If you shop online as much as I do, your delivery people and mail carrier earn their paychecks. Nearly every day, one or more of the trucks drives down my driveway to bring a package or a stack of mail to the porch. I “blame” Amazon for splitting orders into multiple shipments, but really it’s because I prefer online shopping to taking my young kids to the store.
I decided that I wanted to do something for the USPS, UPS, and Fed Ex drivers who come to our house, but I rarely encounter them face-to-face, so I’m not sure who my regular drivers are versus the seasonal drivers. I’d hate to give a gift to a driver who is just filling in, and unknowingly miss giving one to my regular delivery person or mail carrier.
I especially appreciate my deliver people because they actually DO NOT knock unless signature is needed. With a dog who thinks she’s a guard dog, and 2 young kids at home, a knock on the door causes chaos. We also have a Ring doorbell, so I know when they drop something off anyway, whether I’m home or not (and could even speak to them through it, if needed).
When I saw a shared photo on Facebook about leaving a snack basket for the drivers, I decided that it was a great way to reach all of the drivers throughout the season. They are working long hours every day (even Sundays), and I wanted to show my appreciation and give them a snack or two each day to enjoy. I try to include a variety of options to account for nutrition preferences. I switch up the snacks each day or two when I top it off, so I thought I’d share the hits and misses of what they seem to prefer.
- Snack cakes such as Little Debbie Cakes – definitely the favorite
- Bags of pretzel sticks and chips
- Bags of peanuts
- Chocolate Chip granola bars
- Water – either because it’s freezing out (therefore the water is so cold), or they already have their drinks, no one took a bottle of water last year
- Cheese sticks – I know I’d grab a cheese stick from a basket like this, but they didn’t
- Apples – I thought I should offer a healthy option, so I added 2 washed apples to the basket, but I finally took them out after a few days of no interest.
Other options I intend to pick up this year
- Small packs of gum or mints
- Mini candy bars or other candy
- packs of peanut butter or cheese crackers
If you’re planning to give your drivers a gift personally, some popular options are small gift cards (coffee shops, fast food, etc), cash (acceptable limits below), small box of chocolates or baggie of wrapped Christmas candy, cookies (though I’d suggest pre-wrapped or bakery versus homemade, as I never know if people eat food gifts from strangers – I wouldn’t), movie tickets, small fruit basket (you can DIY this), food gifts such as gourmet cocoa mix, tea, honey, candies, bag of coffee, sauces, etc. If you know know your carrier personally, feel free to give them something that suits their tastes according to what you know about them. Just be aware that you may catch a sub or seasonal driver any given day through the holidays, and some delivery services have 2 drivers per truck through the holidays.
Gift Rules for Mail Carriers and Delivery Drivers
Each delivery service has rules for their employees on what types of gifts they are allowed to accept. Here are the details via HuffPost Holiday Etiquette.
USPS: According to a representative from the USPS Ethics Council, “Letter Carriers are prohibited from accepting cash or a cash equivalent such as a Visa or Master Card gift card from Postal Service customers.” You may give a gift to a Letter Carrier valued at $20 or less or a gift card to a specific retail venue valued at $20 or less, as long as the aggregate value of gifts that you gave to the Letter Carrier do not exceed $50 in a calendar year.
Fed Ex: “Gifts of cash or cash equivalents such as gift cards or gift certificates must never be accepted. Employees are allowed to except a nominal gift valued at up to $75, no cash.” – Steve Barber, FedEx Global Communications
UPS: “At UPS we train our drivers to politely decline tips, however, when a customer insists, we allow our folks to accept nominal gratuities. We do not suggest an amount or range for monetary gratuities. Our drivers do receive heartfelt and sincere gifts of baked goods, knitted items and even invitations to holiday parties. Ultimately we let them use their own judgment about whether or not to accept or decline a gift.” – Justin Luther, UPS Public Relations
Do you have to tip or gift? Absolutely not. As with all other gifting situations, you should only gift what you can easily afford, and if you wish to express your gratitude or friendship in that way. A handwritten note or card is also perfectly acceptable for any gracious gift receiver.
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