Q: I have a long list of vacation tips to share this year: to my doorman, handyman, super, nanny, housekeeper, and others. I usually give cash and a greeting card, but this year would it be okay to tip using Venmo or some other digital platform instead? It's awkward to hand out cards when we're supposed to be socially distant, but sending a gift through Venmo feels sticky and impersonal. How do I handle it tastefully?
A: There's no shame in tipping digitally. Your recipients would probably appreciate the contactless option in a year where we all do our best to keep our distance.
"Right now a lot of us should be thinking about it," said Elaine Swann, etiquette expert and spokeswoman for cell, a money transfer app. "It protects us and we don't put the other person in an awkward position."
Ms. Swann suggests that if you know the recipient's contact information and can find their accounts through an app, you first send the money without warning and then send a note, phone call or email to wish them well and tell him to keep a lookout for a digital gift. "There's nothing wrong with that," she said.
If you don't know which platform your recipient prefers, or want to confirm that you are actually sending money to the right person, ask. Tell them there is a gift coming their way and you will want to know how they prefer digital deposits. Few of us would retreat to the news that we were receiving a gift.
AKAM, which manages residential real estate in New York, has encouraged residents to tip digitally when they inquire about it. "People love taking gifts on Venmo," said Vishal Kaura, AKAM's senior director of world class hospitality training and development. The method is more popular in newer buildings in neighborhoods like Williamsburg and TriBeCa, where residents tend to be younger.
Will this be the new normal? Mr Kaura suspects that after the pandemic ends, many people will return to cash tipping, but not all. "Gen Z loves to do everything digitally," he said. "In the future, the younger generations could do this digitally."
Those little envelopes of money could be a thing of the past.
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