tip the cable guy?
October 22, 2005 8:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm having cable installed today... should I tip the cable guy? If so, how much?
posted by mandlebrotz to Work & Money (25 answers total)
I wouldn't tip a cable guy.
posted by gfrobe at 8:44 AM on October 22, 2005

No need to tip. He gets paid well for what he does. Waiters and bellboys are paid (mostly) in tips. Cable guys are paid normally.

The only reason you might tip him is if he "accidentally" gives you HBO for free. I'm sure he'll let you know if he's offering.
posted by bondcliff at 8:52 AM on October 22, 2005

Plus, he'll probably be an hour and a half late, so you won't feel like tipping anyway.
posted by goatdog at 9:04 AM on October 22, 2005

If you want, you could always offer him a cold drink, but I don't think tipping is necessary.
posted by gyc at 9:52 AM on October 22, 2005

posted by Doohickie at 9:52 AM on October 22, 2005

One wouldn't normally tip a cable guy.

Now, bribing a cable guy, that's another story.
posted by box at 9:59 AM on October 22, 2005

What's he doing for this tip that his paycheck doesn't already give him? As mentioned above, low wage jobs such as servers, bellboys, taxi drivers, pizza delivery guys and so on rely just as much if not more on tips, whereas a cable guy and other such "trades" people get paid amply.

I wouldn't even think about tipping him.
posted by ashbury at 10:01 AM on October 22, 2005

I worked in the cable industry and knew lots of installers. They were generally astonished when they got a tip. They tended to get offers of sodas or beer or occasionally joints and (some claimed) sex.

The best way to reward the cable guy is just to be pleasant-- they get a lot of crap, deal with a lot of shrill weirdos and they are indeed always late (because they are always over-booked by the dispatch system). Just have a smile and that's plenty.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:07 AM on October 22, 2005

No. Offer him a cup of coffee, or whatever, but not money.

I would like to find the Comcast contractor who showed up to connect the cable to my house, and give him the tip of my boot. That's another story, though.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:38 AM on October 22, 2005

Yesterday, I just made the cable guy climb under the full length of my new house, through a narrow crawlspace that previous installers couldn't fit through -- they had to send him specifically because he was small enough to do the job. Basically, he got stuck with the "shit job" by his company.

He was a nice guy about it, did it without complaining, etc. -- so I tipped him. Me: "I bet you guys don't get tips very often." Him: "Almost never."

Granted, I'm not a big fan of tipping EVERY SINGLE PERSON I come in contact with (having lived in Los Angeles for 11 years), but since buying my new house, I've encountered so many lame installers/techs/etc. lately who simply would not "do their job", I was happy to tip someone who actually took just the slightest bit of pride/effort for his work.

So a good guideline might be to tip someone who does a good job -- you won't have to worry about tipping becoming a common thing. ;)
posted by jca at 10:47 AM on October 22, 2005

I've been one of those dispatchers before...all I can say is, if he isn't half a day late, give the cable guy a hug...
posted by hototogisu at 11:13 AM on October 22, 2005

I wouldn't advise tipping the cable guy under normal circumstances, but I would advise keeping an eye on him to make sure he doesn't pocket any signal splitters you might have, or swap out your nice wooden wallplates with cheap white plastic ones. This I've learned from experience with Comcast contractors.
posted by Buzz at 11:16 AM on October 22, 2005

the best thing you can do is not to hover over them while they work. that's gotta be the worst part about technical house calls. just let us do our job!
posted by mcsweetie at 11:41 AM on October 22, 2005

No you shouldn't. Don't encourage tipping: it lets employers screw their employees by paying substandard wages.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:02 PM on October 22, 2005

If you are really appreciative, ask the installer for their name, their supervisor's name, and a number where you could call to compliment their work. I have done this on occasion, if I was really impressed with my service. The service person always seems appreciative, and a few compliments probably go a long way toward a raise (much better than a tip).
posted by MrZero at 12:37 PM on October 22, 2005

A friend of mine that was an installer has told me many stories about this. In his 2 years on the job, he was tipped only a hand full of times, usually because he went above and beyond and hooked up a home theatre or helped on their computer...never for just a regular install.

Oh, and don't let him use your washroom. My buddy had the stomach bug and had to ask for the plunger by the time he was done.
posted by adamfunman at 12:47 PM on October 22, 2005

I'm not sure why every situation needs its own thread. Cable installer. Appliance repairman. Plumber. Mailman. Milkman. Et cetera.

They're all getting the same answers. Most say don't tip. Some say tip for exemplary service. A few say always tip. Call it 60%, 30%, and 10%, respectively.
posted by cribcage at 1:04 PM on October 22, 2005

No of course not - not for just doing his job. Now - if he goes above & beyond his duties - that's different: even I'd offer more than a coffee then.

But then, I'm in the UK: where are you? France? Syria? Vietnam?
posted by dash_slot- at 1:09 PM on October 22, 2005

Off topics sort of... How about tipping the guy that carries my suitcase from the cab to the reception desk in a hotel? Or up to my room?
posted by Amizu at 2:30 PM on October 22, 2005

Yeah, you're supposed to tip the hotel guy.
Or you can just carry it yourself, which is what I usually do unless I'm bringing my steamer trunk and my Sherpas are on vacation.
posted by exceptinsects at 3:07 PM on October 22, 2005

Absolutely, positively, do not tip the cable guy. You are more than likely already paying for the installation.
posted by o0o0o at 3:37 PM on October 22, 2005

cheapskates. i tipped my cable guy cause he had to crawl all over the place under the house to run the cable to my office.
posted by joeblough at 3:44 PM on October 22, 2005

Oh, and don't let him use your washroom.

"Can I use your washroom?"


Are you serious?
posted by trevyn at 4:50 PM on October 22, 2005

As a random tech and occasional general cable-wrangling monkey, the best tip you can give a helpful tech is a friendly and appreciative call to their manager.

Don't just call the dispatcher or help desk, talk to someone in charge. Make it sound like you have a negative issue to discuss if you have to to get through to the honcho level, but only if you have to.

Get the tech or contractors name - casually, if at all possible. Have the job ticket number or other relevant info. Call the honcho-type. Be sincere and thankful. Describe the situation and why it was good service, etc.

As a tech, cable wrestler and helpdesk junkie I certainly always appreciated the tips of snacks, coffee, soda or even lunch or real money, but nothing says job security like people going out of their way to seek out your manager to tell him what great service they got from me.

I recently had an issue with my data cable/broadband service that was seriously giving me grief - which is highly unusual for me. "Consumer-grade connectivity issues? What the fuck? Who stole my brain?"

I called Cox. I got a Macintosh tech for some reason. The guy must have been new or unbroken, because he was willing to work off-script at my level as I described my non-Mac mixed Windows and Linux networks and computers. He worked with me for well above and beyond the quota time, didn't try to insult my intelligence or rush me.

And it turns out that there were two issues, one subtle and ongoing problem with Cox's DNS on my local segment and one with my router's DNS caching - neither of which would have been discovered without this off-the-script co-operation. Anyway, I upgraded my router's firmware, they fixed their DNS, and I haven't had any problems ever since.

I was so esctatic to reach a tech that didn't pass the buck, didn't talk down to me, and was willing to work with me on the issue that I took the time to call his manager afterwards and describe my abundant and sincere joy.

The manager was absolutely stunned and shocked. "We don't get very many calls like this. Thank you. We'd love it if you'd send us an email for our records." Which I was very happy to do.

There are more important things than just plain money sometimes.
posted by loquacious at 7:07 PM on October 22, 2005

Even if the cable guy has to crawl under your house, that is part of his job description. I wouldn't consider that going beyond the call of duty, myself. However, with nearly any service type person who calls, I do try to offer a cold drink.
posted by Atreides at 8:48 AM on October 23, 2005

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