Advice columnist Emily Yoffe -- a.k.a. Dear Prudence -- addresses the subject of whether you should tip your newspaper carrier at Christmas during her weekly chat on washingtonpost.com (Answer: YES!). The original question led to a multiple question/comment/answer exchange.
The entire transcript of today's chat can be found here at Slate, but the exchange about the importance of tipping your carriers is under the cut:
Washington Post-land: Our paper carrier kindly gave us a Christmas card (he can tell we celebrate Christmas from the type of bricks on our house, I guess, or maybe from the shingle color) with an addressed return envelope for a gift for him. The return envelope seems crass to us ... we recycled it. Bah humbug.
Emily Yoffe: He's not selecting you because he knows you celebrate Christmas. Our house says we don't and we got cards from all our carriers (we get three papers a day). I gladly write a check (I give them $75 each) for their excellent service. Your newspaper carrier gets up in the middle of the night every night, no matter what the weather, and has a paper on your doorstep every morning. He or she deserves a bonus. If the return envelope seems crass, your bill should have a line on it where you can write in an amount for a tip.
The way the industry is going, your carriers might have to find another line of work one day—so appreciate what they do for you now all year.
Tipping: They get paid for their work. I don't get a tip for doing my job. And the paper receivers shouldn't have to tip—that was just plain tacky!
Emily Yoffe: Hey, Scrooge, Merry Christmas!
Some people get tipped for their work, some don't. Newspaper carriers should.
Re: Tipping: I don't know, I'm with the "shouldn't be expected to tip" people. The economy's terrible—we don't have any extra money at our us, that's for sure. My husband's been out of work for three months. So why should we tip someone who is lucky enough to still have a job?
Emily Yoffe: I tip the carrier generously because I'm in the business, my husband was, and it's an expense we expect each year. Of course, if you can't afford it, you can't afford it! However, if you still eat out occasionally, you know you're going to tip even if the waitress has a job, and you don't. If you can, you could put $5 in the envelope, thank the carrier for the great service, and say things are tough and you wish it could be more.
Menlo Park, Calif.: Normally I'm a very generous tipper. Our newspaper delivery person makes no effort to deliver our paper to the walkway. Many days I have to crawl on my hands and knees under the car to retrieve it. I just don't feel like tipping him/her. Is that wrong?