YONKERS, N.Y., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The traditional list of holiday tip recipients is growing and gratuity amounts are increasing according to a recent survey in Consumer Reports December 2007 issue. Who was the most likely to receive a holiday tip last season? Sixty-two percent of respondents who gave tips in Consumer Reports' survey reported that they tipped their child-care provider. Housekeepers/cleaners (61%) and child's teachers (59%) were also among the most likely to receive some form of holiday bonus from respondents. The good news for those on the receiving end: compared to a similar survey Consumer Reports conducted last year, tips were up about $5 apiece in many instances. Cash or cash substitutes, such as gift cards, were more popular than giving an actual present. "The holiday tipping list is growing and the traditional recipients, such as hairdressers, newspaper carriers, and child-care providers, have been joined by an ever-expanding group, including fitness trainers, spa attendants, dog walkers, and elder-care workers," said Greg Daugherty, executive editor at Consumer Reports. Respondents also indicated that during the holidays they tipped: hairdressers (54%), newspaper carriers (47%) manicurists/pedicurists (44%), barbers (40%), gardeners/lawn-care crews (32%) mail carriers (31%), school-bus drivers (31%), apartment building caretakers (30%) fitness trainer/instructors (26%), and sanitation/recycling collectors (15%). The Consumer Reports National Research Center asked a representative U.S. sample of more than 1,800 people what they gave last holiday season. The December issue of Consumer Reports, on sale November 6, offers more results and helpful advice for holiday tipping. Nearly half of respondents tipped their housekeeper in cash or cash substitutes. Respondents tended to thank their hairdresser, barber, manicurist/pedicurist, and newspaper carrier with cash or cash substitutes more than others on the list. On average, housekeepers/cleaners and child-care providers received tips of greater value than others, the average tip values being $50 and $40 respectively. Those who worked with children were more likely to receive actual presents than others on the list. While their child's teacher was among the most tipped last season by respondents (59%), only 20 percent of respondents gave teachers cash or a cash substitute. School-bus drivers and child-care providers were also more likely than others on the list to receive an actual present. CR's advice for tipping etiquette: How much should you tip? Where you live can affect how much you tip. According to experts, folks in the Northeast are the biggest tippers; Southerners tended to tip the least. But tips in the South are often accompanied by or even replaced by a homemade gift. Despite the regional variations, Consumer Reports offers general advice for folks looking to express their gratitude this holiday season: -- When in doubt: Match one week/session. If the person is not on our list and provides service weekly, give the equivalent of one week's pay. For instance, if your dog walker charges $75 a week, give her a $75 tip. If your guitar teacher charges $50 a lesson, consider $50 or a present of similar value. -- Use gift cards with care. The cards are popular as tips because they are widely available and are graceful proxies for cash. However, gift cards often go unclaimed and CR warns consumers to stay away from the bank-issued variety, which often have fees and expiration dates. -- Know the boss's rules. Mail carriers aren't supposed to accept cash or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash. They can accept non-cash gifts worth $20 or less. For teachers, check with your school district's office or parent-teacher association. Giving cash to a teacher might be seen as a bribe. Instead, try movie-ticket coupons or join with other parents to buy a gift certificate for a local shop. -- Keep it crisp. If you're giving cash, try to get to the bank for fresh new bills. A thank-you note goes a long way, too. More information on holiday tipping and helpful advice can be found in the December 2007 issue of Consumer Reports, available wherever magazines are sold. Portions of the report will be available on http://www.ConsumerReports.org. DECEMBER 2007 The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports(R) is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To achieve this mission, we test, inform, and protect. To maintain our independence and impartiality, Consumers Union accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of consumers. Consumers Union supports itself through the sale of our information products and services, individual contributions, and a few noncommercial grants.
SOURCE Consumer Reports