The Annual Money Hemorrhage

It was painful handing out $800 in Christmas tips to my building staff and cleaning lady, especially when about 2/3 of them make more than I do even without tips and have great union benefits on top that. But I work from home and bend the “no short term subletting” rule rather a lot, so suck it up I must. And to be fair, the staff in my building is truly excellent (I’ve been to lots of doorman buildings, and they can be a weird bunch). It’s just that I would rather go out and give 8 poor families a great Christmas with that money, because apparently I’ve become a real softie in the past year.

I’m typing this as I wait for one of those families to return for “round 2” of not-so-Secret Santa giving.  I’ve filled two large Toys-R-Us bags with all kinds of goodies, including some of the weird sensible stuff my mom always puts in our stocking because we laugh and know we’ll use it. Like there’s a little package of cold/cough medicines (quote from Mom: “Nobody likes spending money on that stuff and waits until they need it, which means full price”), another one of toothpaste and toothbrushes, and a kitchen care package of sponges, a dishtowel, potscrubbers and Palmolive. I figure if four people are living on $240/month, they probably don’t refresh these things as often as they should.

And should you feel so inclined, check out my recent attempt at a Random Act of Kindness. It was…interesting.

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