How Do I Tip The Trash Collector?

Ah, holiday tipping. This little post still gets a steady stream of comments, even several years later…

Invariably this time of year, all the “tipping experts” of the world unite and tell us ignorant folk what to do. Is it just me, or is it a cushy job to tell other people how they should spend their money? I think they all just secretly copy each other. I’ve made a little collection of links below, and all of them say that you should tip the trash collector if your municipality allows it:

I appreciate the idea of tips as an annual “Thank You”, but my question is how do I tip the trash collector? I’m never around during pickup. Tape an envelope to the bucket and hope it doesn’t blow away or get overlooked? Nobody even gets out of the truck these days, it’s just a driver and a robotic arm. Am I supposed to wait around for when they come, which varies from 6 am to 1pm on a weekday and jump out when they finally arrive? Sorry, but I don’t like them that much.

I’ve read conflicting reports about USPS mail carriers. According to USPS.com, they aren’t allowed to receive cash or cash equivalents, although physical gifts worth less than $20 are okay. Technically, gift cards that are not redeemable for cash and only good at a single store are also acceptable. Now I’m thinking lottery tickets (if they win, they’ll have broken the rules, but then they don’t need the job anymore :)). I don’t really have anyone else – nannies, gardeners, personal trainers…

Where I used to live, people left out a case of beer or soda for the trash collector. No idea why, but maybe because it’s pretty easy to spot. People have never heard of it here. Does anyone else do that?

Comments

  1. I usually leave a 6 pk case of nice beer if I know they are guys and a gift certificate to Macy’s, linen & things, bath & body works if it’s a woman.

    One year, my dad put out his entire collection of porn that he wanted to get rid of. Boy were the guys happy to get that haha.

  2. I’ve never heard of people tipping the trash collector! I’d be worried that any gift I left out would automatically be tossed into the garbage truck! And if you left out a case of beer here, it would either be gone by the time the garbage men came, or you’d get a fine for improper recycling! I’ve never tipped a mail carrier either. My newspaper delivery person leaves me a pre-addressed envelope, so I usually do send a little something.

  3. Josh Lindquist says:

    My girlfriends mom is a postal carrier and she gets TONS of gifts. We’re staying with her right now as we’re saving for a house (we’re closing on the 28th of this month) and she came home last night with a chocolate orange, a large pack of deer sausage, a big pack of Ghiradelli chocolate, and some home made chocolates. She says it’s pretty common people leave gifts for them and the garbage collectors in the mail box or on top of the garbage cans. We’re in Minnesota, I don’t know if it’s like this elsewhere..

    JL

  4. Tipping is a waste of money. Don’t let society and friends pressure you into throwing your values and money away.

  5. I’m in the camp that pretty much doesn’t tip anybody. This year I have a concierge (well, about 10 of them, it seems, but one has actually stood out as doing a good job), so I actually have someone I am “supposed” to tip. I doubt I’ll get them anything, though. I’m not a fan of tipping in general – call me Mr. Pink. I do tip (and generously for good service) at restaurants/bars, though.

    I think the taping an envelope on the lid is the best bet, but there’s a good chance they will overlook that. The other option might be to call the trash company and ask them for ideas. Of course, they might not like the idea of tips in general, so that might not go well.

    Just out of curiosity, are you tipping because you “should”, or because the trash people have done an exceptional job? With my concierge, at least I’ve spoken with this guy multiple times, so there’s some level of personal bond.

  6. My parents have always tipped the trashed collectors. Typically, my mom taped a big envelope to the top of the trash can right around Christmas. Sometimes she had us kids watch out for the trash collector and then run outside to alert them of the tip. I think it is a nice practice espeically because we always had extra trash right after Christmas with all the paper and such.

  7. Postal carriers and garbage truck/Recycling employees seem like they get paid pretty good anyway. Of course you if you feel led to bless them then go for it. If you have to get up early to meet them then do so.

    If you have extra to give out this time of year, try a random acts of kindness. Pay for gas for someone behind you at the convenience store; pay for the person’s meal behind you at the drive up (yes, even at Starbucks!). Its great if your shy about talking to strangers; the clerk will do all the explaining for you!

    Merry Christmas!

  8. Ah, giving porn for the holidays, just like our forefathers ;)

    I’ve always lived in apartments up until recently, so I’m really just curious about the actual mechanics here. My mailbox is at the front door, not by the curb. Living in the NW, it’s highly likely lots of wind and rain will be involved.

    Pre-addressed envelopes – I can’t decide if that’s tacky or practical, given my own confusion!

    I’m pretty much with the people who are trying to keep up with society norms, while keeping practical. If nobody told me that people do this, then I wouldn’t tip anybody who earned a regular salary (non-waitstaff). Mail carriers and trash collectors do earn a solid income, sure.

    At the same time, I see nothing wrong with thanking the people who serve us with a little gift at the end of the year. I don’t think I’ll give more than $10 though. I still like the idea of scratch-off lottery tickets. Or I’m going to give them some beer and start the tradition here!

    I just moved, but things seem very mechanical here. When I leave out extra trash, they charge me for it! Maybe they’d look the other way if I tipped…

  9. Put a white envelope tapped to the trash can. Then put $5 in it with a note saying thanks. Just wait until you have to throw out something big like a TV. They’ll take it ;)

    - Bryan

  10. There are some cheap bastards on this site. I’m not saying you should tip because society says so, but if you have a good relationship with a service employee and they do a good job of providing you that service then it is not “a waste of money” to tip or give an annual gift.

  11. Leaving beer/porn beside the road could get you in trouble with the law if someone underage ended up coming along. In today’s sue everyone environment, I wouldn’t risk that.

    Where I live, trash collection is very automated, they only have one driver and he never leaves the cab of the truck as an arm just comes out, grabs the can and dumps it. He is never at my house more than a minute or two.

    I tried dropping off a card to the postmaster once, they made me buy postage for it even though I was hand delivering it. This was even in a small local office where she keeps you talking for 20 minutes every day you come in to stave off the boredom. I haven’t done it since.

  12. I used to make excellent tips as a newspaper girl. My customers were all billed via postcard, and there was a checkbox to add a tip to the bill. I think at Christmas I earned roughly an extra month’s pay, which was awesome. It was a townhouse route so I had to get out of the car to toss them up to the porch. One of my most generous customers was the one whom we started with, so he’d get his paper by 5:30am when he left for work. It’s nice to know the extras are appreciated.

    I will probably tip my mailman since he has to get out of the truck and walk up to my apt. to deliver mail.

    The best tip my parents ever left was a bottle of good booze for their mailman! They figured he needed it after hauling hundreds of college info packets to our house when my stepsister and I were applying at the same time

  13. What is the logic behind who gets tipped and who does not ? Should one a tip a salesman at a computer store ? TSA employees at airport ? Dell support center employees ?

  14. Frankly, I don’t understand tipping.

    If you take generosity to the extreme, give the money to charity. $10 is enough to save a life. $10 will pay for multiple vaccinations. (Or if you take it even more extreme, keep the money, invest it, and then donate it.)

    If you take greediness to the extreme, then keep the money or spend it on a friend.

    Why waffle in the middle? To make yourself feel better?

  15. Our trash collector went on strike; no tip for him!

  16. Yes, if you live in an urban area, perhaps leaving out liquor and adult material isn’t the best idea ever :)

    I don’t see tipping as charity. However, it is also a personal thing and you should give as you see fit. Don’t want to give? Just don’t give then, you broke no laws, the world will keep on spinning.

    I see it as a Thank You to people who have an effect on your everyday quality of life. Your nanny. Your doorman. Even the barista, if you go every single day. The UPS guy, if they come every day. If they somehow make your quality of life worse, then there’s nothing to say thanks for!

    I call it Karma, but if you want to be more practical about it – these people have the ability to go beyond the call of duty to help you out later in life; Do you think they will more or less likely to do so if you don’t even go a tiny bit beyond for them? You don’t need to give money, maybe do a favor for them or some other gift.

  17. I think the comments by the nontippers are a little harsh and extreme. It seems they feel like they are obligated or coerced into tipping.

    The way I look at it is, if the person went the extra mile with their job, or if you had them do extra work for you (eg you throwing away a mattress or large appliance), and you appreciate it, there’s no harm in tipping them. Also, I know that when I need them to help me out in the future, they will be more likely to oblige (eg when I dump a lot of garage when moving, or when I am expecting an expensive package that I can expect them to put it in a safe place or give it to me by hand).

    As to how to give the gift, the garbage man & mailman usually comes the same days around the same time. Just give them the gift in person. It’s more sincere and will prevent your gift from being stolen or lost.

    PS to Melvin’s comment: Porn was in a bag, so I wouldn’t be able to help it if a minor did decide to rumage through my garbage and tear open the bag and found porn in it; Not very many kids play with garbage these days.

  18. not until I see this post, I didn’t even know that there’s a tipping for all the service people for your house such as mailman/woman or trash collectors. This is going to be a small problem for me. 1st, we have a maillady, a set of trash collectors, and the special trash (recycle items) all come in on different schedules. That means I have to prepare 3 set of gifts. 2nd, I thought a nice cookie or some home baked stuff is nice enough. Money is going to be problemetic. We don’t have any, no one is tipping me for my job (my boss just announced that they are issuing some stock option rather than bonus this year – my computer is a startup). Another thing is how do you measure preformance? Are they really doing a better job than those who don’t get tips when they collect trash in a poorer neighborhood?

    Maybe a thank you note is more approperite.

  19. southern california here.
    never heard of tipping like this.

    i will in the future if i can.

    current mailman doesn’t seem to understand how to put mail in the box though. :(

  20. umm my garbage man never gets out of his truck b/c theres a robot arm picking up my trash can :P

  21. Heres a thought for all those who don’t understand tipping or never thought about it:

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! IF you worked as a service provider would you want a tip? Especially having to put up with all the crap that the general public likes to dish out… anyway, just think about it.

  22. Our office (about 75 people) just took up a collection for the couple that cleans our offices every day. They are a hardworking husband and wife from Korea. We collected $380.00 and they were very surprised and happy.

  23. My mom tips the mail carrier if he/she at least does a decent job. The new one will not get a tip because he’s useless and refuses to deliver mail to them in bad weather.

    For the trash collectors, we would leave out a case of beer only if we had a lot of extra trash (I’m talking 5+ extra large black bags). But for the municipalities, this type of tipping is a nightmare because of the potential for having a drunk guy driving a huge garbage truck around.

  24. I’m actually against the tipping that goes on in this country. It’s why foreign people come here and don’t understand that every single thing requires a tip. That anything they eat has a tip jar, that the tax driver wants a tip that somebody even doing their job and getting paid to do the job wants a tip. Of course I think we should tip waiters, since their salary depends on tips and we should expect good service since we’re the ones paying for the service.
    I just think it’s gotten out of hand that everybody has their hands out for just doing their job. If your car breaks down and you need it towed for instance expect to pay a tip even if the person is already charging you a few hundred dollars. It’s why I think it’s out of hand

  25. Where I live, it would be impossible to tip the trash collector unless I stood outside with my gift and waited for them. So many people roam the alleys looking for recyclables, food, shelter, etc. that my gift would never reach its intended recipient if I just left it out. Also, I’m not sure why this is, but a trash truck picks up trash in my alley every single weekday. It seems that our trash is only picked up once a week, but that different apartment buildings and condos on the street all have different trash collectors. Is this possible? Basically, I don’t even know what day our trash is picked up since I hear trucks daily.

  26. You mentioned that garbage collection is very mechanical around here, I live in Seattle and I agree. I have been charged for extra trash, I think I was even charged once for extra recycle. I don’ t have a problem with tipping the trashman if you want, but given how structured they are, I can’t see them going out of their way for me if I ever needed them. Anyway, how about giving them a Starbucks gift card or something similar?

  27. Ahh tipping this is definitely a not so clearcut practice. Here’s my opinion:

    If the person is in a position to do you a favor and you want special treatment you tip. Also if the job relies on tips (i.e. they are minimum wage workers) you should do it. If they are just doing their job and you are a number to them, no reason to tip.

    Always Tip: Bartender (you want heavy pours and not to have to wait for the next one), Haircutter (they work for tips), Server (they check to see if everythings ok as opposed to just plopping the food down), If you live in a house and the person makes a special trip just for you – a tip is approriate (mail carrier, garbage person, UPS/FedEx person – if you have lots of deliveries), If you want your paper on your porch as opposed to the end of your driveway – tip. SkyCaps at the airport – they are saving you time by checking you in at the curb. Taxi’s helping you with your bags and getting you where you need to go quickly. You get the idea.

    No Need To Tip: Restaurants that don’t have a spot for tipping on the credit card reciept yet their employees put out tip jars – an example is Togos (Sandwitch shop). They are getting paid to make your food, unless they bus your table or bring you drinks they arent doing any special service for you. If you live in a multi-unit complex and the mail comes to a central mailbox with 50-100+ slots – you are a number no need to tip. If Garbage men empty dumpsters as opposed to something specific to your unit.

    As some people mentioned, with our modern culture of “fairness”, “don’t offend anyone”, “All people are equal”, and political correctness many companies don’t allow tipping due to the fact that they don’t want service providers playing favorites. Fairly unAmerican in my opinion and partially why service in this country is declining. Capitalism is about finding ways to get a leg up, not being held down by pricks that aren’t in your situation. Ever seen service in countries that don’t tip – it sucks…

    That being said, developing a friendly relationship with people that provide you service can be even more effective than tipping – that technique works regardless of whether tipping is allowed or not. Knowing people’s names sometimes goes a lot further than simply handing them a buck and treating them like the hired help…

  28. Midnight Raider says:

    I pretty much agree with J.T. My only note: restaurant servers should be tipped not just because they’re checking on you and your food, but because they make LESS than minimum wage and rely on tips (like hair stylists) for income.

    But overall, I’d say “Tip for extra special service.”

    The bartender example is prime: If you want big pours, tip. If you want skimpy pours, don’t tip. Either way, the bartender is “doing his job.” But he/she gives you a little something extra if you’re a good customer.

    As a result, we heavily tip restaurant servers (especially places we are regulars), bartenders and such.

    We tip our garbage men because we sometimes put out big boxes or other items that the trash is not supposed to collect. We tip the mailman/UPS/Fed Ex because I work from home and get A LOT of packages delivered throughout the year. These guys provide more than the “regular service” for me, and I respond in kind by tipping.

    And to all those non-tippers: Don’t complain when you get a little pour or lousy service at a restaurant, or when your garbage man doesn’t pick up that big refrigerator box. You probably would have gotten better service if you had been a little more generous of spirit (and cash) at holiday time.

  29. I think the distance in opinions on tipping here is so great because we have different relationships with these people.

    Some people say hi to the mailman everyday, and perhaps interacted with him/her the first time due to some special effort made on his/her part with an unusual delivery. In my case, I never see the mailman but certainly interact with everyone in the neighborhood every evening as we exchange our delivered mail to the proper owner – no tip from me!

    When I received the paper, though, the paperboy always got a decent tip at Christmas. Only once in five years did I wonder “Where is my paper today?”, and honestly I think some kids on their way to school stole it that time.

    The key word for this decision is “personal”, as Jonathan said. If you don’t interact with the individual, it’s not expected or required. If you do, then why not give a holiday thank you?

  30. When we had a regular trash guy (I think he switched routes or something because he hasn’t been our guy this year), I’d just make sure I was home that day, and bring it out to him. We’d usually give a big box of chocolates or other foodstuff, something tasty but easy to regift if their dietary needs so require. We also give gifts to the post carrier and other nice people who are around all year.

  31. Same way you tip a cow!

  32. good old cow tip’n – a badger tradition!

    I never thought of tipping the tash collectors or postal carrier, but now I’m all for it. I remember a few extra smelly trash days so I must owe someone for that and my wife once got a bunch of free magazine subscriptions. That must have been a tough year for our postal carrier (she walks from house to house carrying the mail – and our free magazines) so I think she is due for a nice tip of some sorts.

  33. tantiejean says:

    I know i’m late but at least i’m early for this year’s chritmas. The day after Christmas is reserved for giving gifts to those who serve you in some countries (Europe & Caribbean) it’s called “Boxing Day”. As in leave a gift in a small “box” for the mailman/ thrash collector. Yes they get paid but you are thanking them for their service. It’s not considered tipping or charity. Just thoughful gratitude!

  34. There are people that go through the garbage and recycling bins every week. So it would instantly be snatched up by them. I can’t leave a single can outside for smokes without someone grabbing it.

  35. Charles May II says:

    In spring and summer leave a cold drink other than beer it is hot this time of year. (not all trash collectors drink alcohol. I don’t.)Christmas season it does not matter. Tape the tip to the part of the trash can that is facing the road or leave the drink on top with a note. I am a trash collector and if I find a drink on the trash or ground I would probably throw it away because I have no idea where it has been.

  36. Being a foreigner 15% tipping at the restaurants doesn’t quite make sense for me.

  37. I think anyone that collects trash for a living is doing a job that I wouldn’t want to do. Therefore, I am HAPPY to give him $20 at Christmas time.

    The trashmen, mail people and newspaper carriers SERVE you EVERYDAY of the year. That, in my opionion, is deserving of a tip once a year.

    Anyone that doesn’t “believe” in tipping doesn’t understand that this isn’t something new. It’s been going on forever. Years! At least 40 years – because I’m 38 and I remember my parents doing it when I was a child. It’s a nice, thoughtful thing to do for people you don’t know, who serve you all year long. Even $5. It’s a nice way to say thank you.

  38. This is absolutely the most insane, ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my entire life. Tipping trash collectors? Mail carriers? Who’s next? Frankly, tipping in America has been totally blown out of proportion. Even to the employees who are paid well (trash collectors, mail carriers, etc)? This is ridiculous.

    I for one am not a tipper, no more baby. I’d rather give it charity, which I do. I used to tip at restaurants, but I hardly go to fine restaurants any more. I am cooking healthy meals at home. I am fed up with unhealthy food.

    What really gets me is that employees at Starbucks and Sonic expect a tip?!? WTF?!? Even better. Get this. I went to fill up propane at AmeriGas. I am not joking. The guy expected a tip. What in the world is going on?!? Where is tipping headed in America? This is total BS!

  39. As far as tipping trash collectors?

    I tip them because they don’t throw the trash cans all over; because they take ALL my trash I put out; because they don’t block the road when their are cars coming; I tip them because they do the things they do NOT have to do.

  40. I tip the mailman, paper delivery person and the trash collector. I don’t care how much money they make. They provide a service and it’s a nice way to say thank you.

  41. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t know where to leave the tip – and amused over responses to everything other than the question asked. Have taped it to the trash but now just run it out to the curb on a week when I hear them coming. .. but also worry that it will go to the substitute trash person.

    My Dad used to leave a fifth of scotch (over 50 years ago) but I feel weird leaving alcohol so I give $20.

    I don’t get the anger about not tipping. No one is forcing you, and those of us who tip do so voluntarily, so what’s the problem?

  42. Our three trashmen wave and say “hi” to my kids every day they come to pick up. Some days, they’ll run the trashcans back up the driveway to the garage door. They have taken away all of my kids’ smelly diapers for a combined total of four years now and they are still nice to us, so in my mind they have more than earned a small gesture from us.

    I filled three treat bags with homemade Christmas cookies and put cards with $10 inside on each of the three bags. The last day they came before Christmas, I took them out to them. It was 16 degrees out and those guys had no gloves on. They were so happy and you know what? It made me feel good to do something nice for some guys who brighten our day.

  43. I know my cookies aren’t gold, but if I were outside in 15 degree weather collecting disgusting trash at Christmas time, I would be grateful to see that someone thought of me. I don’t really see it as leaving a tip, just spreading some kindness..there’s very little of that out there these days.

  44. GarbageFan says:

    give it to them in person . they will like it better.

  45. Im a trash collector with a suburban Philaelphian company. We work very hard for avg pay. 75 dollars a day which can be as long as 12 hours. Although we do not expect tips they are always greatly appreciated. Something as small as a bottle of water on a hot day means the next time you do spring cleaning and put out matresses,boxsprings ,washer and dryers, etc.(and i have seen all these at one stop before), you shouldn’t have to worry about them still being there when you get home from work. We dont get paid by the hour and our goal is to get the route done in one truck load. going to the dump takes about 2 hrs and noone once to do it twice. 75 dollars a day is somewhat managable if you get done around 11 am or so, not 4pm.

  46. a garbage man says:

    im a garbage man and people have left us cash, DD gift cards and beer. trust me on this the beer doesnt get thrown away.. we deffently take it.

    not that a tip should matter, but if you tip us, we will deffently make sure everything you leave out is thrown away.

  47. Baltimore Suburbs says:

    I’m never around when the trashmen pick-up and wondered how to leave a tip too. But today, I was home and outside when they came. It was freezing cold! I thanked them for their good service and asked them HOW do I leave them a tip. They were so grateful for the thanks and said just tape an envelope to the inside top of the trashcan lid.
    Hey, it’s not a glamor job these guys do. I am grateful for their doing a good job. And I’ve lived in counties where you have to pay extra for trash pick-up or take your trash to the dump yourself. Try it sometime. You’ll understand why these guys deserve a tip then.

  48. The way i look at it, i tip anyone that is doing personal service for me, wherever it is allowed. It is not allowed in retail establishments, therefore you do not tip the salesperson that is helping you buy a TV. But your garbage man has to deal with the time you put a loosely tied bag in there and it spilled, or your mailman has to carry heavy packages you get, etc. etc.

    Tipping is not charity or instead of charity – I donate actual money to causes as well.

    And why should you do it? Because you are a nice human being. Not because it is expected, but because i appreciate my garbage collector, and my mail carrier, even though it is their job.

    I’m sure those ascerbic non-tippers would all turn down a tip at their jobs or a nice year-end bonus because it’s not part of the regular salary. Come on. Be nice to other people, it’s not a hard concept.

  49. After reading various blogs/message boards; I’m still torn on whether or not I should leave a tip for our garbage men. We pay over $200.00 for a year of service and for a family of four, we don’t put out tons of trash on a weekly basis. We recycle like crazy and that is picked up by our Township. I realize that our garbage company does provide realiable service. And they are quiet when it comes to the 6:00am weekly pick up in our rural neighborhood. For the first time in over 3 years of using them, they put an envelope that had a ‘friendly reminder of thank this holiday season’ in our garbage bin. I’m left to wonder if the recession is hitting them too? Maybe they are not getting bonuses this year? —I keep coming back to paying over $200.00 a year and realize that is no small chunk of change. —I’m still torn!

  50. Over the summer I began leaving left overs from BBQs – mostly sweets. Suddently my trash lids were always back on top of my trash cans after the collector came. I continued to leave left overs from parties, such as bottled water or baked goods when I had them. Not every week, but every so often. 5 weeks ago I broke my foot and twice during the time since I either couldn’t bring the trash out or forgot. On both occasions, I woke up to an empty trash can by the side of the road. The trash guy had gone out of his way to check my 3 cans and pull out the ones that had trash in it. I left him cupcakes this morning with a note of thanks and explained that I had a broken foot so it was extra helpful. After he read the note, he took my empty trash cans and ran them to the side of my house where I store them. Then he waved to me on his way by. So, to all those who think they’d never go out of their way, remember, they are people and most people get a kick out of helping others. So give it a shot. Leave them baked goods or a tip. I plan on keeping this up year round.

  51. We’re never home when the trash is picked up, and if I taped something to the inside of the can, I would wonder if it would be taken by a substitute driver or possibly just overlooked or come off and blow away, so I called our trash company and asked how I could leave a tip. They gave me the name of the driver who handles our route and told me to mail it to their office to his attention.

  52. Never thought to tip the garbage collector, and besides, there’s a whole bunch of them. I would still consider tipping them were it not for the fact that they don’t always even come from the same company!

    As for the mailman, it is actually illegal to leave a cash tip, and non-cash gifts must be less than $20 in value.

  53. I always tip my letter carrier at Christmas, but then he goes way out of his way to deliver my mail and packages. I’m in rural Nebraska, so there’s times he will drive up my drive way (on a farm) and place mail and packages on top my washer or dryer in my mud room so they aren’t left outside.

    Also, I try to tip my trash collector, because instead of having me lug my trash cans all the way out to the street (again, farm), he will actually drive onto my property, turn his big truck around in a clearing and empty my trash. He has even pulled the trash can from the side of the house on a couple mornings I forgot to do it myself. That guy deservers a tip.

  54. Baltimore Suburbs says:

    >MissyPA

    Whether you pay for trash removal in your taxes or pay direct, it’s still a rough job. I doubt private firms pay half as well or provide as good benefits as local govt employees.

    I like Bernie’s idea of calling the trash company to find out who your regulars are & sending them a tip. But showing appreciation somehow, whether baked goods or whatever, shows some empathy and true Christmas spirit.

    And while my taxes pay for trash removal, when I lived in other counties which did charge the additional taxes to provide this service, I’d have been happy to pay $200 so I didn’t have to haul it myself every week.

    Just my take…
    =========================
    > anonymous

    I bet you could work out an equitable means of showing appreciation… if you were interested in doing so…
    Following the golden rule isn’t that hard… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Most people like a little appreciation and doing so reflects well on those who are empathetic and kind enough to give it.

  55. I worked as a trash collector for about 8 months and I’ll tell you from experience, those guys appreciate anything you give. Keep in mind that if you give money to the driver, he’s not sharing any with the guys on the back of the truck actually doing all of the work. Those guys don’t make much and are riding around all day no matter how hot, cold or wet it gets. It’s an awful job.

    The nicest thing you can do is have all of your garbage bagged carefully, and anything with feces (dog or diapers) should be double bagged at least. That stuff can shoot back out when you compress it. If you happen to be around when they are collecting, you can give the guys something they all can share. Beer is great (I don’t drink it but the thought was always appreciated). If it’s a hot day, give the guys a bottle of water. It really means a lot to people who are doing a very difficult job for low pay.

  56. Why not tip the garbage collectors and the mailman? Mail carriers deliver from vehicles that are half open, and they do so in heat, rain and snow. I don’t think I’d want to do that. Especially when they have to run up to the house to deliver the packages to the door. Our garbage collectors don’t have the automated trucks. They actually have to get out and dump the trash, or collect the bags, and throw them in the truck. With a toddler and infant in diapers, imagine the smell emanating from our trash!!

    It’s not a matter of what society says, it’s a matter of appreciating the kind of service and work they do.

    I came to this site because I want to tip the garbage collectors, but how do I address it? Dear Mr. Garbage collector?

  57. My trash collector gets my can from my driveway, waves and says hello to my granddaughters…and honks the horn for them to hear. They read a book called “Trashytown” and so are very enthralled with him, their “Mr Gilley.”

  58. I always tip at Christmas my milkman (yes we have a local dairy that still delivers), my postal carrier (believe it or not these people know your house and when something is wrong they’ll report it), my UPS if I catch him in time. I order a lot online. My paper lady who is scraping out a living since newspaper circulation is down. And I tip my garbage collector because I don’t work and can keep an eye on the envelope taped to the top of the trash.

    These people may or not be paid well but provide a service to us throughout the year in all types of weather. It doesn’t have to be much, or money, just a note along with a little something to let them know they’re appreciated.

    For the non tippers here, you sure appreciate being appreciated at work or wherever during the holidays so pass it along.

  59. I forgot to say I tip with gift certificates to local eateries, usually $15 that will get the recipient a few breakfasts, a couple of lunches, or takeout for the family. Along with it I include a Christmas scratch off lottery ticket so I stay under $20 with the potential to win much more. This way local businesses benefit as well.

  60. Beer and porn? Why would you want to promote more degeneration. If you cross paths with the mailman or trash collector then give cash what you could afford to give. These people know more about you than you think they do.

  61. I had never thought of tipping service people until a radio station had a small conversation about it here in British Columbia. My parents never taught me to tip service people but now that i own a property and get the services, I realize that it is very important to take care of the people who take care of you. Much like the “do unto others” philosophy above mentioned. As someone who drives for a living and does not receive any tips nor would i expect any, a cup of coffee or a small gift card would blow me away. It’s not about a gift per say but more gestural approach. I personally want to say to the people who help me out “Here i appreciate you and your help thank you”

  62. Texas Tipper says:

    As far as trash collection goes, we have tipped in the past (yes, even beer). Sure they get paid– how much, I don’t know– but summers here are unbearably hot and humid. You couldn’t pay me enough to deal with stinky trash, let alone jumping on and off a truck all day, so I am thankful someone is willing to do it for me. Also, for some reason (for which I am also thankful), our collector brings our can up to the house after he’s emptied it. He doesn’t do it for everyone, we seem to be the only ones on our block, and it’s only been a few months that he’s been doing it, but I want to thank him for it. Maybe lottery tickets this year…

    Mail delivery, probably not. I have too many gripes with the USPS to list the reasons why here.
    And the newspaper delivery person, probably not. There’s no convenient way to do it, for one, and I don’t appreciate that he drives through the neighborhood blaring his stereo at 5AM.

  63. Absolutely! Why not brighten someones day?! In fact tonight My 7 yr old son made a Big Poster board sign reading “Merry Christmas Sanitation Worker Thank you for all you do, here is a treat for you! p.s. Your truck is so cool! God Bless!” With homemade goodies carefully bagged & wrapped for sanitation and a couple gift cards tucked inside. We taped it to the trash cans. I’m sure he will see the neon green sign & hop out of his truck to receive his little gift :0)

    “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” John Wesley

  64. I think it’s a nice gesture to tip the trash collector or postal worker but only if you’re financially able. Right now I’ve been unemployed for several months so any christmas gifts I give will be to my immediate family.

  65. Tipping is always optional, but a kind gesture to anyone who provides you a service on a regular basis. Hair stylist, mail carrier, garbage collector, window cleaner, gardener, dog walker etc.
    Can’t afford it? Then a nice handwritten card of thanks and blessings goes a long way to make people feel appreciated. Homemade cookies, a cup of hot chocolate in a take-out cup even!

    It’s a reminder of appreciation and community, and the most important part of this season: God gave us His son as a free gift even while we were sinners. It’s not about how perfect we are, how good we do it, but about love, kindness and grace.

  66. It's Social says:

    we can all think of reasons not to tip but tipping comes from the heart.

  67. I ALWAYS tip the garbage men!!!! They get paid so little, my goodness, some of you are so cheap and mean hearted! My guys are amazing, they take everything, sofas, dressers, etc. I also bake them cookies. I also tip the mailman, the hairdresser, and bake cookies for the school office, and for friends and places I visit often. Tipping is something nice that is easy to do, makes no difference in my net worth, and makes people happy. People who deliver things to me, and treat me nicely. I did this even when I was a single mother of three. Now all the kindnesses in life have been returned to me many times over. I guess what you give is most certainly what you get in life.

  68. I tip the garbage men, recycling collectors and mailman. All of them do walk up to my house, and I do appreciate their work. It’s something nice to do, and while they do get a salary, it’s usually not a lot, and you should see the smile on their faces when they get thanked with a small gift – they’re so very grateful because so many people would rather not notice them. A friend took a hot cup of coffee out to her mailman on a rainy day – it doesn’t have to be money, but notice them – they’re people, and they’ll be grateful.

  69. I always give to the mailman and garbage collectors. This year even more. I am home sick with Cancer and the garbage collectors picked up all of my garbage and put the trash can back inside the yard. They have been doing this since February. I am so greatful to all of them.

  70. “Where I used to live, people left out a case of beer or soda for the trash collector. No idea why, but maybe because it’s pretty easy to spot. People have never heard of it here. Does anyone else do that?”

    I leave a case of beer, a huge jug of pretzels and a $20 for each of the 2 guys. I usually leave it in an empty box but also live in a pretty quiet street. This is Long Island, NY. Tipping sucks but these are the guys to take care of…

  71. I have three trash collectors; household garbage, yard waste, and recyclables. I tip them each $20… cash. I hand it to them, as there have been incidents of people riding around this time of year looking for envelopes taped to trash cans.
    These guys haul stuff away for me 52 weeks a year… rain or shine. If I am fortunate enough to have a little extra cash at this time of year, I am certainly happy to share with them.

    I also tip the waitstaff and the cooks at my local breakfast place… $20 each.

  72. It’s a nice gesture, and I actually want to do it when a great service is provided. On the other hand, I agree that in this culture, tips are expected for many occupations. Even when the service is average or below average, we are expected to pay certain amount. One time, I left tip at a hair dressor’s station. She didn’t notice that, and asked me at the register “Are you sure this is all you want to pay?” When it becomes a demand, the original principle of tipping is lost.

  73. Make sure you stick a card with some money out on your electric meter to catch the guy who checks it every month. And give $5 to the person who happens to check you out at the grocery store. If you order any xmas presents online, see if you can leave any notes for the delivery guy, and leave a $10 bill for him underneath your mat.

    Get a gift for your kids teachers, all 10 of them. And their sports coaches, band instructor, theater club leader, principal, guidance counselor.

    Don’t forget your doctor, dentist, eye doctor, pharmacist.

  74. My god, reading some of the comments here make me hope some of you don’t live in my community. You may puff your chest and proudly proclaim that “Society doesn’t tell me what to do” but that is the gutless route – we all know it is because you are selfish and greedy (and you know it, too). Financial issues notwithstanding.

    Trash, postal carriers, newspaper delivery (since we haven’t had a person who collects subscription money for newspapers in years) – time it to hand it directly to them if you can. That way you know they get it. And don’t give it to one guy to share with others – it may not get distributed.

    That won’t work for everyone, but if you can (even if it means getting up an hour earlier in the morning) it is worth it. Otherwise there is the chance of it not getting there.

    Read “Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper’s Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity” – in this country, tipping is part of the transaction.

  75. I think its fine to tip waitstaff for good service. However, I don’t understand why their salary should be based on tips in the first place, they should be paid what the job is worth and tips should be for is there is good service.

    I was in London a few years ago and they don’t expect tips in the pubs. The cost of providing the service is built in. I think I got a few funny looks for leaving a tip at a bar.

  76. We give our trash collector a case of beer and leave a gift for the mail carrier in the mail box, usually a $20 gift card to the local drugstore.

  77. We tip the mailman (he does a great job… He still recognizes mail for us sent to our former address of 8 years ago (it’s on the same route) and delivers it to us. We also tip the newspaper delivery man. He always puts it on our porch as we requested, while everyone else gets it thrown in the driveway.

  78. I am not sure about this tipping thing either. I tip in bars and restaurants because they depend on tips to supplement their salary. Everyone else…I don’t understand why they are “supposed” to be tipped. I’m also a civil servant. Conflict of interest rules dictate that we should not get gifts for our jobs, but that doesn’t mean that I give poor service just because there’s no tip involved. I do my job and often go above and beyond because I take pride in doing a good job. I hope that I leave people feeling good about their interaction with a government employee. I would rather pay extra for goods and services so that people can have higher salaries across the board than have random tipping as a way of life.

  79. “Let me tell you the difference between me and General Wood. He is a war hero, former Army chief of staff and practically a shoo-in for the Republican presidential nomination. I, on the other hand, am a magnificent tipper.”

    – Nucky Thompson, Boardwalk Empire

  80. Sorry, but why am I tipping my garbage guy? He drives up, the truck dumps the can and he drives away. He does less actual labor than our mail person (who won’t even bother stopping by our house to take mail if she doesn’t have mail to drop off).

    Sorry, neither party will get a tip from me. They do not perform a service for me that extends to “wow.” The mailperson, when she comes, mostly stuffs our box with junk mail. My renters could pay me electronically. There’s no other need for mail

  81. BillGuard Blog says:

    I face the same problems when it comes to tipping the trash collector: first, I live in an urban area, which means anything I leave on the street is highly likely to be picked up by a random passer-by before the trash collector appears. (If I ever want to get rid of anything, i.e. an old piece of furniture, I can put it on the sidewalk with a “free” sign and it’s gone in less then 5 minutes.)

    Secondly, I can’t realistically wait to see the trash collector face-to-face; there’s a 6-hour window during which they come to get the trash. Waiting for them would require me to take the entire day off work, which is unrealistic.

    So how exactly is this supposed to be done? And how many other people do it? I’d love to hear comments from trash collectors on this topic.

  82. The trash collectors make more than I do, and I already pay the taxes that help pay their salaries. They should be tipping ME.

  83. DM,

    I understand your perspective, first. But I saw where you said “why tip anyone”? One direct benefit of tipping people you interact with regularly is improved service upon subsequent interactions. That may or may not interest you but I’ve found the benefit when I need a favor or something additional on top of the standard service.

    Best

    dM

  84. C Gerard Smith says:

    Why tip anyone was the question asked. These are my reasons.
    Most of my tipping is for vendors at work, the ones who actually do the work, not the account managers. They get paid little by their companies and I ask for a lot. Especially in a crazy year where they have had to put up with all BS from my co-workers and their bosses. These include the cafe cashier who also helps me with my Spanish, the janitor and Mr. Fix-it who stops what he’s doing and helps me when I have an unplanned “need.” One of my account manager’s admins who makes sure all my shipments get shipped on time and undamaged, and follows up with delivery info–no, this is not part of her job, (it is the job of the warehouse manager) She goes above and beyond to keep things smooth. The landscape guys, who work in rain and sun and who tell me of new yellow jacket nests so I can keep the employees from getting stung–again, not part of their job. It also saves me money on pest control when I have identified the problem areas for pest control. Tips at the end of the year are a thank you for all the people who have helped save me time and money throughout the year. The garbage guys are great– they are the rare people who will move their trucks out of the way so I can get out of the one way street which is more than I can say for UPS, Fedex and most other people. I also have a lot of personal packages delivered to work in addition to he work mail, so the shipping/receiving guy is on the list too. His smile, upbeat attitude and ability to do a mundane job with a smile go a log way with me.

    The tequila, gift cards and cash I give out costs me so little relative to the time,effort and energy I get from these people.

    Happy New Year!
    CGSmith

  85. My trash company skipped my and the neighbors houses a couple times this year. I had to phone the city then the trash company. Interestingly when I called the city number, the recorded voice said “if you are calling about trash pickup, the Waste Management number is …”. They picked up up the trash two days later and I had to leave my cans in the street waiting for them. Should I still tip?

  86. We live in a typical subdivision and our trash gets picked up twice a week. The trash can gets left at the end of the driveway.

    The last few years we’ve been tipping our trash collector $25 at Christmas. I guess he wants to feel he’s earning the money, because he brings the trash can, the recycling bin and our newspaper up to the garage door.

    We’ve caught up with him and said, in effect, thanks but it’s not necessary, we see you hustling from one house to the next, don’t worry about our trash can, we can get it.

    Does he listen? No.

    Do we think our tip was “worth” it? Surely.

    By the way, we’re the only house on the block that gets this service. Makes me wonder if we’re the only ones who tip the trashman.

  87. You ought to be bloody kidding me.

    Well thanks to all of the mindless tipping for anything and everything, practically every service now borderline demands a tip. I can’t catch a cup of coffee without the woman at the cash register looking at me funny if I don’t tip her. I’ve got a hairdresser and a pizza deliveryman who both end their sentence with “That’ll be it, plus tip.” I’ve even had the bloody clerk at a gas station, ask me for a tip for doing nothing, as I pumped my own gas and headed to his cash register.

    And you know what, over the years the quality of ‘all’ service took a nosedive. It doesn’t matter the quality of service, workers now all expect tips alongside their salary. You know what a salary is? The amount of money you’re paid to do your bloody job. Tipping is optional. It’s not an excuse to give scornful looks to your customers or purposefully provide shoddy, inadequate service. If your job pays you poorly, get another job, or live with the fact that you’re made the decision to survive off tips.

    You know, there are plenty of engineers who maintain your power lines so you get consistent, uninterrupted flow of electricity, they don’t get tips. I’m sure the guys who work at water purifiers, providing adequate water, they don’t get tips. What about farmers, the people who provide you with the basic ingredients so you don’t starve? No tips, no, as a matter of fact they’re terribly underpaid and constantly shafted by taxes and regulations. If you’re tipping out of goodness of your heart, why be so selective, especially towards those who provide you with the most basic needs everyone takes for granted?

    So many people have openly admitted how good they feel when the garbageman gives them, and only them, special, preferential service. That’s all it is. These people don’t tip out of goodness of their hearts, they pay for extra convenience, for being special, for having their mail delivered to their door, nice and neat, while service for everyone else suffers as a result. And these same people have the nerve to call non-tippers nasty and greedy?

    If you truly are a pleasant, charitable person, you’d spend that money at a charity, or some kind of initiative that provides benefit for the community, for instance, food banks or homeless shelters.
    But that kind of charity won’t get your mail delivered during bad weather, have your heavy garbage removed promptly or any other preferential service you so enjoy.

    In a nutshell, the community’s reaping what it had sown. Greed, sloth, inflated expectations, and favoritism.

  88. I tip people who do jobs I don’t want to do. (I’ve done most of them and, yes, most do deserve tips).

    I get great service wherever I go but think that’s because I generally have an upbeat and appreciative attitude. I tip based on quality of service even at one-time stops where no one knows me. 99.9% I leave an excellent tip. I always tip the trash men.

    In a nutshell, mean-spirited, tightwads reap what they sow. I’ve noticed that people who are tight with their money are usually tight with their praise. Even when I didn’t have the cash to spare, I left some form of appreciation even if it was just a thank you card & a little treat.

    Basically, I have always expected good service, have always gotten it, and I’ve shown my appreciation in whatever form I could afford. I can afford tips for those I appreciate, so I tip them.

    For those who have no appreciation of others and think tipping is a nasty custom – they must have no idea how much such sentiments reveal about themselves & their attitude or they would be ashamed to write.

  89. I try to leave a little something for our waste pick up team on major holidays. Yes, we get to the door delivery of our empty cans. But that’s not why I do it. I do it b/c none of us knows if that could be us someday. There but for the grace of God.

    Pay it forward, folks…

  90. oldblackdog says:

    Some how I just had to look to get even more advice —- I do tip the trash – and the recycling collectors. Why? Because these particular guys are working for a contractor (actually currently a shyster contractor who put in the lowest bid )– not the local municipality, and do not have the best benefits. If any at all.

    My Dad used to “buy a bottle” for the local snowplow drivers ( small community, and an absolutely vital service, and if they do it well, that’s a gift.) I won’t do alcohol tho – enough alcoholism out there without tempting folks on the job.

    Sometimes I have “tipped” the postman – sometimes not. Delivery has been strange at times — and he is working at a civil service type of job, just as I used to. Jeez, can you believe I did my job and was not allowed to accept ANY gifts? Which is how governmental positions should be. And I would’ve been insulted if someone offered money just because I performed my job. SO I do not grasp tipping there — or gifting.. because in no way is he in the position of waitstaff etc in being dependent on tips. Some of us are expected to do the job were were hired for –

    Now if you are truly giving a heartfelt gift for something special (not for a guarantee of preferential treatment) that’s fine.

    Newspaper delivery – by an adult, in a vehicle sometime around 3:30 Am. He leaves an envelope with his name and address, and I send him something. He never misses a delivery, and I know he, too gets paid very little for this.

    The hair salon thing is what it is. It gets more and more expensive; I don’t do a separate Christmas tip because I’m generous the rest of the year. A very aggravating friend has her hair cut by the owner – therefore no tipping at all for her.

    I did give some cookies to an oil deliveryman and “my” mechanic – made them smile.

    In general, I think we should tip – give money gifts – if we can afford them – to people who do provide services AND where we can pretty much guess that they are not being paid well for their work – and rarely are acknowledged as fellow human beings doing work that must be done. I would so much prefer that everyone had a living wage and medical benefits, so that gifts were really just gifts!

  91. Recycle guy says:

    I am a driver for a national trash and recycle company. I have been doing this job for around 8 years and here is a few of my thoughts. If you leave a tip and want to make sure your driver gets it theres a couple things you can do. Call your trash/recycle company and ask the drivers name. You can then send a check in to the office with a note telling whom ever to make sure it goes to the driver. Make sure you send it to the local division or shop where your service is at. Do not send it to where your bill goes because if its a big company your gonna be sending it outta state in most cases and the driver may not get it.But call and check where to send it. Make sure you put your name and address so the driver knows whom it is from. You can leave the tip on the cart but a few things need to be takin in to concideration. What kind of truck does he drive? If its a rear load you can tape it to the handles of the cart. He will see it because he has to move it to the truck. If he is in an automated truck the best bet is to tape it to the lid. Reason being is the drive dosent get out unless there is extra trash around the cart. In the auto mated trucks the driver sits up higher and can plainly see the top as long as its not snowing. If you can give it to him your self thats the best. It helps us put a face with kindness.Yes I get paid an ok pay,it averages out around a quarter a stop depending on the route and how many stops for the day. I appretiate every tip most mine go to christmas for my kids. yes every guy at my work remembers and takes care of that customer more.They wont pick up a pile of yard waste or brush or construction debri from some one who just slings it out there and when we see them gives us a cold shoulder like they are a second class person. We have limits we pickup we dont have to take all that but will to just help you out.Would you pickup 80 bags of leaves for a quarter? Most drivers I know remember when someone that tips at christmas in the middle of the summer when they cleaning out their garage or something.Another thing is be mind ful of thieves. I have seen other drivers drive over other guys routes and take there tips before coming in to work. That guy was fired. Ive also seen teenagers steal off the carts while walking to there bus stop and a mail man while he was delivering mail take envelopes off recycle carts. So try to put your stuff out 30 min before he gets there if you know his normal runtime. Now, if youve been missed, or your upset about something threw the year that happen atleast give the driver a benifit of a doubt. I have had days where a few stops didnt show up on my route. I myself picked it up the first time. The next week I didnt because I figured they stopped service.Come to find out there was a problem with the route print outs and the computer for some reason wasnt printing a handful of stops. Theres alot that can go wrong at everyjob and trash/recycle isnt differant. Also its not your normal driver that picks up your stuff every day. Ive had customers who I service every week say they were skipped when I was on vacation. The fill in driver didnt know the route and missed a street. And about giving beer to your driver. I guess thats fine but me I dont drink and wouldnt feel right if I got pulled over for a random d.o.t. Inspection from a cop with a 12 pack of bud and 5th of turkey in the cab.

  92. Every year people comment on this question. A tip is a gift. Stinginess will come back to haunt you in bitterness. Read the comments of stingy people.

    A tip is rewarded over and over again. Tip everyone, and they will remember, and the kindness is returned in great service. And is passed along in gifts for children. Read the trash collector’s advice above. Happy Holidays.

  93. Make a cooler using a cardboard box lined with Styrofoam (including bottom), and fill will a partially frozen 6 pack of bottled soda and some variety of single-serving snacks like string cheese, Nutty Bars, etc. Use a Sharpie to write a quick thank you note on the back of some junk mail, including something silly to get their attention. Maybe something like, “Hey, Don’t Trash Me!” and tape on top of the box.

    They can eat on the fly and have plenty of opportunities to dispose of the evidence.

    During Christmas, we make simple gift boxes containing hot chocolate, candies, etc. Nothing breakable and easy to deal with.

    All types of normal stuff can be used to make it stand out without drawing too much attention. Small boxes work great for gifting this way. You can use different color markers, stickers, duct tape, whatever. Just make it look decent enough.

    Place in a plastic bag when bad weather is expected.

    It helps that we live on a cul-de-sac. I should have mentioned that first. Haha! :)

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