, Salem, MA


August 12, 2009

Nice gesture to offer the plumber a drink

Q: Over the course of the past month, I have had furniture movers, a piano tuner and a plumber in my house. Should I be offering them something to drink? I usually tip the movers. Should I also tip the plumber or the piano tuner? When people come to my house to move and/or fix things, should I be treating them as guests? I don't want to be too chatty, but I also do not want to seem aloof or rude.

A: While you are not entertaining these service professionals, they are guests in your home. As a general guideline, when someone is in your home for a half-hour or more, you should offer them something to drink, nonalcoholic, of course! A glass of water, a cup of coffee or soft drinks are all appropriate. For full-day events, such as moving from or to a new home, it is generous to offer a simple lunch such as pizza or subs. While not obligatory, this gesture can help to generate additional goodwill. Generally, piano tuners, plumbers, electricians and other skilled trades are not tipped. Movers are tipped based upon the amount of time, amount of care and number of stairs!

Q: My baby shower for my first child was last week. It was a wonderful event, and I feel so lucky to have so many family and friends who clearly care about me. As I was opening the gifts, I was surprised to see that many of the guests opted to purchase things that were not on the registry. This in and of itself is fine. I understand that registries are only suggestions. But I am planning to raise my baby in a nonchemical home. We are opting for organic whenever possible. Many of the gifts were plastic or simply something we do not want in our home. Do I call the guests to find out where the gift is from? Can I return things? And most of all, what do I do when the auntie comes to my house and does not see the item she gave at the shower?!?

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