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Do you reward good service at Christmas or during the year?

Row of milk bottles

Christmas is traditionally known as the time we’re expected to give generously. According to social etiquette experts, it’s also the time of year where tipping is customary, whether tradespeople, the postie or the milkman.

Last year, we asked whether you tip the postman at Christmas and many of you said that you always do. Malcolm R told us:

‘If someone just does the job adequately for which they are paid then tipping (like bonuses) is not, in my view, appropriate. However if they do more than their job – exceptional performance or putting themselves out to help their customers for example, then an extra reward is merited.Our post lady always knocks and waits if she has something that won’t go through the letter box or puts a note through if she leaves something in the porch. She will get a large box of chocs.’

Tipping: what does everybody else do?

Roughly one in four of us leave a festive present for our postie, if they’ve delivered good service. That’s far less than times gone past, but still enough for them to earn a  half-decent payout. Harris told us:

‘As a former paper boy I provided a service to those I delivered to and this was handsomely repaid to me at Christmas; compared with the other delivery boys I received a fortune! These tradesman provide a service through all winds and weather.’

No-present pacts

How about when it comes to exchanging gifts with distant relatives? Every year, I trawl the high streets buying scarves, smellies and chocolates for family members I barely even see – and I receive a whole sack worth of these stocking fillers in return.

Wavechange has shared his concerns over the need to part with presents. He said:

‘I am also concerned about school kids giving presents to teachers. Is it genuine thanks, possible bribery or tipping when items such as bottles of wine change hands? I think gifts should be restricted to cards.’

Perhaps we could use the money saved to buy a surprise gift at a more desirable time? In a guest post from 2010, Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis shared his idea of ‘No-present pacts’ and it struck a chord with many commenters.

So, how far will your generosity extend this Christmas? Will you be tipping the tradespeople who have served you well this year? And do you feel obliged to buy gifts for those you rather wouldn’t?

smike says:
23 December 2014

If you are going to pose the question, it would be useful to Poll respondents as to how they tip various service providers

I always used to tip the milkman at Christmas time until suddenly without any warning at all a pint of milk increased to 75p! A termination note was promptly delivered and I now walk to the convenience store and buy fresh milk when I can and stock up with long-life for emergencies.

Post lady just as helpful this year – she knows we are not early risers so if she has a personal delivery she will knock…….and wait…….. 😉
An appropriate gift in appreciation (and a card – without a stamp).

anon the mouse says:
24 December 2014

Why should good service only be commented on once a year?

If I get good service, I tip. If I don’t, I don’t. That could be at Xmas or July, it makes no difference.

I used to give paper girls/boys a tip every Christmas,but not now as I don’t think they deserve it.
If I am on the front when they come I take the paper off them.I always say thank you to them,but
Doesn’t say anything and walk away.Dumb insolence I call it.The other paperboy rides over my
Garden on his cycle.

williamparker – why don’t you walk to the shop and buy your newspaper? Would you get up in the early hours of the morning to deliver newspapers for what amounts to peanuts, to ungrateful people? I bet you always tip a pretty waitress!

Riding across someones garden hardly seems something to be rewarded, and as for being glum when dealing with customers is also nothing to reward.

I was a paperboy for more than a couple of years and getting a Xmas tip was fine but I never thought it was mandatory given I was being paid to do the job.

Should people walk to get their paper. Walking is about the most healthy exercise you can do as the impact of heel to pavement drives blood to the brain apart from simply exercising the muscles. Most beneficial if done briskly.

However distance and infirmities must preclude this for some people and arguably if very few bothered to take papers then there would be no economic value to organising deliveries. And of course going across to electronic newspapers may deprive the area of a shop which may form an important hub.

Jessica: williamparker posted that comment four years ago. I doubt he’ll see you suggestion.

We tip the paper boys/girls as it does take dedication to get up early in all weathers. I did it myself once so I do know what it is like. They usually need a bit of training to get them to push the paper all the way through the letterbox, but a gentle reminder that they will not do well at Christmas unless they deliver the papers properly usually does the trick.

Sophie Gilbert says:
29 December 2014

Our postie’s great, but I don’t tip him. I think it would be ridiculous as he earns more than I, and he doesn’t do his job better than I do mine, he just happens to be a postie.

bfoster says:
12 September 2015

My milkman is given a good tip at Christmas. In 13 years e has never let us down come rain, snow, fog or frost he has always delivered.

I think people should tip paper boys/girls if they provide a good service. Even people with little money should give a fiver at least – less than 10p tip for a week. Rain , wind , fog, ice and snow.
I took papers as a child – it taught me life skills and a good work ethic. Now my son does the same even though today his wages are peanuts – less than the minimum wage. Good reliable paper kids should be valued and supported – not taken for granted and conveniently ‘forgotten’ come Christmas time. They are a credit to themselves. So look out for your paper boy at Christmas time this year – and make sure you tip him personally. It’s the right thing to do.

If a package arrives that is too large for the front door, he always opens the electric gate using the security code we provided and places the package in our shed. He always smiles, always happy. We give him a £20 tip at Christmas. He deserves it.