Holiday Tipping

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Last year when we did this series I heard from some folks who flat out said they could not afford to tip. I get that, but having worked in jobs all through school that depended on tips I try to be cognizant of the fact that so many workers rely on tips for their income.

Tipping during the holiday season is a bit different in that we try to show appreciation to those who have helped us out on a regular basis all year. We want them to know we care about what they do and we are thankful for their help.

Tipping is everywhere. Many of us tip on daily basis when we stop to pick up our morning coffee. I would like it if the employers paid the workers enough so they did not have to put out those tip jars.

Many workers rely on tips to supplement a meager salary. Tipping should be a personal choice; not something that is expected. A tip should be earned for good service. Although I spoke with many people who tip to ensure continued good service.

And in my travels, I found that tipping customs are different around the country and the world. We tip more here in the states than anywhere else. And across our country there are distinct differences; Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas are all different.

I interviewed some service providers about what they expect at Christmas. Here again I was surprised at the regional differences. Doormen that work in apartment houses in New York City expect more than the doormen in Boston. My daughter who has lived in both places tipped her Boston doorman the New York City rate and she had outstanding services all year.

Some people balk at tipping, believing that people get paid enough to do their job and in some fields that is true. But in other fields like the food industry, the pay is lousy and most of their income comes from that tip that you add to the bill.

Tipping is a $16 billion a year industry and if you receive over $20 in tips in a month you are required to report it and pay taxes on it. It is not a gift for doing a great job as some have tried to argue.

You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.  

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