What I left in the note with the 12-pack of beer for the garbage men yesterday:
Sorry about the cat litter. I want the cats to be outdoor cats but my husband is afraid if we let them out, they will be eaten by pit bulls.
Of course I got them the more or less hometown beer.
I am generally not in favor of tipping people who get paid a salary or who are unionized or who do not perform a service outside their normal scope of duty (although I am all about writing the note to the CEO telling them what a fabulous job Mr X did), but we are putting the trash out every week because there is cat poop in it and in the occasional summer heat, it can get nasty. I feel bad for the trash guys having to put up with it.
SH is more in favor of tipping, being a bar guy and all that. I don't mind tipping a bartender who remembers your drink and cleans the counter in front of you, but the guy who draws one of four options at Summerfest after you have stood in line for ten minutes and charges a flat $5? How is that any different from the person who sold you the fried cheese curds? Why shouldn't the cheese curd guy get a tip? Or the frozen custard guy? There is nothing more complicated about drawing a beer than about making an ice cream cone.
I didn't want to tip the Grown-up Paper Woman, either. The one who I had never seen before because paper carriers are no longer the neighborhood kid who comes collecting once a month when nobody has any change and it's kind of embarrassing but who are hourly employees of the paper or of a company contracted to the paper so where's the personal relationship? Anyhow, after she kindly sent us a Christmas card with her name and address -- just to be nice, not so we could send her a tip or anything, I got cranky and told SH no way was I tipping her because this was her darn job.
Then it snowed 12" one morning before 7 a.m. They hadn't even started to plow. Our paper usually arrived about then, but I knew -- I KNEW -- there was no way she would get our paper to us. So I very confidently said to SH that if there were a newspaper under all that snow on our front stoop that I would send her a tip.
She deserved her tip. She must have been delivering those papers at 4 a.m. I respect that.