To Give A Gift Or Not?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-21-2003
To Give A Gift Or Not?
Mon, 12-10-2012 - 11:23am


I was just looking for some advice on gift giving and couldn't find another board that really fit the topic. The situation is the following: 

My husband and I visit our local Dunkin Donuts for coffee several times a week. There is one particular girl who works there who waits on us a lot. I'll call her B. B has been helping us for about 3 years now. She regularly gives us frequent buyer cards, the kind where they punch it for you each visit and eventually you get a free item. No one else ever gave us these cards even though everyone there knows we come through constantly, so we appreciated that because we end up with free coffee. B often hands us several cards at once and occasionally punches all the spots ahead of time so we get several free coffees ahead without having to build up the punches. I know this all sounds silly but we really appreciate it. 

Anyway, the reason I am posting is because my husband and I wanted to express our gratitude by giving her a gift card at Christmas to say thank you. The problem is that we don't really know B, certainly not outside of her work. I wanted to give an Amex gift card so she could use it for what ever she wanted but I guess that comes across almost like giving cash. The thing is, we don't know if giving the card comes across as weird or creepy. We also don't know if we should just give it with a card and say Merry Christmas and leave it at that or should we say Thanks for all the free coffees? Smile We want to be careful about how we present it. I used to work at a coffee shop identicle to Dunkin when I was in highscool and college. I had regular customers that I liked and went out of the way for. If one of them had ever given me a giftcard for Christmas I would have been thrilled and I wouldn't have thought anything werid about it. B is in college so probably can appreciate the money even more. What do you think? Do you think the card is appropriate? How do you think we should present it? It would be inside a Christmas card but what do you think we should say/write? I wanted to give $50 because we go through there so often...about 3-5 times a week. I'd really appreciate any thoughts you have so as how to come off as giving with good intentions and not have any creepy factor lol. Thanks.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Tue, 12-18-2012 - 9:12am

I frequently give gifts to the baristas at my local coffee shop.  One just graduated from nursing school and got a job as a visiting nurse.  I made her a tote bag out of a fabric that had pictures of nurses all over it.  I thought it would be good for carrying her paraphernalia to client's homes.  I made a photo album for another gal when she got married...I did the layouts and she'll add the photos.  I crocheted some pumpkins this fall that turned out way cuter than I'd expected them to, and gave a set of them to the coffee stand for their fall decor.  They still comment on how much they liked them.  And, I always tip them well because they do a really good job and it's a pleasant experience for me to buy my coffees there.  I've given flowers lots of times to this barista or that one because they've told me about a special event in their lives that I thought deserved a little gift. 

I just hand them their gift after they collect my money and hand me my coffee. 

I, too, think $50 is a ittle excessive.  I can't explain why...maybe because I wonder if that much might make her uncomfortable.  It just feels maybe awkward to me.  I'd go with $25 instead if you're giving cash or a gift card.  Of course, this assumes you're not uber rich...but then if you were, $50 might seem cheap!  LOL!

I think a nice note about her to her boss about how terrific her service is, her great attitude, etc. with a cc to her would be a nice idea along with whatever gift you decide to give her.  (I also agree not to mention the free punches she gives you because some bosses might find that unacceptable.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2009
Sat, 12-15-2012 - 3:27pm

In the spirit of giving, I don’t feel that one should go thru so much anxiety/inner turmoil.  If you like the person and want to give a gift, then do so; if not – don’t.  I also think $50 is way too excessive.  A $10 hand lotion or shower gel and a card would be fine.  Clearly others disagree, but that’s my honest opinion.


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2011
Tue, 12-11-2012 - 5:42pm

I think you're perfectly in bounds to give $50 in cash. You can keep the message simple by writing "Happy Holidays" without getting too specific - surely she'll know that you're in there all the time and appreciate the unwritten part of the message.

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Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 12-10-2012 - 9:32pm

I agree with Ladybookworm, both with how you present the gift and what giftcard you give her. While I don't think giving cash would be seen as weird or creepy, not all merchants accept Amex so it wouldn't be quite the same as cash. I'm sure that she will appreciate that you acknowledge her good service (but probably better that you don't state anything about her allowing you to earn the free coffees in case her boss gets wind of it). Its kind of like a holiday tip for the doorman or anybody who provides a service for you throughout the year, but I'll bet B will not be expecting it and will be delighted.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Mon, 12-10-2012 - 1:23pm

I think it is absolutely wonderful that you want to appreciate someone who regularly provides outstanding service for you.  Here's what I would do in your position.  I would get a nice holiday card and write a note in it saying something like "Thank you for always going above and beyond to make us feel welcome and appreciated.  Your outstanding service truly means a lot to us, please enjoy this small token of our gratitude."  Then I would enclose a gift card to a place like Target or Amazon.

Why Target or Amazon?  Because it doesn't come off like cash the way an amex or visa card would, and because you don't know her very well she'll have a large variety of items to choose from whether she needs something for school, home, or just fun.

I also don't think $50 is too much.  You and your husband are there a few times a week and have been long term customers.  There is nothing wrong with you choosing to be generous to someone who you feel deserves so much more than a thank you card.

As far as how to give it to her?  I would wait til just before the holiday and go in on a regular visit.  Then after you've been served/settled your bill and are heading out, hand it to her saying you wanted to spread some holiday cheer and thank her in person for doing a job well done.  Then wish her happy holidays and be on your way.  I think if you stand around waiting for her to open it then it'd be weird and she may prefer to open it later.

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