’Tis the season to be jolly — and generous.
It amazes me how people, especially those who are doing well in life, feign poverty when it comes to tipping. Perhaps it’s a lack of knowledge of tipping etiquette or a geographical handicap.
As a 15-year-old, I bagged groceries in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the first store of a major chain and thus in the central part of a large city. The customers were by no means wealthy, but almost everyone tipped their bag boy. My wage was the minimum, $1.60 an hour, and the tips were most appreciated.
One year later, I found myself bagging groceries for another grocery chain in a small South Carolina town. The tips were rare. My pay was the same, but tips were not.
You may live in Boulder City, but it is part of the Las Vegas metropolitan statistical area and you should tip accordingly. When in doubt, it is 20 percent. If your meal is $20, or somewhere close to that amount, 20 percent equals $4. Round it up to a $5 bill and your server will remember you. Likewise, if you leave $1 and some change, you will also be remembered.
If you know your server and their circumstances, help out when possible. An extra $10 or $20 might not make a difference in your life, but to a single mother it could be a windfall. Spread that Christmas cheer.
I understand there are those who live paycheck to paycheck and tipping others is nearly impossible. I was there once. You won’t be there forever. Save this commentary for later use when your income and job opportunities increase.
You should tip your barber or hairstylist 15 percent to 20 percent, regardless if they own their own small business. The same protocol applies to your pet groomer.
If you use valet services to park your car, $1 or $2 on the way in and the same amount on the way out will be greatly appreciated.
Many folks do not know how to tip at the buffet. The server who keeps your drinks filled and table cleared is deserving of $2, each. I recommend tipping in cash about midway through your meal.
If you consume adult beverages at a bar, I suggest at least $1 for a beer and $2 for a mixed drink. Be sure to tip your Uber driver 15 percent to 20 percent for your trip home. If you drink and drive, you may eventually find yourself wondering how much to tip your attorney for a $5,000 or $10,000 DUI fee.
If you travel, please remember to tip your housekeeper $2 or $3 every day. Leave the tip each day because you may get a different housekeeper.
This is the Christmas holiday season and you should consider expressing your gratitude to those who provide a regular service to your home. If you have a pool service, cleaning service or landscaper, a token equal to one-half of one month’s cost, or more, is appropriate.
Leave your letter carrier a gift card. Twenty dollars is a generous gesture. Likewise, with your newspaper delivery person. Don’t forget your dry cleaning service.
Keep a stack of $1 bills near your front door to tip the package delivery folks, if you can catch them.
It’s been a good year economically for most folks. Get in the spirit and don’t be an Ebenezer or Grinch. However, be careful when out and about, especially in the malls and when stopped at traffic lights. Be joyful, but don’t become complacent. A mental lapse could ruin your Christmas spirit.
Be generous this holiday season, but don’t be a victim. Keep your doors locked and your valuables, to include newly purchased Christmas gifts, locked in the trunk or hidden from view.
Do not give panhandlers any money under any circumstances. Have a bottle of water or a sandwich shop gift card handy if you feel the need to enable those refusing Salvation Army services.
Christmas is a time for new beginnings and old friends. Remember the reason for the season and spend time with those you love.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year.
Dan Jennings is a retired Army captain and a retired BCPD lieutenant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.