Holiday Tipping at Washington Square Village
I was brand new at Washington Square Village this time last year, and I had no idea what was expected of me when it came to tipping either my doormen or the “unseen employees.” We had not been residents for long, and I thought at the time that my relative ignorance and short tenure justified giving the whole thing a pass. Not so this year! I shared my anxieties at the most recent tenants association meeting and got helpful answers from some of the long term residents here as well as some history on the unseen employees fund.
The “unseen employees” fund is fairly straightforward. It was started single-handedly decades ago by longtime resident, community board member and tenants association leader Anne Hearn. Initially the fund generated an average of about $67 for each employee, but through the generosity of tenants, the unseen employees each received around $700 last year! No record is kept of how much each donor provides, but as the posted notice indicates, you may have your name added to the donor book if you like. Donations to the fund range from as little as $10 to more than $1500. You should let your budget be your guide, but our household of two will donate $100 to the “unseen employees” holiday fund this year.
Tipping the doormen is a little more complicated. As the notice for the unseen employees fund goes to great lengths to indicate, the doormen and package room attendants are not included in the pool, and they should be tipped separately and individually (the doormen do NOT share tips!) First, if you’re relatively new to WSV, you may have to find out who your doormen are. Around this time of year, they get to be pretty systematic about wearing their nametags, which is helpful. But they also make a list available at the front desk, which includes when their usual shifts are. I have the list for 1 Washington Square Village (which I’ve also seen posted at the elevators and on a table in the lobby), and you can ask for that list at the front desk. Traditionally, the doormen have been discouraged from posting or otherwise displaying the list, so you may still have to ask for your own copy. I noticed that this list does not include our package room attendant’s name, but she’ll be tipped separately as well.
The WSV old-timers suggested a variety of things to take into account when tipping your doormen. You may not know or see some of them, in which case you shouldn’t feel obliged to tip them. On the other hand, maybe one of them has helped you with heavy luggage or given you directions to a local restaurant or looked the other way when you left your car in the drive for a little while longer than you should, or (ahem) politely handed you a stack of paper towels to clean up the floor of the elevator where your dog has just peed. To these doormen, you should consider giving a little extra. Once you’ve decided who you’re going to tip and how much (at least $25 is a good starting place) you’ll need to execute the tip. One long-time member of the tenants association suggests getting some holiday cards and placing the money (cash, check, or I suppose, money order) in the card. Then, when you see the doorman, you simply hand it over and wish him a happy holiday. Tip executed.
Altogether this year, I’ve budgeted to tip about $250 for our two-person household. Your budget and inclination to generosity may vary! Got questions or concerns about tipping? Leave a comment or join this forum discussion about holiday tipping!