While suburbanites tussle over flat screen TVs in Wal-Mart parking lots, New Yorkers know that Thanksgiving not only kicks off the holiday shopping season, but something equally expensive and far more terrifying: holiday tipping anxiety season. The mystery surrounding how much to tip the building staff is one that has plagued even the greatest minds ever since 998 Fifth Avenue made apartments socially acceptable a few years before the world went to war (is there a connection?). Choose wisely, and expect superb and speedy service for the following year. Stiff a super, and, well, hope you enjoy that toilet water leaking on your head.
Everyone has their own set of rules, and each year since 2005, Curbed has re-run the infamous Memo From a Two Trees Management Super (original here; more recent years' coverage here) and let readers duke it out in the comments over what's appropriate. This year, BrickUnderground has decided to comprehensively tackle this troubling issue once and for all, unveiling a six-part Holiday Tipping Guide?the first four parts were published today?with the goal of helping residents avoid evil stares and "lost" packages.
Major takeaways: Cash is king (unless a super is responsible for distributing tips to the staff), spare them the fruitcakes, and the staff doesn't expect big increases over last year's recession-plagued gratuities. As for the most important question, how much to give, here's BU's anecdotal guide:
Super, resident manager: $100 -$175 avg (broad range: $75 - $500)
Doorman, concierge: $75-$150 avg (broad range: $10 - $1,000)
Porter, handyman: $20 - $30 avg (broad range: $10 - $75)
Garage attendant: $50 - $75 avg (broad range $25-$100)Essential reading for all, unless you're one of the lucky ones. As always, we will now take a moment to prep our application to superintendent school. Fingers crossed!
· 2010 Holiday Tipping Guide [BrickUnderground]
· The Tipping Point coverage [Curbed]