please help…

Okay American or especially NYC readers… please weigh in on this…

In my almost 15 years of living in this building, or any other building, I have never seen this.  A not so veiled Christmas grease up or rather shake down for a tip.  Am I supposed to TIP the mail carrier for performing their job?  Is there a threat that should I choose not to, that I will no longer, or rather, now irregularly receive my mail??  and have I living under a rock to assume that the person is already getting PAID to DO THEIR JOB!!  Seriously now a tip??

Please weigh in on your thoughts… and whilst doing so let me point out that I am not a stingy be-atch, I tip my messenger service, I tip my super, I tip, who I thought up to now were the appropriate people, those who give extra service… the mail lady, are you kidding me.

Advice welcome.



  1. Posted December 18, 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    maybe i’m naive but seeing that card, my first thought was, oh how cute the mail lady is being nice – not that she is out for a tip. and even if she is, don’t give her one. because of what you said – let the usps pay her to do her job correctly.

  2. Posted December 18, 2009 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I suppose it depends on your mail carrier and what you depend on them for. When I was on maternity leave and working from home after my daughter was born, my mail carrier brought our mail (and any packages left in the vestibule) up to me every single day. I tipped him well, he deserved every penny!

  3. Posted December 18, 2009 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I forgot to state that up until then I didn’t ever tip my mail carrier, and I don’t think I have since either.

  4. Mame Johnston
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I usually bake her/him something or make candy, etc. I agree that it does seem a bit crass to put a card in your box EXPECTING a tip, but if they give exceptional service, as stated with bringing the mail to the door for someone ill, or with small children, then they deserve some recognition for it, I feel. Customer service in our fair land is sorely lacking and any person who gives it, should be rewarded by a comment or small gesture recognizing it.

    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted December 18, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      I should probably clarify by saying the mail person does nothing other than shove our mail into the box, generally resulting in most things bent, torn or crushed and these are on the days when the weather is good, I gave also noticed on inclement weather days I usually don’t have any mail. So no I don’t think they go above and beyond and I don’t think she is just “being nice” either.

  5. Posted December 18, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Mail carriers are not allowed to accept tips. Not saying she would say no if you gave her one 😉 but maybe she is just being nice?
    I agree, if they have gone above and beyond I would give a little something (my UPS man always gets chocolates) but otherwise…no.

  6. Jason
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    If you were living in the burbs or up in the catskill house, I would say yes, tip. As it is customary during the season of giving. My mother has tipped the mail carrier and the paper person at Christmas, and only at Christmas, her entire life (73 years young.)

    I suppose being an apartment dweller, where the service is somewhat anonymous you could skip it, but good karma is always worth money in the bank in my book.

    Happy Holidays,


    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted December 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Well said!

  7. Posted December 19, 2009 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I think it may be technically illegal for her to put a personal note in your mailbox! The PO makes such a fuss about anything other than US Mail going in there. Did the envelope have a canceled stamp on it? My paper boy used to do the same thing – and his dad drove him around the neighborhood so the kid could throw the paper at the house from the car window. I know I must sound like a stingy b*tch, but I think that Christmas is about GIVING – not collecting. If you want to give, give. If not, definitely don’t.

  8. SRM
    Posted December 19, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    rumor has it that your “tip” or gift has to be $25 or less and it can’t actually be cash. we give our mail carrier a $25 gift card to Starbucks…

    our mail carrier stuck a poster in the lobby wishing the building tenants happy holidays last week which signals it’s time for his tip 🙂

    i think it’s a bit nuts to tip but i moved in with my now husband and he has always tipped…when he was a kid his mom would bake cookies and that’s what the mail carrier got 🙂

  9. Posted December 20, 2009 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I just give my mail carrier a small gift, last year a small gift basket with jam in it.

  10. Stephanie
    Posted December 20, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Totally standard here to tip the postman/woman! My mom always has and I’m pretty sure Real Simple has included it in articles about tipping. Sorry! Now what to do when you have multiple mailcarriers like I have?

  11. Lucy
    Posted December 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Where does it mention in this Xmas card that a tip is expected. When I was a child, our family received a Xmas card from the mailman, grocer, doctor, dentist, my school teachers…everyone. Take it in the spirit it was intended. Merry Christmas!

    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted December 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I totally hear you, but in NYC nothing comes without an expectation of tip. Trust me.

  12. Elizabeth
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    In my neighborhood we had a mail carrier we loved so much that we got together and gave her an LLBean gift card for her birthday one year.I have a friend who is a mail carrier. She often goes above and beyond the call of duty for people on her route.She deserves a tip as a sign of appreciation in my opinion.

  13. H
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t consider it ‘tipping’. It’s basically just a gift: I gave something to the postie and dustmen in England when I lived there, and now I do the same to the kids who deliver to me from my local store (yes, child labour) and the porter/housekeeper in my building now live in Turkey (albeit not at Christmas). But if you don’t want to, don’t. And you shouldn’t read so much into the card.

  14. Posted December 21, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I also am a former NY City gal who left for the country life….Here in my small town i alway’s find a way to give thanks to the folks who are on a weekly route with us. This US Postal service employee’s can’t accept cash so each year i back some goodies and send them off with them and they are happy to receive.

    I enjoyed the read and Happy Holiday’s from the Adirondack’s!

  15. lrpugliese
    Posted December 27, 2009 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    people are getting a little more desperate this year … this year, my super, who i’ve seen ONCE this year, left a blank card (for himself, presumably from me) with an envelope addressed this himself and stamped, with a note asking for a tip.

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  1. […] Okay so I know I went off on a rant when this was posted in our lobby, thanks to all who weighed in on the tipping debate.  But my super I tip […]

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