TODAY | November 29, 2012
>>> back now at 8:37. 'tis the holiday season , and you want to thanks to everybody from your hairdresser to your mail carrier, but when it comes to tipping, how much should you give? the age-old question. here with advice nbc analyst heatha. does it matter how much you tip by geographic area ? i think a little goes a long way in some places, but not in others.
>> well, yeah, obviously if you're in new york city , you're going to want to tip more because the cost of living is a little bit higher versus if you live in a small town, as in new mexico, where i'm from, you want to tip a little less. you really want to base it on, you know, your economic -- if you feel economically comfortable and giving and as well as, you know, where you are located and what you feel comfortable with.
>> a lot of people want to give -- sometimes people have the theory if you don't give you're not going to get good service for the rest of the year. times are tough, if you're on a limited budget, is it ever to give say, food or a do-it-yourself or something more the thought that counts?
>> well, i'm a big proponent of giving food, especially if you do a do-it-yourself, because you can wrap it nicely. but you really should, i guess, caution, ask if that person has food aller eergieallergies. you might ensure bad service for the next year.
>> tips come in all forms, could be cash, could be a gift. your mail carrier can't accept cash.
>> mail carriers can't accept cash, and if you are giving them a gift, it can only be under $20. now, i'm particularly close to my mail carrier, we share recipes all the time. so maybe a cookbook that's under $20, good gift for them.
>> i know there's a category of people you think it's good to give, if you can, a tip and a gift. i guess first is the people that provide child care . that's an important one.
>> they're running around with your kids and giving a lot of great service and if you have a babysitter, for example, maybe you would want to give them maybe a day or two's worth of pay. but if you have a nanny full-time, you want to do it on a scaling of scale. maybe a week's worth or pay or month's worth depending on how long they've been with you.
>> do you tip the coaches, tutors, and after school instructors.
>> maybe if it was -- stay between a number of $20 and $100. and, again, if you're really close to that person if they're going above and beyond , go ahead and do that. but you can also add a personalized gift in for them.
>> what do you do about the child's teacher? and what if your child's at an age with multiple teachers?
>> well, if you have a child's teacher that has been with that child for all yearlong, you know, they can't accept cash for gifts, obviously, you might want to do a personalized gift, you know. for example, my sister in the seventh grade had a friend of mine as her science teacher, my mom took my yearbook down, took a picture of his picture, xeroxed it, put it in a frame from senior year and gave it to him in this beautiful frame. it was personalized and he loved it. but if you have multiple teachers, you don't have to give all those teachers a gift.
>> yeah. makes sense.
>> if you have an assistant, what factors do you think about when you're talking about a tip?
>> well, that really depends on your position in the company and how long that assistant has been with you. now, if it were up to me and i wanted to make sure those calls were screened properly, i would bump that up.
>> doormen, do you give to all of the doormen? sometimes you live in a big building there's 10 or 15.
>> most of us live in doormen-staffed building. if you don't want to necessarily play favorites, but at the same time, you know, if someone's been helpful or more helpful than others, you might want to give them a gift. also, these buildings have pools. so you could pool together, you know, your money. it's anonymous, they don't know how much you're giving, therefore they kind of pool together and divvy it up between the ten doormen.
>> the hair stylist and colorist.
>> super important. yes, you want to tip them the amount is as much as you pay for a haircut. and then if they do your color, as well, tip them a little bit more, and, you know, if you want to add in a personal gift for them, that's great too. you know, just a handbag or maybe monogrammed scissors.
>> you're lucky enough to have a housekeeper, what's right to tip?
>> they obviously are taking care of your house and family. i would do maybe a week's worth of pay there, or if they have a service, you wouldn't go ahead and tip.
>> well, a lot of people are short on cash around the holidays for these reasons. is it okay to ever do the tip after christmas? and how long can you wait?
>> right. i love this. you're right. people may be short on cash. you may want to give a little bit before the holiday and then maybe pick a time after the holiday like father's day and give the rest of the cash. you'll be the only one that's doing that and the one that stands out.