This website is accessible to all versions of every browser. However, you are seeing this message because your browser does not support basic Web standards, and does not properly display the site's design details. Please consider upgrading to a more modern browser. (Learn More).

You are here: home > living > consumer

Consumer Reports tipping survey offers advice for giving gratuities this holiday season

Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008

e-mail E-mail this page   print Printer-friendly page

YONKERS, N.Y.— How much to tip and whom to tip has always been a tricky decision, one that may get harder in these tough economic times. But the December issue of Consumer Reports offers help.

Consumer Reports asked a nationally representative sample of almost 1,900 U.S. residents what they gave last holiday season when the economy was already starting to unravel, and the results showed few differences from the year before.

The big recipients—house cleaners, with 65 percent of respondents who employ them tipping them last year. House cleaners also received a larger gratuity than other service providers, averaging about $50 or an equivalent gift per tip. Child-care providers were also still among the most likely to receive a tip and received the second largest average gratuity amounts—about $38 per cash tip or gift equivalent.

Consumer Reports found 12 other services providers included in the survey received, on average, between $15 and $25 per gift. These amounts are roughly consistent with findings from past surveys.

“While many families will be looking for ways to tighten belts and reprioritize their spending this year, they still want to thank the people they depend on,” said Tobie Stanger, senior editor at Consumer Reports. “Cash may still be a popular option, but there are other ways to sincerely show your appreciation.”

Rounding out the list of service providers who typically receive holiday tips in the survey: child’s teacher (59%), hairdresser (56%), manicurist (51%), newspaper carrier (45%), barber (40%), building superintendent (33%), pet-care provider (30%), mail carrier (29%), lawn-care crew (28%), school-bus driver (26%), fitness instructor (22%), and sanitation worker (14%).

If the tipping budget is tight this upcoming season, Consumer Reports experts recommend that those wanting to express their gratuity allocate tips in the following ways:
 

  • Give cash to the people you believe need it most. In many cases an extra week’s pay or the cost of one session is appropriate.
  • Avoid bank-issued gift cards. They might expire or have fees. Even retail cards can be useless if the store goes bankrupt.
  • Give small gifts. For others, consider giving soaps, candles, or baked goods. Unless you know them well, avoid alcohol or food that might be inappropriate or cause allergic reactions.
  • For those you tip regularly, like a barber or a hairdresser, a small gift or a card is usually an appropriate way to say thanks.
  • Be aware of the rules. Mail carriers aren’t allowed to take cash or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash. The U.S. Postal Service says they can accept non-cash gifts or gift cards worth $20 or less. School districts may also frown on cash gifts to teachers.
  • For the really tight budget. A hand written thank you note is always appropriate and can go a long way.
For more information on holiday tipping survey, Consumer Reports December issue or online at www.ConsumerReports.org

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this newspaper's web site.
 
e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page
 
 
 
Consumer Reports tipping survey offers advice for giving gratuities this holiday season
While many families will be looking for ways to tighten belts and reprioritize their spending this year, they still want to thank the people they depend on.
 
Living

Got Feedback?
Send a letter to the editor.

Subscribe
Sign up for the Chatham Chatlist.

Advertise
Promote your brand at chathamjournal.com.



Subscribe now: RSS news feed, plus FREE headlines for your site