Should I be tipping the newspaper delivery person more often?
September 27, 2009 10:08 AM   Subscribe

Newspaper delivery tipping etiquette? Are additional tips expected outside of the holiday season?

I have a Sunday newspaper subscription. Sometimes I find tip envelopes filled out with the delivery person's address (and occasionally a little note on cardstock like "Wishing you a nice holiday") in with my newspaper.

I know to tip at the holiday season, but I also get these tip envelopes at other times during the year (usually on other holidays, I think, like July 4).

Are tips for newspaper delivery expected outside of the winter holiday season?
posted by cadge to Work & Money (11 answers total)
I never heard of this when I used to get the newspaper delivered. Truth be told I never tipped at the holidays either.

Practice may different in different areas.
posted by dfriedman at 10:17 AM on September 27, 2009

Anecdata, but data none the less.

My parents got the paper daily for the longest time, and would only tip at Christmas - usually around $20-$30 bucks.

Miss Manners suggests that newspaper tips are annual as well, if you buy into her brand of propriety.
posted by SNWidget at 10:18 AM on September 27, 2009

I was a paper boy about ten years ago. Getting tips (between $5 and $20) at Christmas was nice, but I never expected anything the rest of the year. Slipping a tip envelope in the paper comes off as very crass to me. I mean, it's not a very lucrative job, but you're generally doing it because you're too young to get an hourly position somewhere.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 10:59 AM on September 27, 2009

My newspaper delivery guy is an older man, not a kid -- he puts a Christmas card in with the paper sometime in early December, and we use the address on that to send a check.

I've never heard of delivery guys asking for tips outside of the holiday season. Do you live in a hard-to-reach location that means yours has to go out of his way?
posted by vickyverky at 11:16 AM on September 27, 2009

My general rule is that if someone is asking for a tip then they're not getting money from me. I think it applies here.
posted by theichibun at 11:42 AM on September 27, 2009

Who the hell gets a 4th of July tip? The standard seems to be you tip deliverymen ("deliverypeople" just sounds silly) at the same time you give gifts to other people who provide you with services, like hairdressers, doormen, and the like.

theichibun: Unless I'm going to hang out in front of my house at 4am to try to catch the delivery truck, I don't have a reasonable way to tip the delivery driver unless he/she gives me a card with an address as I, in fact, do not have much of a direct relationship with said person. Is that asking for a tip? Sure, but I would tip anyway and this makes that exchange a reasonably practical possibility. Obviously, there's a point where you're being crass, but the act of facilitating annual tipping shouldn't disqualify one from receiving a tip. Similarly, the bellman at the hotel will wait around discretely until you give him a tip or the (US) taxi driver will start fishing for singles to give you as change until you tell him/her how much to keep. I guess the closest equivalent is the tip line on credit card receipts at restaurants: it is asking for a tip, but you'd be nuts (and wrong) to refuse to tip your waiter because the CC slip had a space for you to write in a tip amount.

HumuloneRanger: In larger cities, newspaper delivery is usually performed by adults and a driver's license is often required as the crews drive delivery trucks. There aren't any paperboys around here (but even if your newspaper is delivered by a neighborhood kid, you should tip on the holidays too!)
posted by zachlipton at 1:12 PM on September 27, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the input, everyone!

About tip envelopes: I like these pre-addressed envelopes because I live in an urban apartment building and there isn't any other secure means for me to leave a cash tip out for the early-morning delivery driver.

I've just been a bit weirded out by having them tucked in my paper at non-holiday-season times, and I wasn't sure if I was screwing up some tip etiquette.

(I posted this because I received an envelope today, Sept 27, and I can't think of any reason for it!)
posted by cadge at 3:12 PM on September 27, 2009

Well, today/tomorrow is Yom Kippur, so maybe you have a Jewish newspaper delivery person. :-P Or maybe they're just trying to cash in on any and every possible holiday.
posted by Nothlit at 4:21 PM on September 27, 2009

Once upon a time, when I (now late 20s) was in middle school and had a paper route, we went around and collected by hand. Some people gave me a modest tip every time. (Like, a dollar.) Some people only tipped at Christmas. Some tipped other times of year, too.

Now, when I suspect nearly all subscriptions are paid by credit card, there's no opportunity for that. If your paper arrives before you wake, when are you supposed to tip the carrier if they don't leave you a way to do that? It's sort of a catch-22. The fact that they're giving you an opportunity to tip doesn't necessarily mean it's compulsory. If my paper was always on time, in good condition, etc, I might tip more often than just Christmas out of gratitude. (I've had some lousy paper carriers,, though. YMMV.)

You have the opportunity to tip. If you feel your carrier deserves a little extra, tip. I don't imagine they're going to feel really shorted if you don't.
posted by larkspur at 6:21 PM on September 27, 2009

I got one last Sunday and my only reaction was, "Hey! Free envelope!"

We give the driver some money at Christmas, but the rest of the year it's a "You don't ask you don't get" thing. (He doesn't get from me.) Especially when it's stamped "a gratuity for fuel is appreciated," when gas priced dropped by two bucks since last year -- and we did give some extra when he asked then.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:31 AM on September 28, 2009

We tip in July and December when we get the envelopes - about $35 each time. Maybe we're chumps, but the guys are super-reliable, and we're grateful.
posted by mozhet at 7:11 PM on September 29, 2009

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