Woman questions whether to tip sanitation workers during the holidays

Woman questions whether to tip sanitation workers during the holidays

Many people have been questioning tipping culture in the United States over the past year, and with Christmas around the corner some people are not sure exactly what to do about tipping essential workers.

A woman named Kaidi Dey took to TikTok to explain that she is originally from Estonia but is currently living in the US. She shared that she understood the general tipping culture in the US, but wasn’t sure how much to tip during the holidays.

In her video, Dey said that her local sanitation workers had left her a Christmas card back in November, which her father-in-law informed her meant that the workers expected a tip for the holidays. “Happy holidays, the best wishes for you and your family, from your sanitation crew,” the letter read.

Despite the holiday card, she wasn’t sure if she should tip them and if she did, how much to give them. “I realise that everybody in America tips for everything,” she said. “I do tip for a lot of things, like my hair stylist for example, or if I get a massage or something like that.”

“But I find it rather odd that you have to also tip for sanitation workers.”

Dey then asked her viewers that how much should she tip them during the holidays, and clarified that there are two workers she would potentially be giving the tip to. “Tipping sanitation workers? Yay or nay and how much if yay?” she captioned her TikTok.

Since her video was first posted last month, the TikToker has received more than one million views. Some of the comments criticised Dey for considering the idea of not tipping her sanitation workers. “You’re a terrible person,” one of the top comments read.

Another person agreed, writing in the comments: “You come across as so privileged and entitled. Those guys do hard work. Imagine even asking whether to tip?”

“To me it makes so much more sense to tip the sanitation workers than it does to tip a hairstylist,” a third commenter wrote.

In an interview with Business Insider, Dey explained that the negative comments were likely coming from people who didn’t watch her video to the very end, saying they are “only seeing one sliver… and they don’t have the full picture.”

Although, that didn’t stop her from being affected by what was being said about her. “When the comments started flooding in with the first wave of hate, I was actually in tears because it was so bad,” Dey told the outlet.

“I wasn’t expecting people to perceive me as this horrible monster that’s putting down our sanitation crew because I was asking a question,” she added. “I came from a very poor family and I’ve had to fight my way to be here... It hurts when people say that I’m privileged and entitled, but that’s just their opinion of me, they don’t know me.”

Not everyone was negative toward Dey’s question. Some commenters were just as confused about tipping culture and agreed with her line of questioning. “The tipping culture in the US, it’s something as a European I’ll never understand,” one commenter wrote.

“Is there a profession in the US that doesn’t expect a tip?” another commenter joked.

In the US, it’s customary to tip restaurant servers between 15 and 20 per cent of the total bill before tax is included. “Delivery drivers should also receive 15 to 20 per cent when there is inclement weather and large orders to be delivered,” Diane Gottsman - a national etiquette expert, author, and founder of The Protocol School of Texas - told The Independent.

As for sanitation workers, tipping them between $10 to $30 is encouraged.