“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Today, perhaps this motto should include plague and politics! Seriously though, I know a bunch of people who would not have survived the last two years without delivery people, be they the US mail, Amazon, UPS, FedEx, or grocery delivery.
Officially, February 4th is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day, but I don’t see why we couldn’t expand that to include all delivery people. (And I don’t mean that as a slight to letter carriers—my dad actually just recently retired from the US Postal Service, so I personally love mailmen!)
If you have delivery people in your life—and I can’t imagine that you don’t—there are a number of ways you can show your appreciation for them. Easiest, of course, is simply to catch them doing their jobs and tell them “thank you.”
If you want to thank your drivers in another way though, please heed these rules set forth by different organizations (per the HuffPost Holiday Etiquette Guide):
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 does 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 accept 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.
Ideas for acceptable ways to thank your drivers:
- Have your kids make hand-drawn thank you cards. I’m always a proponent of having kids make gifts because it works on fine motor skills, spelling, creativity, and social skills! Leave the cards in the mailbox with the flag up for the mail carrier, or taped to the front door and labeled clearly for other drivers if you don’t think you will see them in person to hand-deliver them.
- Leave a basket of goodies by your front door with a sign letting drivers know they are for them to grab. According to various sources, the preferred snacks include granola or protein bars, chips/pretzels, and snack cakes (like Little Debbie).
- Decorate your mailbox with a sign, balloons, or streamers, professing your appreciation for your letter carrier. Just be sure not to obscure the address or make it difficult for the letter carrier to access or open your mailbox.
- Since Mail Carrier Appreciation Day is during such a cold time of year, perhaps a small gift card to a coffee shop or some packets of hot chocolate would be appreciated.
Here are a few other ideas I shared previously. I’m sure your drivers will be appreciative of anything you do to show your gratitude. With that in mind, here are a few DON’Ts:
- Don’t give something you can’t afford to give out of a feeling of obligation. This is a gift, not a debt.
- Opt for store-bought over homemade, especially in the midst of this pandemic. People aren’t as likely to eat goods made by strangers.
- Don’t leave anything out that may expire, spoil, etc.
What ideas do you have for showing your letter carrier and other delivery drivers how much you appreciate them?