From the Forum – Tips or Gifts to District Employees?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe in DC

Tips or Gifts to District Employees?

“Our garbage collectors in particular are just awesome. I never thought I’d type that sentence, but there you have it. They always have a smile and copious waves and thumbs-up for our truck-mad son. Has anyone successfully given gifts to city workers or federal workers like the mailman? I know there are probably some restrictions, but our crew is so great. Thanks for any ideas.”

25 Comment

  • I’m sure they’d appreciate some Starbucks or Amazon gift cards. It’s not expected, so they’ll probably be surprised and grateful at any generosity. Whatever you do, give equal and separate amounts to each guy in the crew. Give what you can afford (I think a $15 or $20 gift for each guy would be appropriate).

  • I’ve given them a box of donuts, or muffins, or cookies and a 6-pack of orange juice from time to time, though never specifically associated with the holidays.

  • Growing up, my parents (who rarely drank alcohol) used to leave a 6 pack of cheap beer (everything was cheap beer back then) for the guys that picked up our trash. Odd in a classist way as I think back on it.

  • I am not tipping my trash collection nor recycling staff at all this year and I highly recommend the same if you encountered what I did as well. They did a deplorable job of removing trash in Pleasant Plains and cost me 3 tires this year due to screws and broken glass in my alley. The mailman was OK though.

    • The trash/recycling collectors in my neighborhood often seem to do a haphazard job. Not planning on tipping them until/unless they can stop leaving a trail of loose trash/recyclables in the alley — sometimes there’s a really deplorable amount of stuff strewn around after they collect.

  • we always tip our mail man at christmas. i have heard that it is illegal to tip or for him to accept, but we will continue to do so as long as he is cool with it. he does an amazing job and keeps an eye out for our house and family. i think its a great way to say thanks if you can swing it.

  • So how does it work if you’re not home at collection time? I would feel weird leaving anything, either of monetary value, or edible, right there on my trashcan with a big “Present for my trash collectors” sign on it.

  • justinbc

    I bake cookies for Metro bus drivers once a year. I’ll make a big batch, get out there early, and get on / off each bus with a batch for each driver for about 2 hours or so.

  • Not if they are unionized…they already are getting enough.

    • So, you’re discouraging someone from making an effort to thank “awesome” workers with a pretty yucky job because in your mind “they are already getting enough”? Wow.

  • I never knew it was illegal to tip a postman! Isn’t the whole idea of “Boxing Day” that you give presents (boxes) to the postman and other government employees who work with you? I’ve usually given starbucks cards to the postman, which is easy enough b/c you just use a clothes pin to the mailbox. But I’ve no idea how you’d get a present to the trash collectors–maybe just keep it handy and next time you see them giving you and your son a thumbs up go chase them down?????

    • “Isn’t the whole idea of “Boxing Day” that you give presents (boxes) to the postman and other government employees who work with you?”
      No, not quite, and Boxing Day is not an American custom, tradition, or holiday so it’s not relevant in any case.

    • LOL at the idea of Americans showing any love for public employees (at least those who don’t carry guns).

  • They’re so happy because they have great jobs! Our city treats its trash collectors well. 🙂

  • If folks want to give little gifts to the trash guy, mailman, whatever, as encouragement (aka “bribes”) to be extra careful around their particular house that’s fine with me, but I don’t think it should be expected, encouraged, or (heaven forbid) required. These folks get paid to do a job and we pay taxes for them to get paid. If it makes you feel good to bake cookies and chase down governmental employees all morning then knock yourself out, but it’s not customary nor should it be.

  • I am a DC govt employee and I am fairly certain we cannot accept gifts over $25/value. there are probably some restrictions on the types of gifts too. Having said that, Im sure you can “tip” your collector and they arent going to report on each other to the Human Reseource office! Its nice to be recognized for working hard. I wish my collectors were awesome, but it seems they pick and choose which trash cans on the alley they pick up on any given week!

  • I give our trash crew of 3 ten bucks each. Fortunately they collect before I leave for work in the morning so it’s relatively easy to hand it to them. They do a great job in an ally that has had it’s problems in the years I’ve been here and seem quite appreciative. They are paid reasonably well but hardly a princely sum (about 36 K a year with decent benefits if I remember a Post article correctly; no doubt the usual suspects will hasten to correct me if I don’t remember it properly). I collected garbage for a summer after high school and it was the hardest job physically I ever had with miserable– though short– hours so I’m quite grateful for them.

  • My Mom – who worked in a hospital – always said that she would prefer folks sent a complimentary note to her supervisor than gift her with perfume, candy, money, etc.

  • Beer or cash. They don’t want homemade goodies or Starbucks or Amazon gift cards. Blue collar works love beer and cash. And keep in mind there are usually two guys to a truck so don’t give them just one six pack or just one bill they would have to break on their own. Make sure you’re out there when you give it to them and you’ll be able to throw away WHATEVER you want for the next year.

  • What about metro buskers? There is a great one in NW that makes commuters mornings cheerful — I’d love to gift him.

  • Who cares if there are restrictions. If they mean that much to you, and you said they do, wad up a $50 bill and hand it to them and say “Happy Holidays”.

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