Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Here's a tip: Don't be cheap over the holidays

Guidelines recommend 25% to servers

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MANITOBANS may be the most generous across the country when it comes to charity, but what about when it comes to tipping?

New guidelines about tipping during the holiday season recommend shelling out up to 25 per cent to restaurant servers and recognizing the person who shovels snow with extra pay or a small gift.

Manny Borges, who works with Class A Services clearing snow at about 50 homes and businesses in the city, said he's received tips from clients.

He said the tips come around the holidays, or if the clients feel the crew has done exceptional work.

"This season, I've already had two clients come up to us and give us $20, just out of the blue," said Borges, who said he doesn't see tips as expected, but is "very grateful" when they come.

"They're paying for a service, and I'm providing the service, so as far as I'm concerned that's all that's necessary.

"But being Christmas, and in the spirit of Christmas, it's appreciated."

A release from BMO this week provided guidelines to tipping around the holiday season.

It was based on informal polling and a group of websites, said a BMO spokeswoman based in Toronto.

The list includes house-sitters, camp counsellors, fitness instructors, stylists, hotel housekeepers and bartenders.

For a stylist, BMO recommends a small gift, or forking out the cost of a haircut.

"For many service workers, the gratuities earned during the holiday season significantly contribute to their overall income -- which is important for many this time of year," said Su McVey, BMO Bank of Montreal vice-president, in the release.

"It's important to keep in mind that a small gift can go a long way, such as a small tip to show your appreciation for a service provided." Manitoba was recently hailed as the most generous province in Canada, according to the Fraser Institute.

The ranking was based on the percentage of aggregate income donated to charity and the percentage of tax filers donating to charity. Higher holiday tips may not translate into more take-home pay for workers, cautioned University of Manitoba economics professor Gregory Mason.

Consumers who are expected to tip more could trim back in their total spending to match their budget, said Mason. "People react, they make adjustments."

Lew Bayer, president of Civility Experts Worldwide, said she tries to remind people once-a-year tips can't replace "the gifts of kindness, respect and courtesy that we should be giving to each other all year long."

The price of service

How much should Winnipeggers be tipping during holidays?

Personal trainers: gift worth one session or less

Restaurant servers: 20 to 25 per cent tip

Bartender: 15 to 20 per cent of bar bill, or $1 a drink

Volunteer sports team coach: A small gift worth up to $20, or a hand-written thank-you note

Full-time nanny: A gift from the kids and one week's pay

Hairdresser/stylist: Small gift, or the amount of one haircut

House-sitter: Gift from your vacation destination

Driveway shoveller: A gift worth up to $20, or one day's pay

Hotel housekeeper: $1 to $5 for each night of a hotel stay

Babysitter: Small gift from kids and one night's pay

Dog walker/pet sitter: A small gift, or the same as a week's work

-- source: BMO

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 20, 2012 B1

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