Weatherford Democrat


November 26, 2007

Tips on holiday tipping

Back in 1916, a curmudgeonly book titled “The Itching Palm” predicted that the practice of tipping would one day come to a well-deserved end. Almost a century later, tipping not only lives on but thrives, especially during the holiday season. In fact, Americans might enjoy giving holiday tips almost as much as getting them.

According to a recent investigation by Consumer Reports, the traditional list of holiday tip recipients is actually growing — and the gratuity amounts are increasing. Traditional recipients, such as hairdressers, newspaper carriers and child-care providers, have been joined by an ever-expanding cadre, including fitness trainers, spa attendants, dog walkers and elder-care workers. Last year, Americans tipped an estimated $26 billion.

The Consumer Reports’ National Research Center recently asked a representative U.S. sample of more than 1,800 people what they gave last holiday season. Good news for those on the receiving end: Compared with a similar survey CR conducted last year, tips were up about $5 apiece in many instances.

Regional differences

Where people live can affect how much they tip. People in the Northeast are the biggest tippers, while Southerners tip the least. But tips in the South are often accompanied by, or even replaced by, a homemade gift.

Who gets tipped can also vary by region. For example, while it may be customary for parents to tip their child’s school-bus driver in New York, it’s not expected in Colorado. Therefore, when people move to a new place, it’s a good idea to ask neighbors or co-workers about what’s customary.

When in doubt

Despite the regional variations, the experts CR interviewed were fairly uniform in their tipping advice:

n Match one week/session. If the person is not on our list and provides service weekly, give the equivalent of one week’s pay. For instance, if your dog walker charges $75 a week, give her a $75 tip.

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