Holiday bonus – the etiquette

If you live in a doorman building, there is a custom in New York, and possibly the wider US, to give a holiday bonus to the building’s doormen, concierges, lobby attendants and other members of the entourage.

In preparation for this event, a safe is placed on the reception desk wrapped in Christmas paper, complete with a slot in the top inviting envelopes to be inserted. And in case you don’t know who to address the envelopes to, a handy list of all likely recipients is printed out for you to take away. (There are 13 in our building.)

I have no problem with the concept. Salaries range from $25,000 to around $39,000, so they deserve a boost, and I’m sure the boost can be quite significant. Our building has 27 floors, each with around 18 apartments. If you allow an average of $25 bonus per apartment, then this works out at $12,150.

My issue is with the circumstance which surrounds the bonus. From Thanksgiving onwards, there is a palpable increase in the level of service offered to us tenants, no doubt in an attempt to elevate our contribution. This year, however, I didn’t get round to giving mine until the last minute (today). Over the last few days, I have noticed a similarly palpable decline in service (below the original baseline), even a level of contempt, shown by some of the concierges. It’s an interesting study in human behaviour.

Here is an interesting article about the dynamics involved.

Comments

One Response to “Holiday bonus – the etiquette”

  1. Rob on December 29th, 2005 06:51

    Dan, this is another example of you becoming a little insular and detatched, living as you do in Manhatten.

    To suggest a doorman needs a little more $$$ as they earn ‘only’ $25-39K is crazy. FWIW, here in Australia the average wage is around $50K AUD. That places some of your poor old doormen as above average earners.

    OK, more to the point: remember how lucky we all are (including your doorman), visit worldvision.org and give your $25 to someone who needs it a little more!

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