A doorman in New York City
A doorman in New York City - 
Listen To The Story


DOUG KRIZNER: The holidays are about making lists and checking them twice. People to buy gifts for . . .check. People to send cards to . . . check. People to tip . . . hmm. In some cities, holiday tipping is a yuletide tradition. We sent Trey Kay to the streets of New York to find out the dos and don'ts.

TREY KAY: Have you ever thought about not tipping?

CATE SMIT: Oh yeah, absolutely! We have a superintendent, who doesn't earn his tip. But it's almost like you tip just case. You tip so that he doesn't do something evil. You tip as protection.

GUS ROGERSON: My name is Gus Rogerson and I've lived in New York for 19 years. Sometimes I get worried about there being consequences if I don't tip. You know, some sort of, you know, payback. Every time the staff comes, I sort of feel like, "Should I have tipped them? Should I not have tipped them?" And I always feel uncomfortable about whether or not I should have given them $20 and is $20 bucks absurd because it's relatively speaking not very much money anymore? I get nervous about the time when actually I need the staff. And am I going to be that, you know, the tight wad in apartment in Apartment 51?

PATRICIA: We have always tipped the doorman, the porter, the entire staff. Well, it is a generous amount but at some point if you continue, you are really out-financially-pacing yourself. So at some point you have gotta to come to an agreement with yourself that this is as for as you are going to go and hope that everybody is happy. When somebody has been here for a really very long time, you do have a kind of a family feeling, a rapport with each other. At a holiday time, if they are working a very long time in a shift that is during our meal time, we might be happy to send them down a plate of food or a dessert or a sandwich, whatever they would like.

The service people who work in the building, the doormen and the porters, do you do well at holiday time with tips?

PATRICIA'S DOORMAN 1: Well, I think it's decent. And it helps us probably to make up for whatever we don't up through the year. So I mean, it's all right, but it's not great. We have very generous people and we also have people that think twice before they give you anything.

Do you feel like they treat you like family or do they treat you like "the help"?

PATRICIA'S DOORMAN 2: Twenty-six years here, family no, help yes. I know doormen that make considerable amounts of money for Christmas, $15,000 and up and those are the ones that are appreciated. And those are the ones that go that extra mile. Although, I do go the extra mile, but I don't get that.

PATRICIA'S DOORMAN 1: And I don't even make that close. I wish that I knew it so I'd move to that building. That's why I have to have two jobs to take care of my bills and everything. I work 80 hours a week and I've been doing it for 24 years pretty much to have what I need.

KRIZNER: Our piece was produced by Trey Kay on the sidewalks of New York.