How Do I Tip The Trash Collector?

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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, 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?

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  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.

    • My mom and dad always left beer out for the guys if they had extra garbage due to cleaning out the garage and etc. My neighbor who refuses to pay for garbage pick up asks to use mine when he’s putting out heavy stuff they’re not supposed to take. I kindly told him that he needs to leave something for them for a few reasons 1) it’s stuff they’re not supposed to take 2) there’s more than they’re supposed to take 3) it’s heavier than they’re supposed to take 4) they never once complained or left anything behind 5) guy is too cheap to pay for his own pick up 6) it looks as though it’s my junk, not his!
      My reasons for me doing it has nothing to do with what they make, that’s irrelevant. To me it’s just a “thank you for your service”, just like anyone else. They work hard for the money they earn and to deal with maggots/roaches and such daily. People don’t line up for jobs like that so what does that tell you right there. So I thank them throughout the year, I do what I can when I can. It’s all about showing appreciation for a job well done, trust me I wouldn’t tip if I was unhappy with the service. You know the people who say their guys don’t get out of the truck, these men are also the ones who plow during the winter too. These guys have other responsibilities that we are unaware of at times. If you can’t afford something just a thank you card to show your appreciation is a wonderful gesture.

  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.

    • Yeah, I can totally relate. I left a case of beer outside Directly In front of the garbage cans, but he ran right over It with his truck. He got out dropping F-bombs and pointing at my house, so now I’m more careful lol.

    • Paul Whitfield says

      I tip my garbage man $20.00 each Christmas by walking it out to him when he picks up the garbage.

  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..


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

    • Why wouldn’t you want to tip them? I mean honestly they don’t make all that much so everything helps

      • Waste management are some of the best paid people. They make bank.

        • Waste Management Executives may “make bank” but the guy doing the heavy lifting does not. In our neighborhood, it is the same man that comes each week to collect our trash. He is always polite, never speeds, is cautious of the older residents in my neighborhood, and makes my life easier by taking our rubish. Just now, I tipped him using a thank you card with a simple note “Thank you much! -Us.” with a $10 bill tucked inside the card. While his truck drove by, I waited by the curb (leaving room for the truck’s large mirrors and can picker-upper and quickly handed it to him in a sealed envelope because he is on a busy collection route and doesn’t have time to fumble with cash. As a housewife, I am home during the day so I could wait for his arrival but most do not have this luxury. It was not awkward to tip him, he just smiled and said Thank You and Merry Christmas as did I.

        • Robert Francis says

          Don’t make judgement until you walked a mile in there shoes!
          Been there done that.
          They do have it made today with the auto pickup system, compared to the ol’ days hauling can by can.

        • josh trash collector says

          We do not make bank I make 8.05 an hour sound like bank

        • john you dont know what your talking about as a trash/recycle man you make no more than 65 a day unless your the driver and as a newspaper delivery person you get ppaid by the paper at .10 a paper so how many papaers do you have to throw for it to be BANK

          • The garbage collectors in my Borough make $80,000 a year. It is public record. Sorry, but that IS serious bank for a career that does not require a college degree, student loans, and super sweet hours of 8am-2pm Monday-Friday with no weekends, nights, holidays.

          • I have always tipped everyone that we get services from during the year,, garbage collector, recycle collector, Paper delivery people, Mail person, Yard man, Girls at our Vets, Doctors secretary. I do not care what they make if they are extra special or dedicated and care about their jobs, they deserve to know that we appreciate them. My parents always tipped even the milk man. We were probably poorer than they were, but the key is “To Give, is better than to receive”, in this case “To Give, gets you better service” sometimes. I usually do a small box of choclates or Christmas cookies and and a gift card for Subway or Tim Hortons, do not actually give cash, but same diff and a nice card.

      • How much do they make?

    • Paul Whitfield says

      You are cheap then!!

    • Sorry, but tipping is not a waste of money. You are simply saying “thank you for a job well done!” I know my trash collectors take everything I put out there, probably stuff they aren’t supposed to… so I appreciate that and give them a small tip at Christmas. Trust me, I’m not made of money, but a little something goes a long way.


  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. Bryan C. Fleming says

    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

    • Yorkville Lady says

      I tip my Trash Guy 3 times per year.. 4th of July $50 ~ Thanksgiving & Christmas $100 each
      and let me tell you, EVERY week when he empties my cans, he puts all the lids BACK on and walks them ALL to the front of my house next to the STAIRS.. well worth a few $ a year
      I leave the $ in an envelope, place it on top of the garbage can and put a brick on top. he puts the brick BACK in my flowerbed too ~ PLUS this THANKSGIVING he left me an entire roll of Huge TRASH BAGS ~ That was very nice of him

      • I’m with you here. My neighbors think I’m insane. I usually tie a fluorescent ribbon (the plastic waterproof stretch stuff) to my can & my yard pick up) and he knows there is stuff in the yard can. I’ve put a cooler in there for both sets of guys with notes asking their names-I’ve left them oranges, gatorades, and recently baked cookies after making sure there wasnt a nut allergy. I make sure I wrap everything in ziplock bags & lots of cooler packs. They treat me amazing. They always bring my cans to my door, they take anything I leave at the driveway (I do wrap my yard clippings) and they have helped me grab carpet when I ripped up my carpet! I have the same guys.

        My mailman is insane. He drives like a lunatic and my dad is one, so I have great respect. I’ve tried to start conversations with the guy but he speeds from one box to the next. Honestly, I’ve seen at least 3 different people deliver mail and I live in a very nice neighborhood. These guys are out in 95+ heat, full gear, rain or shine. I’ve left huge notes on my garbage can about my cans to please be put in the driveway as the wind takes them and they appreciate politeness. I’m sorry if you have rude people and I can understand why you may not want to tip them, but even if it’s $5 for a cup of coffee. Honestly, I think the beer my be a little insulting to some people, but that was extremely uncalled for to run over it. He should have just left it at your doorstep with a “no thanks”.

        • I’m with you. In Flo. the can emptiers ride hanging on for dear life as the driver drives fast out of necessity. Then they manually dump the cans into the hopper. No robots here.

  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 ?

    • I believe the logic is to tip those that serve you regularly (like once a week or more). Especially people that handle our important information or carry off our nasty garbage. Yes, they may make a good wage, but I still very much appreciate them. Moreso than a salesperson that helps me one time….

      I did recognize your sarcasm, but felt your comment warranted an logical reply.

  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?

    • You’ve obviously never worked in service a day in your life. Not everyone can have a sit-on-your-butt-sipping-lattes job, our society NEEDS sandwich makers and garbage truck operators. So what if they use more automated trucks now? Can you drive one? No? Then I guess it does take skill. Do they show up to do their job regularly and on time? That sounds like dedication and responsibility to me.

      Here’s what tippers know about tipping that non-tippers don’t: tipping isn’t about generosity! It isn’t about what your friends or strangers think of you as a person! Its simply about gratitude. Gratitude that doesn’t even come with the expectation of reciprocation. Gratitude just because it’s kind and good for the soul. If you can’t understand why gratitude matters then I am truly sorry for you and your unfulfilled existence.

      • Service people get paid money to do a job. If they do it well, they keep their job. If they don’t they should lose their job. The only people who should get tipped are those that aren’t paid well by default, like wait staff. The rest can earn a tip by doing better than their peers.

        Our trash and recycling collectors drive a truck and dump cans. They do the job just fine, but it isn’t a skilled job. You asked whether others could try the automated truck and, if not, then the job requires skill and is thus deserving of a tip. I could drive the truck with five minutes of explanation. It isn’t a high skill job, but it does take a bit more than digging ditches with a shovel. They get paid. If they show up on time and do their job, then their employer, the company I pay for service, will be happy with them and they will keep their job and maybe even get a raise or promotion. There’s nothing in that deserving of a tip. The points some have made about the collectors taking things they normally wouldn’t, or being a little more careful about where and how the cans are left can justify leaving a tip. Otherwise, the only reason I’d tip them is because failing to do so could lead to reprisals.

        • Bingo.

          I do not tip my garbage man. I pay a foolish amount of money for lousy town bags that rip with just about anything in them. I appreciate the job that they do, but for the price of bags I could rent a trash receptacle and have it emptied biweekly for the same cost.

          And yes – I HAVE worked in service jobs in the past. I did not get a tip, either.

  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.

    • The smug tippers do so in order to feel virtuous. They wouldn’t be on a random website tell the world how generous they were if some sort of personal self satisfaction was in line.

  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 😛

  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

    • Anthony RohnStrahm says

      (editor – no personal attacks) It’s okay to tip waiters/waitresses but not your mailman/trash guy. Lol Nobody is saying that you are required to tip anything, anywhere. Waiters and Waitresses get paid crap hourly wages and basically work for tips. All they do is take your order and fill your glasses. The cook is who should get the tips. the cook is the reason you go to a restaurant to begin with. Tipping the trash/mailman is a nice gesture that isn’t required but a lot of people do it. Don’t expect anything in return. I don’t expect them to do anything nice for me to begin with. That’s not what a gift is about. I’m not tipping my mailman/trash guy every day. Once a year at Christmas. You do it because you want to. Not because you have to.

    • While I understand the seemingly over zealous aspect you just described as everything needing a tip in America, let me explain to you why mailmen, newspaper carriers, and garbage collectors deserve a tip. (Hopefully this sheds some light for you other folks who are being just down right nasty about it none the less!)
      I am a newspaper carrier. I get up every day ((every single dang day!)) while you’re asleep (12am-2:30am depending on how many papers I have to deliver. Mind you, Sunday’s are always without a doubt 12am!) I fold the papers and we have to pay for our own materials- that extra bag you want to make sure the paper is safe from rips and tears and weather- that costs *me* not the newspaper. Delivering in terrible weather when you know you have to deliver to the door up a long driveway- it’s hardly what I would call fun! Money? You think I get paid decently? I get paid between 10-15 cents per paper delivered depending on the inserts and adds. Once again, you have to pay for your own materials. Take that out of the paycheck. Then take out gas and you have next to nothing left over. But you do it because that next to nothing is still something and you need all the help you can get. Say I get caught up in weather conditions and deliver your paper 5 minutes late- you call in to complain- that docks me $2. That’s 20ish papers I will not get paid for when your poor attitude was just a pompous way to assert your big ego for thinking you’re better than me.
      Truth: not all people are good in these fields- then don’t tip them. We had the most careless garbage men and mail lady at our last place, so no, I didn’t tip them because they didn’t actually do their job half the time.
      Truth: you shouldn’t feel “obligated” to tip, specially if you’re in your own financial slump. Fine. That’s fine. It’s “whatever”.
      But don’t for one second think that because the mailman just delivers mail that it’s not worthy of a tip. Don’t think that because garbage men and women don’t ever get out of their vehicles when they’re automated- we all know you’ve put stuff out there that didn’t fit in the can shape- news flash- they get out to get the job done! And do tip newspaper carriers! Every single one of these jobs does more than you think. They all do it rain or shine. That’s deserving of a tip. And! If you still don’t think they deserve anything from you, then that’s perfectly acceptable. Just don’t advertise it! It’s rude, disrespectful, (for some of you jerks) egotistical, and just down right mean.

      • Your description of the pay situation for a newspaper carrier puts you in the same boat as wait staff. You get paid poorly for the job. That suggests that you should always get a tip. The amount depends upon the level of service.

        Trash men aren’t paid poorly by comparison. They are in a different league. The same is true of a barista or bartender. If you want better service, then tip them. If you get good service, tip well. If ordinary service is all you want or get, don’t tip. The problem that arises, however, is that as more people tip a particular person, the more it becomes an obligation for everyone else to tip in order to not get bad service. That is, the service person will then expect a tip and poorly treat those that don’t tip. Thus, increasingly, tipping becomes necessary rather than optional.

  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. 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.

    • I have been in the US for nine years now and yes, it is still a culture shock. Most people England think it is demeaning to be tipped…as in “What, you think I am a peasant ?”. Of course minimum wage and working conditions in Europe are far superior, (6 weeks vacation ?), so I can understand it in this culture. I wish people were paid better in the first place though. It does seem to be an arms race though, with my sister in law giving at least 20%, whereas I still feel pain at 15%. My trash guy just left me a full resume of his wonderful family and dogs and his name and address for the tip…. That is SO cheesy, but hey, I am an American now, so need to get with the program and give less to my impoverished daughter and grandchildren in the yookay and the starving millions in Africa lol !

  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!

    • Jamie Johnson says

      When it’s service workers, it’s not tipping, it’s a gratuity. Even if my letter carrier and sanitation worker weren’t the friendliest and most helpful, I would still give them a card with $10.00 every holiday. We don’t always have it to give but in the big picture, it’s not much and I care about them as people who help me even though it’s their job. I also spend December with 10, $1.00 bills in my breast pocket for the bell ringers. Giving, even if I don’t have it to give, makes me feel good. That’s its own reward. Matthew 7:12

  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.

    • Nah –

      Mail carriers are unionized and paid very well for a job. They get better health benefits than you and I do. They will get to retire before 60 years of age with a decent pension.

      And guess what? Their job is hard. I live in Maine and I wouldn’t want the job of trudging through a blizzard just to deliver junk mail to someone’s house. However, they signed up for the job. I also get my neighbors mail, and vice versa, all the time. If there were other options, aside from the USPS to get my junk mail and bills then let me know.

      It’s the latter part of 2023 and most of these comments are from pre pandemic times. Do you people tip your deliver person if you order a package off Amazon, Chewy, or any other online service that’s available to you? Do you tip if you call in an order for food and simply go to pick it up? Do you tip 20% for your take out orange chicken? If you do, why not just say “don’t consider it a tip, just charge me $20 for the meal instead of the advertised $12.99”

      I still tip my barber. She cuts my hair very well and I make it a point to tip her well – I tried cutting my own hair during Covid, it was a train wreck. When I get an oil change I tip the kid who drains my oil, changes the filter and adds 6.2 quarts of 5w-30 to my truck. I don’t want to dispose of oil. I tip when we eat out. And yes, always tip your bartender.

  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!

    • We have different services in our town for Garbage and Recycling. I tip both: I give $20 to the garbage collector and I give $30 to the recycling guy, both given in a card, with a big “Thank you”. Why more money to the latter? Because we 1/2 fill a garbage can every week, but we recycle A LOT of stuff… generally 3 house bins and a large rolling can every two weeks, year round; and in the summer months, there are usually 2 cans of yard waste on top of that. As a household of 6, we generate more than the average amount of recycling, and all of these containers are dumped by hand, by one guy, who goes down our street to do it. He needs to jump in and out of that truck 13 times just to cover one block!

      I live in a suburban community outside a major city. Our taxes cover our garbage/recycling pickup. Yet I still very much appreciate a job well done and I am grateful for the terrific service we receive each year. Giving a tip allows me to at least once a year have a positive interaction with those who provide my household with regular services.

      I also send gifts to my children’s teachers, to the women who cuts and colors my hair each month, and the girl across the street who takes my dog for a walk during the day 3x a week. I feel it is the least I can do to acknowledge their services on a regular basis.

  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


    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.



  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!

  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! 🙂

  94. Anita Simpson says

    I get the name of the guys that collect at our house from the office here in our town. I drop my envelopes off at the office or put it in the bill collection slot if they are closed.

  95. I left basically an entire tree sitting in my driveway after my trimming of a tree turned up more intense than I thought it would, I wasn’t sure they’d actually take it all away – I mean uncompacted it was nearly the size of my car. Anywho sure enough they took it all away, so I’d like to leave the guys $20 to just say thanks – but they come by early in the morning when I’m asleep so I have no idea how to go about doing it. I’m guessing I just tape an envelope to the top of the trash can and put a couple of $10’s in there (I guess there are 2 guys I’m not even sure), but I’m not sure if they’ll actually open it, throw it away or ignore it.

    For my mail lady I tried to leave her a Christmas tip like 2 years in a row, we have a stack of boxes and I put “to my mail lady” etc with no stamp or address and she just ignored it, I tried taping it inside the door, again she ignored it, so I’m not sure how you go about tipping them.

    Overall I’m a big believer in tipping IF the people go above the beyond what they’re required to do – I wouldn’t tip anyone other than food servers for only just doing their job.

  96. If you tip – and think the tip goes to the carrier – take a read before you check the “tip box” when you renew your newspaper subscription:

  97. We have a sanitation crew of 3. I tip them $60 ($20 each) every December.
    I do it because they break their stones lifting heavy refuse in the cold of winter and the heat of summer.
    When I redid my bathroom and left an old tub, toilet, sheetrock and porcelain tiles 3 feet high on the curb…they took without issues and a smile. They didn’t have to, but they did.

  98. If anyone still cares about the HOW TO part of this question, I looked up my waste collection company online, called them, and they gave me the names of the guys who pick up at my house, and said I could mail tips to the office. I didn’t want to leave on the can because nothing stays on my curb for more than a few minutes!

  99. Not too long ago, I was working from home for the day and saw my trash collectors come by through my front window. My dog and the neighbor’s dogs get worked up when delivery trucks and the trash come by. While some may carry pepper spray or something to hit dogs with, our trash collector threw out treats to the dogs to keep them occupied. He didn’t have to do this, but he did. Searching for how to tip them is what lead me to this post.

    To Susan regarding them not having a college degree, this isn’t academia; a person’s worth isn’t dictated by the number of pieces of paper they have (and I’m a college graduate in a technical field, so I don’t say this as a cop-out for not having a degree).

  100. Three different trucks stop at my house every Monday: household garbage, recycle, and yard waste. There is one man on the recycle truck and two each on the others for total of five. Once a year I put $20 in each of five envelopes and hand to them personally.

    The guys work hard and, yes, at $18 to $22 per hour they are well paid for a manual labor job. But they are pleasant, respectful of my property (garbage cans). I think they appreciate the fact that I acknowledge them as fellow humans as much as they do the money. If I can make five guys feel good for $100 a year it is well worth it.

  101. in the city where i am they get paid well over 70 annually as base pay and can make $4k – 8k/10k plus each man on christmas tips and they work hard and deserve every bit of it.

  102. This is my first year having trash pick up. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing and I didn’t read this until after I ‘tipped’.
    I did homemade Christmas cookies in a softside cooler tied to the receptable with a Christmas card.
    I’ll know for next year anyway.

  103. I can’t wrap my head around these people who DON’T tip their garbage men or mail carriers, these peoplework hard to do a service for us it’s the least we can do once a year to say thank you. Do you want to pickup garbage ? I don’t care where you live or how little you make there is always some type of appreciation that can be shown. I typically leave 4 six packs of beer, wrap them in brown paper and write big enough that they can see who it’s for but not so big anyone driving by can see it. I set them on top of my garbage can that way they can’t miss it, each pack has a card taped to the outside with a thank you note in each one. I randomly have the automated truck so either way it’s a safe bet it will be seen. My mail lady I give a gift card every year to Starbucks, I don’t have much but even if I didn’t have a dime i can still afford a card to say thank you. If you don’t tip them shame on you there is no excuse.

  104. CLARK irwin says

    In Japan there is no tipping and workers do not expect tips. People are paid a fair wage to do their job and they do their jobs extremely well. Here workers know what their wages are before they are hired so if they are not comfortable with earning a certain wage then they should look for a different job. In my opinion tipping has gotten out of control in this country. It has become an excuse for employers to short-change their workers and instead supplement it with the General Public’s money. Whatever happened to people just doing the job they are hired for with a good attitude?

  105. Why in the world would I tip the trash collector? He’s getting paid. Jeez, we’ve become tip happy. Waiters, delivery/install, cabbie, and that’s about it. People tip Barstuck’s ust because they have jar out. You wouldn’t dream to tipping McDonald’s. I’ll bet you tip on the total bill at the restaurant, tax and all. 0% to 20% for the service rendered based on the total before sales tax, and ONLY to my server (I refuse to go to restaurants that pool the tips to make sure everyone gets a cut).

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