Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Other/general
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 16.02.2015, 11:47
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Zürich
Posts: 16
Groaned at 2 Times in 1 Post
Thanked 17 Times in 9 Posts
SofiaN has no particular reputation at present
Gratuity etiquette

Hello all, I was hoping some Swiss, or someone living here long enough to almost be one, to help me with a little dilemma.

I have been receiving by post some boxes full of books, which weigh around 4kg each, and will keep receiving them for some time still (parents are mailing me my preciouses). My postman comes in the mornings when I am already gone for work, so I am not able to receive them. However, he is kind enough to bring these heavy boxes down the stairs to my door, instead of taking them back and leaving a note, or even leaving them by the common building entrance.
I am extremely grateful for this, and I would like to show him my appreciation, as I think that he is going beyond his duty and saving me worries and hassle.

So, I would like to leave him a gratuity and a small thank you gift. Now, as I mentioned, I am no longer home when he comes by, so I can't do it in person. Normally, I would leave an envelope stuck to my door with something like "Dear Mr. Postman" in big letters, but I don't know how is the etiquette around here. Are public workers even allowed to take small gifts?

The other question is what to give, or how much. A card, for sure, and I would usually give a chocolate and some money as a tip, but, again, I have no clue of what is acceptable here. Let's say 50 francs. Is that enough to show appreciation for a guy who is spending about 4 months basically carrying 8kg of my stuff per week down a flight of stairs? Or is it insulting that I should even be offering him a tip at all for doing his job (although way beyond his basic duty)?

Thanks a million!
Reply With Quote
The following 5 users would like to thank SofiaN for this useful post:
  #2  
Old 16.02.2015, 12:14
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SZ
Posts: 8,001
Groaned at 18 Times in 17 Posts
Thanked 17,208 Times in 5,558 Posts
meloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gratuity etiquette

I'd be careful here, and run this by one of your Swiss neighbors. Ask what he or she would do, explain that this would be a normal way to thank someone in your country, but that you don't know what is expected or appreciated here.

The reason I suggest that is that 'norms' vary all over Switzerland - so what is right in my neighborhood in SZ might be different in yours.

(Here giving a gratuity to someone outside the gastro or hospitality business would definitely be considered an insult, as if you saw yourself better than that person, belittling the dignity of his job. But then, we are very proud egalitarian Schwyzers - YMMV.)

That said:

Switzerland is not a tipping society - and giving a monetary gift runs the risk of being construed as patronizing, even insulting.

The norm in my area is to give a gift at Christmastime, something small and not money. A bottle of wine, chocolates are good 'neutral' gifts but if you know the person something more personal is appreciated.

For instance, the postman and I often chat about gardening and he knows that I make jam from my own fruit. So I give him a selection of my own jams.

Gift giving outside the holidays is best done with a thank you card, in response to a specific event.


But again - I'm not Swiss, and thus even after all these years still worry about putting a foot wrong, misconstruing the subtleties. So to be sure, ask your Swiss neighbors for advice.
Reply With Quote
The following 5 users would like to thank meloncollie for this useful post:
  #3  
Old 16.02.2015, 12:21
Belgianmum's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Was Belgium now Neuchâtel
Posts: 8,900
Groaned at 63 Times in 60 Posts
Thanked 11,474 Times in 5,374 Posts
Belgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gratuity etiquette

Personally I would just stick a envelope addressed to the post man on the outside of your post box or your front door with a thank you card or note inside.
Tell him/her how much you appreciate his kindness in bringing your parcels all the way to your front door and leaving them there. He will probably be really touched by your gesture.

To be honest he would normally have to bring the parcels to your door to deliver them as part of his job and leaving them there actually saves him the bother of having to carry them back to his van and leave you a yellow slip in your post box.
Reply With Quote
The following 5 users would like to thank Belgianmum for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 16.02.2015, 12:27
gata's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Geneva
Posts: 3,578
Groaned at 74 Times in 54 Posts
Thanked 3,191 Times in 1,519 Posts
gata has a reputation beyond reputegata has a reputation beyond reputegata has a reputation beyond reputegata has a reputation beyond reputegata has a reputation beyond reputegata has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gratuity etiquette

Quote:
View Post
Personally I would just stick a envelope addressed to the post man on the outside of your post box or your front door with a thank you card or note inside.
Tell him/her how much you appreciate his kindness in bringing your parcels all the way to your front door and leaving them there. He will probably be really touched by your gesture.

To be honest he would normally have to bring the parcels to your door to deliver them as part of his job and leaving them there actually saves him the bother of having to carry them back to his van and leave you a yellow slip in your post box.
That and a box of chocolates
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank gata for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 16.02.2015, 12:38
Phos's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: ZRH
Posts: 7,245
Groaned at 494 Times in 376 Posts
Thanked 9,815 Times in 5,202 Posts
Phos has a reputation beyond reputePhos has a reputation beyond reputePhos has a reputation beyond reputePhos has a reputation beyond reputePhos has a reputation beyond reputePhos has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gratuity etiquette

I think cash would be conspicuous, and can set a bad precedence. Chocolate or a bottle of wine would go over just fine.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Phos for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 16.02.2015, 17:07
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Zürich
Posts: 16
Groaned at 2 Times in 1 Post
Thanked 17 Times in 9 Posts
SofiaN has no particular reputation at present
Re: Gratuity etiquette

Thank you all, you have been very helpful!

Thank you for the suggestion of asking my neighbours, it really was silly of me to not even think of it. I'm taking you all up on your advice, and stick to the thank you card and box of chocolates, as it seems more innocuous. But just in case, I'll run it by one of my neighbours first.

(As for the box delivery: in my small home town, postal workers drive around on scooters with those little trunks and saddlebags, which means that parcels that are voluminous or heavy are not delivered to your post box, you get instead the paper slip to pick it up. Since I've seen the local ZH post driving around in their scooters - even though with a small trailer - I thought they might do the same to save space.)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 16.02.2015, 17:27
Phil_MCR's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Basel
Posts: 11,838
Groaned at 252 Times in 163 Posts
Thanked 13,958 Times in 5,902 Posts
Phil_MCR has a reputation beyond reputePhil_MCR has a reputation beyond reputePhil_MCR has a reputation beyond reputePhil_MCR has a reputation beyond reputePhil_MCR has a reputation beyond reputePhil_MCR has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gratuity etiquette

Personally, if the postman has been doing it, I would leave things and give a generous gift for Xmas.

If you give a gift suggesting he is doing more than what is his job, you could open a whole new can of worms.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Phil_MCR for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 16.02.2015, 18:55
neddy's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Geneva
Posts: 1,511
Groaned at 22 Times in 16 Posts
Thanked 1,961 Times in 836 Posts
neddy has a reputation beyond reputeneddy has a reputation beyond reputeneddy has a reputation beyond reputeneddy has a reputation beyond reputeneddy has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gratuity etiquette

I wouldn't stick anything to your door unless you want to tell burglars you are out. I would arrange with a neighbor who is in when the postman comes round to pop out with a present from you & tell him you appreciate his work. My postman happily went off with some tomato plants one year. He was lovely but seems to have been replaced by a young man who thinks the mailbox is a tardis & crams big parcels into a little space instead of taking 3 seconds to ring my doorbell.
A bottle of local wine from your region with an envelope containing a bit of pocket money or a shop voucher should go down well.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 16.02.2015, 21:35
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: California
Posts: 565
Groaned at 25 Times in 13 Posts
Thanked 587 Times in 258 Posts
SwissPete is considered knowledgeableSwissPete is considered knowledgeableSwissPete is considered knowledgeable
Re: Gratuity etiquette

Waiting until Christmas to do anything may be fine, but by then the mail carrier may no longer be working that "beat". So do it now!
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank SwissPete for this useful post:
  #10  
Old 17.02.2015, 19:18
CB1 CB1 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Zurich
Posts: 165
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 65 Times in 36 Posts
CB1 has earned some respectCB1 has earned some respect
Re: Gratuity etiquette

Are you sure it is your mailman? I ask because mailmen ride motorbikes and deliver letters or very small packages. Larger Packages tend to come by van driven by another mail person and not the normal mailman. If it is coming via post van the person may change frequently and not be the same person each time. Also, unless your package requires a signature it is normal for it to be left at your door.

I think it is great that you want to thank the person who is doing this. But I think it might just be that your packages can and should be left and when the delivery person can get into the building they almost always take the package to the door. You may also have a nice neighbour who picks up the package at the mailbox and brings it to your door, that often happens at my place.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank CB1 for this useful post:
  #11  
Old 17.02.2015, 20:49
lost_inbroad's Avatar
Unbridled Mod
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Town or region
Posts: 10,656
Groaned at 606 Times in 392 Posts
Thanked 13,968 Times in 5,513 Posts
lost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond reputelost_inbroad has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Gratuity etiquette

Nonsense, next time you get paid, walk into the local post-office with a roll of beaners and start giving it away like candy. All this chocolates and cards remind me too much of that dreaded V-Day...ugh!
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cat etiquette? BrianClose Daily life 42 28.04.2014 16:57
Swiss etiquette HannibalBarca Other/general 2 03.03.2014 21:46
Dog etiquette ruthanella Pet corner 27 08.07.2011 11:18
Restaurant etiquette...... lkenny Daily life 9 15.09.2009 21:40
Tram etiquette ALT_F4 Complaints corner 48 06.08.2009 10:06


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 14:20.

Comparis

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0