Park Slope Locals Shell Out Up to $1,500 on Holiday Tips, Survey Finds

By Leslie Albrecht on December 14, 2012 6:56am 

PARK SLOPE — Forget budget-busting holiday gift shopping — in Park Slope, it's holiday tipping that costs a pretty penny.

Some Park Slope families will shell out $1,494 this year tipping service providers — from nannies to dog walkers to building supers to hair stylists — according to a survey by the parenting community Park Slope Parents.

That hefty sum is what a family would pay if they tipped the average amount to the full gamut of employees, including personal trainers, school teachers and doormen, which are relatively rare in Park Slope but have grown in number with the arrival of new condo buildings on Fourth Avenue.

"That's a lot of money to come up with at the end of the year, considering that you have your own family [to buy presents for]," said Park Slope Parents founder Susan Fox, Ph.D. "You really have to budget your money. If you live in a doorman building with a super and a porter, it can be a chunk out of your wallet."

The largest slice of the holiday tip pie goes to full-time nannies, whose average bonus was $720, or their average week's pay. Of the survey's 506 respondents, 77 percent of people said they gave their nanny a week's pay as a bonus. Nineteen percent gave more, while 4 percent gave less.

House cleaners received an average of $100, dog walkers got $79, and daytime doormen were given $73. At the bottom of the list were postal carriers, who netted $20 on average.

Park Slope Parents has conducted the tipping survey since 2009 as a tool for families who need guidance on putting something extra in their employees' stockings. The information helps clarify expectations around holiday tipping, Fox said.

For example, last year one Park Slope mom was puzzled about why her nanny was giving her the silent treatment, then realized it was because the nanny's year-end bonus didn't measure up to those received by her fellow caretakers, Fox said.

Tip amounts overall increased slightly between 2011 and 2012, and the amount of people who said they were giving more than last year rose from 6 to 8 percent.

Fox said the survey size is too small to draw sweeping conclusions, but she speculated that Hurricane Sandy may have spurred people to open their wallets more this year. Park Slope was mostly unscathed by the storm, but some people who work in the neighborhood come from hard-hit areas.

"You might be able to make the argument that due to Sandy and people's generosity, there does seem to be a trend that people are giving more," Fox said. "In Park Slope especially, people are saying, I don't know what's happening in the lives of my dog walker and my doorman, so I'm wiling to throw a few bucks his way."

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