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Gifting Ideas

 

It's easy for us to get wrapped up in our worlds and in our own circle of friends. It can be difficult to shop for people of other ages or other cultures when we are out of touch with their day to day lives.

It's also challenging to shop for a cousin or family member you haven't seen in awhile (not knowing what they look like or what their interests are).

Sometimes a gift certificate can do much more than just say 'thanks' to certain people. It can be momentum that keeps a good thing going. For instance you're your hairstylist is dynamite, and her appointments book fast; you may want to let her know how much you value her talents.

Key people in your life can offer much more than just a standard service. They give big smiles and provide great conversation. They actually can affect how your day is going!

Here are some surefire ways to keep people happy in those situations you might wonder about:

 
Daily Tipping Guidelines for Service people
Taxi driver: Meter rate + 15% tip is standard in U.S.
Hairstylist: Service total + 15%-20% tip, shampoo person gets $3
Barista: Price of coffee ONLY or extra change
Valet: $1-$5 (on sliding Honda - BMW scale)
Bellman: $1-$2 per piece of luggage (more in luxury hotels)
Restaurant server: Tab total + 15% gratuity (in some states, tip is equal to double the sales tax)
Bartender: 10%-15% of your total drink bill
Pizza delivery: 15%-20% - Believe it or not - the Government considers this a very high risk job
Nail technician: 10%-15% of service total for manicures and pedicures
Coat check person: $1-$2 per jacket, $1 per additional item (umbrella, handbag, etc)

You can set yourself apart as a fabulous client by giving a great experience. A monetary tip can be put towards their bills but a gift certificate guarantees them a personal and rewarding experience.

 
Gift Ideas
Service individuals
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Spa trip for a massage or facial
  • Cosmetics
  • Fun night out at a restaurant
  • Books
  • Home movies to unwind
  • Bottle of wine
  • Gourmet edibles
  • Coffee mugs

Distant Relative or Friend

  • Decorations for the home if you have a generic idea of their style
  • Cooking utensils
  • Books and magazines
  • CD's
  • Electronics (TV, audio equipment, etc)
  • Night out at restaurant if you know which one is near
  • Local sports team gear (or gear from your hometown!)

Teenagers

  • Active wear clothing
  • CD's and DVD's
  • Electronic gadgets
  • Cosmetics
  • Movie Theater passes
  • Day pass at a theme park
  • Athletic gear
  • Software
  • Phone card (long distance minutes)
  • Bedroom decorations
  • Home movies to watch their favorite heroes and Hollywood types

The Elderly

  • Cooking supplies
  • Home décor and home improvement gifts
  • Auto parts
  • Travel weekend at hotel or resort in warm climate
  • Vitamins and herbal supplements
  • Knitting or craft supplies
  • DVD player
  • Cruise
  • Fishing equipment
  • Motor home dialogue journals
  • Traditional jewelry
  • Sweaters or blankets
  • Card games
Gift Certificate Ideas
For Service individuals
  • Hairstylists usually like clothes and makeup as well as hair products. They'd be excited to get a gift certificate for Bloomingdale's or Sephora.com.
  • Your favorite valet guy would love a gift certificate to ExpressAutoParts.com to fix up his own ride.
  • You may actually like the service in a restaurant better than the food. Your favorite server will appreciate a gift certificate to Shoebuy.com to keep him moving and to help keep the tips flowing in.

For Others in Your Life

  • Your Grandparents will appreciate a gift certificate to Amazon.com so they can read up on politics, environmental issues or anything else of interest.
  • Your teenage babysitter down the street will love a gift certificate to CDUniverse.com
  • Your cousin in Nebraska will appreciate a gift certificate to The Sharper Image to keep his office looking interesting.
Frequently Asked Questions

My hairstylist has become like a therapist in some ways. It's her birthday and I want to get her something. I don't want her to get the wrong idea though. What would you suggest?
This often happens when some form of physical contact is involved even if it's part of the job. It prompts us as customers to open up in a way we might not normally with just anyone. You may have gotten to know a thing or two about her interests outside of hair. Simply say, "Happy Birthday and thanks for listening to all of my concerns. Here's something for you." Tailor the gift to fit something she has expressed interest in.

I have not seen or spoken to my cousin in years. We used to be close but now I have NO idea what interests him. He's coming to town and staying with me on his Birthday. What should I give him?
Extending your home is a wonderful gift. If you want to go the extra mile, you could offer to take him to a local restaurant and pay for the tab. That's a warm birthday sentiment and a great way to show your cousin the town in which you live. If you give him a gift certificate - it's a great way for him to get what he wants, and for the two of you to spend time shopping for the perfect present together.

My younger teenage brother had an obsession with sports then moved on to rock music. Just when I think I know what band he likes- he's into someone new. I can't keep track of the clothing trends. What kind of gift do you buy for someone like this?
Your brother sounds like a normal teenager. Teenagers pick up on trends and the trends are constantly evolving. The best kind of gift is one that gives them free range of choice like a gift certificate to buy CD's or a DVD of his favorite band live in concert. If you aren't sure of the piece of clothing he'll like, but you know he prefers a certain store - see if you can get him a gift certificate to shop for whatever jacket or t-shirt fits his individual style of the moment.

I eat at one particular restaurant all the time. I've gotten to know the bartender and server there quite well. Is it ever OK to give them a gift instead of an actual tip?
Keep in mind that people who work for tips REALLY work for tips. It's their main means for paying their bills. If you know that they really have their eye on something but they say they feel guilty buying it - maybe you can allot part of the tip towards the gift with an explanation. Always try to at least pay the minimum percentage on the tab - keep in mind they must claim a percentage for tax purposes.

 
 
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