    Those cash cards are a pain; a lot of places don't know how to process them. My order from Cabellas got flagged for fraud because I tried using one. I mean, a gift is better than no gift, but they're not quite as easy as a store-branded card.

    I would say $20 - $50 for each of your main guys is fine, with $20 tops for anyone else who stands out.

    Probably tip the Super something, in theory they share or get something for the other staff.

    Would after New Years be better for you? Wait until you can get the cash and put it a red envelopes for Chinese new year.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    I would probably kick fifty bucks in the direction of a doorman who'd been super helpful over the course of the year (receives packages / knows your SO / etc) and 20-25 toward anyone else who you have a good relationship with (assuming it's only a couple people anyway.) Larger amounts than that might be weird, unless it's a super high-end building or something.

    stay away from the prepaid cards, those are a hassle and you can't even get them processed everywhere

    if you have a regular super who lives in the building and so on I might even swing by with a smallish gift basket or something (be on this guy's good side)

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  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    We've gotten gift baskets for the staff where we live. A basket for the front office and one for maintenance. I'm thinking I might get cash/a gift card for the main guy who always fixes our stuff.

    Point being you might want to consider a gift for the staff in general then something extra for the peeps who've been especially helpful to you.

    DevoutlyApatheticchromdomBouwsT
  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    Hi. Doorman/Concierge for five years here. In the interest of disclosure, I work in a high end building, so this is mostly applicable advice, but you can scale it down based on your income/value of apartment/cost of rent.

    Holiday tipping is definitely customary. It's probably the most known thing about the industry by laymen. For perspective, it's about 15-20% of my yearly income.

    You might want to ask some of your neighbors if/what they tip, for perspective. $20 for everyone, and $40 for excellent service, maybe?

    Based on my co-workers, they will tell each how how much they're making in tips. So if you single some people out for good service, the ones who got nothing may think they've done something wrong to offend or upset you. If you truly never interact with someone, and they don't know you, I can see it being okay, but if someone has helped you in the past and you don't tip, it will probably sour the relationship a bit.

    You should definitely tip the super. Mine (at least) does not share in the staff's tips; he gets his own. Being on his/her good side can really help in a pinch. If you don't tip the super, you will get the service you pay for, but people who did remember to tip him/her will certainly get bumped ahead in their mental priority list.

    Cash is vastly preferred, but some people do write checks. I have never received a gift card, and it does sound like a hassle, because I can't use it to pay for rent/utilities/etc.

    V wrote:
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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Cool. Thanks y'all!

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Unfortunately I can't really afford to pay 20 people even $20 apiece. Maybe if I spread it or delay to Jan. But I wouldn't even know how to give it to them. The only reason I even know they work here is that there's a holiday sheet with the staff's names and photos. I literally never see over half of them. Is it really important for me to tip doormen I never see?

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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    I would say no. I would tip those I deal with regularly.

    If it's a huge apartment building, they aren't all getting tips from everyone.

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  • chromdomchromdom Why do bad things keep happening to me? Oh yeah, because of the things I've done.Registered User regular
    No actual experience, but I thought booze was a pretty standard holiday gift.
    Case or 2 of beer for the staff, and then maybe a bottle of whisky for the ones you feel especially close to?
    But silencenumbers has the most real world experience, so follow that advice.

  • SixSix Thankful for my limbs and teeth Registered User regular
    We have about 15 staff in our building. We tip the entire staff, a separate amount for the super/manager, and some extra for the staff we feel especially close to that we give separately. We also give the staff something every year like candies or cookies or something. I'd recommend you tip the entire staff rather than only a few of them.

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Six wrote: »
    We have about 15 staff in our building. We tip the entire staff, a separate amount for the super/manager, and some extra for the staff we feel especially close to that we give separately. We also give the staff something every year like candies or cookies or something. I'd recommend you tip the entire staff rather than only a few of them.

    Do you see or interact with the entire staff?

    Approximately how much do you give if you don't mind asking? Closer to $20/person, $50 per, $100 per, $250 per? I'm seeing some crazy tip figures out there on the web, none of which I can afford.

    Do you own or rent? (I'm renting and 99% sure I will not be in this building next holiday as it is a sublet.)

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited December 2015
    Here's my take: I won't be here next holiday. I like tipping, but I have limited funds. I'd rather single out and tip the people that have seriously helped me on a daily basis rather than everyone evenly, which means spreading my limited funds extremely thinly. I also don't have much time, like to prepare food.

    It probably sounds like I'm looking for validation, and maybe on some level I am. I appreciate the advice, though, and am seriously taking it under consideration (I asked with an open mind). I'm just trying to understand what's best for my situation. Would it look worse if I tipped 4-5 and ignored the other 10 (there's 15 on staff, I double-checked) who I literally never see and probably only marginally benefit from with regards to maintenance or whatever, or if I tipped everyone $15 bucks, or if I just tipped no one and pretended I'm a ghost for the next 6-7 months? I'd rather not do the latter two - they feel "wrong" to me, unless people disagree and believe that tipping like $15 to 15 people. Just being honest as to my budget right now, and that's probably what would happen if I decided it was better to tip all 15.

    Drez on
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  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Tip who you want however much you want. Don't feel obligated to tip other people just because. If you really care that much then ask whomever you're tipping to keep it on the DL.

  • BlarghyBlarghy Registered User regular
    Yeah, if you want to show your appreciation to specific people, then don't feel bad that you can't tip everyone. Those people earned it, and isn't a reflection on those other people you never interact with.

  • SixSix Thankful for my limbs and teeth Registered User regular
    edited December 2015
    Drez wrote: »
    Six wrote: »
    We have about 15 staff in our building. We tip the entire staff, a separate amount for the super/manager, and some extra for the staff we feel especially close to that we give separately. We also give the staff something every year like candies or cookies or something. I'd recommend you tip the entire staff rather than only a few of them.

    Do you see or interact with the entire staff?

    Approximately how much do you give if you don't mind asking? Closer to $20/person, $50 per, $100 per, $250 per? I'm seeing some crazy tip figures out there on the web, none of which I can afford.

    Do you own or rent? (I'm renting and 99% sure I will not be in this building next holiday as it is a sublet.)

    Yes, we see most of the staff pretty regularly. Some more than others, but we appreciate the work they all do.

    Edit: pulling this because I'm not sure it's necessary.

    We own and have lived here for about 5 years now.

    Six on
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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    That is an incomprehensible amount of money to me to give out as tips in one go. I don't know that I've ever even spent that much on gifts in one season.

    I mean, I also have never lived anywhere classy enough to have doormen, so maybe we're just talking about a far-off-in-the-distance income bracket here.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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  • SixSix Thankful for my limbs and teeth Registered User regular
    I'm not a huge fan of tipping in general, but there are some people we interact with regularly and we try to show them how much they're appreciated over the course of the year. The building staff does a ton throughout the year to make our lives easier, so we try to do what we can to show our appreciation. Tipping is a pretty big chunk of our holiday budget, not just for the building staff but for a few other people as well.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    That seems like a 6 figure income level of tipping and holiday spending though.

    Either way, for drez in particular, I think the right course of action would be to buy the entire staff something like donuts/coffee and then tipping the bigger people on the downlow would be a good thing.

    Maybe give the 3 doormen $50 and the super $100.

    Do it cash, don't do it with cards.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Drez,

    Disregard the entire thread and consider this post validation of your original intent. That is a perfectly kind, generous and reasonable thing to do.

    What is this I don't even.
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  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    chipping in to agree with Darkewolfe - consider that if you tip each $50, it'd be as if you'd taken all three of these appreciated staffers out to dinner as a holiday gift. completely acceptable.

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Thanks to everyone.

    I decided to give an even $50 to 5 people: The three doormen who I interact with heavily, the super, and one maintenance guy who is always around and helped me avoid a $100 lockout for locking my keys in the Apt one day.

    I appreciate ALL the advice. And while it may be customary to tip everyone, I just can't afford it to that degree and still make the tip be meaningful (to me). Right or wrong, I want the tip to mean something/communicate something (that I appreciate their above-and-beyond help) rather than being perfunctory or because of an expected custom. Not that I begrudge Six or anyone for following the custom. The whole point of this thread was to get different perspectives, and I thank everyone for the guidance.

    Writing the cards now and I got some crisp banking notes ($50s) for the occasion.

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  • matt1005matt1005 Registered User new member
    Curious to hear thoughts. We have a building with a staff of 33. Have tipped everyone generously 2 years in a row and never has anyone said thank you. I’m wondering if everyone got their tips and or is it just expected so a thank you is not needed?

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Honestly, this year, we pooled money in our unit, gave only the three primary doormen, and my roommate issued the cards and gifts. I checked with the doormen if they got the gifts from my roommate but all three of them were weird about it and seemingly wouldn’t have thanked me if I hadn’t asked. I’m almost at the point where tipping them isn’t even necessary. It was weird for me too.

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