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Super, you're super. Please take my money
December 19, 2012 12:19 PM   Subscribe

My Super is wonderful. I want to give her cash for (what I consider) to be going out of her way but she actively refuses it. Suggestions, especially as we're in the midst of holidays of various flavors.

Thanks to MeFi help with location and packing tips, I moved in September. Love my building and my super live-in Super who really goes out of her way to take care of the building and residents. We stop to chat to her when coming or going and she does the same.

I almost never have packages delivered home because I work odd hours, but I've had to pick up a package once. I offered her a few $ and she wouldn't take it. Another time she came to snake a messy toilet for the second time in a week (and then subsequently fixed it so she wouldn't have to again). First snaking, I wasn't home. Second one, I was and again offered her $ but she adamantly refused. Due to time in and around the service industry, I know a polite refusal from an adamant one and this was definitely refusal to take. She even asked why I felt the need to give her something and I told her I'd felt she'd gone above and beyond. She said she didn't think so.

I figured this would be resolved via an envelope in the mailbox/with rent envelope under the door and I'd give her $$ that way, but no dice. Any suggestions or should I really just let this go? It's nice to be in a bldg where staff don't have their hand out - but she's so good I'd like to give her something.

If it matters: Manhattan. About 25 apartments in the building. Non doorman. She's super for a few bldgs on the block. I've never met the landlord.

Thanks
posted by TravellingCari to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
ETA: after reading this I felt I should mention - she was fixing the intercom and a bathroom mirror on move-in day and I offered her $10. She also refused.
posted by TravellingCari at 12:23 PM on December 19, 2012


Speak to the other residents in the building and see what they have to say. If actual cash is a no-go, perhaps a gift, like a nice bottle of wine or a cordial would be accepted.

I'm a huge fan of sending letters to people's employers, so if no one has any ideas, then write to the management company to say how much you appreciate the super-super in your building.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:26 PM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bake her something or get her a nice tchochke from wherever you're from (or that would in some other way be significant between the two of you). If she refuses that, then she's drawn a line in the sand, and it would be rude to press her.
posted by Etrigan at 12:26 PM on December 19, 2012


Big tip at Christmas?
posted by fshgrl at 12:44 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Be observant and give her a gift she'll love. Now, that would be rude to refuse.

But don't offer her money again. She's let you know loud and clear that she doesn't want that.
posted by bearwife at 12:46 PM on December 19, 2012


Get her a gift. No gift that's stuff, but something consumable or perishable. Wine is an option, but fancy vinegrettes always go over well, especially if you're not close to the person to know their tastes.

Consumables show that you care, don't pose a problem of giving them stuff they don't need or like, and worst case scenario, are easily regiftable.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:04 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cash is a cold gift in most cases. In her place, I'd probably feel like you're trying to pay me for just doing my job - for which I already get paid from my boss. I would guess it's not so much "refusing gifts", more "refusing money". Get her something nice for Christmas, something not too expensive. I'd probably get a really nice winter-flavor tea.
posted by MinusCelsius at 1:25 PM on December 19, 2012


FWIW, it doesn't sound above and beyond to me, it sounds like things I would expect my super to do.

I figured this would be resolved via an envelope in the mailbox/with rent envelope under the door and I'd give her $$ that way, but no dice.

What does this mean? You actually tried sliding money under her door and she returned it? Because if so I'd say you've been pushy enough that even a tip at Christmas might be seen as unwanted, and you should not try giving cash in any form. It's probably worth talking to a neighbour, even if you never talk to any of them, to check how other people do this. My suggestion would be to get her a box of chocolates and a card that says thank you so much for everything.
posted by jacalata at 1:31 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


FWIW, it doesn't sound above and beyond to me, it sounds like things I would expect my super to do.

I figured this would be resolved via an envelope in the mailbox/with rent envelope under the door and I'd give her $$ that way, but no dice.

What does this mean? You actually tried sliding money under her door and she returned it? Because if so I'd say you've been pushy enough that even a tip at Christmas might be seen as unwanted, and you should not try giving cash in any form. It's probably worth talking to a neighbour, even if you never talk to any of them, to check how other people do this. My suggestion would be to get her a box of chocolates and a card that says thank you so much for everything.


Sorry jacalata that wasn't clear. I mean that in previous buildings I found an envelope in my mailbox and/or under my door with my super's name and a pre-addressed envelope inside for a "gift". This isn't the case here. Oddly, she's by far my best super in recent apartments.

Thanks all for the good tips!
posted by TravellingCari at 1:52 PM on December 19, 2012


Make a nice gift basket at one of the NYC grocery stores. Or gather some jam, crackers, cheese, maybe pickles, nice oil and vinegar, and a small chocolate bar, wrap in a basket and some cellophane. Or bake something and wrap with a gift card to the closest decent coffee shop. Does she cook? If so, nice spices are expensive and a lovely gift to receive.
posted by barnone at 8:07 AM on December 20, 2012


Thanks all - some really good ones.


Big tip at Christmas?
posted by fshgrl


I wish I knew whether she'd take it.

I'm a huge fan of sending letters to people's employers, so if no one has any ideas, then write to the management company to say how much you appreciate the super-super in your building.
posted by Ruthless Bunny


Well lots of ideas, but I still think this is a really good one, ashamed I hadn't thought of it.


Get her a gift. No gift that's stuff, but something consumable or perishable. Wine is an option, but fancy vinegrettes always go over well, especially if you're not close to the person to know their tastes.

posted by Capt. Renault

Get her something nice for Christmas, something not too expensive. I'd probably get a really nice winter-flavor tea.
posted by MinusCelsius

Make a nice gift basket at one of the NYC grocery stores. Or gather some jam, crackers, cheese, maybe pickles, nice oil and vinegar, and a small chocolate bar, wrap in a basket and some cellophane. Or bake something and wrap with a gift card to the closest decent coffee shop. Does she cook? If so, nice spices are expensive and a lovely gift to receive.
posted by barnone


I like these food ideas. She, or someone in her apartment cooks as I frequently smell it and start drooling when I walk in the building. And far more practical as I don't cook myself. This is also food for thought in that I never expected her to refuse $$ when many supers I've dealt with seem to expect tips. May be generational or cultural as she's an older immigrant.

Thanks all!
posted by TravellingCari at 3:48 PM on December 20, 2012


So I just came back from spending Christmas with someone who bakes. Brought back tin of cookies and super looked as if she won lotto. "Problem" solved. Thanks all
posted by TravellingCari at 6:40 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


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