Sometimes it seems like everywhere you go someone is looking for a tip.  For example, my family and I went to a gourmet burger shop in Shreveport a couple of weeks ago.  It's one of those places where you order and pay at the counter, and then they bring your food out to you.  Sitting beside the cash register was a tip jar with a handful of dollar bills in it.  My question is, "Who am I tipping here and for what service?"

Since it's customary to leave a 5 or 10 percent tip for a buffet server, which is essentially what this establishment provides, then that should be done at the table.  Management can then decide how tip proceeds are distributed among its staff.  Putting a tip jar at the cash register just seems like double-dipping to me.

While I don't want to seem cheap in not giving a tip when one is due, I don't want to be a sap either.  So, I decided to brush up on my tipping etiquette for the Christmas season since some of the people who provide us with service throughout the year deserve a little monetary recognition.

Tipping is one of the customs in the U.S. that has confusing rules of etiquette which can vary by region.  Even etiquette experts will sometimes have differing opinions about what is proper.  That being said, all experts agree on the bottom line:  tipping is the means by which to acknowledge good service.

  • 1

    The Mail Delivery Person 

    Since the U.S. Postal Service does not allow any of its employees to take a monetary gift (because it could be considered a bribe), a gift of not more than $25 is appropriate.

  • 2

    The Lawn Mower


    To be clear, this if for the lawn mower person, not the contraption.

  • 3

    Delivery People


    These include delivery persons for dry cleaning, UPS, pharmacy, etc.

  • 4

    Garbage Collectors


    Incidentally, these people are not to be confused with your teenage children.

  • 5

    Newspaper Delivery Person

    Though this job may seem to be a dying profession, it is still a job that many people do, and it's one of the most thankless in the world.  They get up at 4:00 every morning rain or shine (or hurricane) to make sure your paper is in your front yard when you wake up--365 days a year. And they do it for very little pay.

    Tip amount: $30-$50

  • 6


    These are the people that are helping to shape your child into a functioning member of society.  Good teachers are priceless, so a gift is in order.  Not cash because this could be seen as a bribe by some.  A gift card is a nice gesture; somewhere between $10 and $100, depending on how many kids you have, and what your budget is.

  • 7


    A tip amounting to the average amount for what you pay for a night's work is appropriate, or if they have a regular gig, an amount equal to a week's work.  A cute gift from the sitter's charge, i.e. your child, is a nice gesture.