Ann Marie Sabath thought she had a great relationship with one of the
doormen in her West 57th Street condo – that is, until she
under-tipped him last Christmas.
change in his attitude toward Sabath – who considered him “one of my
favorites” – wasn’t immediate; she didn’t suspect anything was wrong until
over six months later, when she pulled up in front of her building and he
refused to help unload her car (technically not in his job description
that’s when it hit her: He was exacting revenge for Sabath’s stingy
tipping you do during the holidays will make your life pleasant or make it
hell,” says Sabath, author of books about business etiquette. “Our
reputations precede us by what we give.”
according to former doormen who spoke to The Post, she’s not paranoid – in
fact, she could’ve had it much worse.
doormen get stiffed, they secretly keep a list – who gave, who didn’t, how
much,” says Peter Grech, resident manager of Turtle Bay Towers and
president of the Superintendent’s Technical Association.
Revenge, Grech says, usually kicks in by late January: “Doormen will give
tenants every opportunity,” he says. “There are some people – oh, this is
one of my favorites: ‘I’ll catch you later!” A doorman would rather you
say, ‘Look, I’ve got hard times right now, here’s a plate of cookies.’”
cheapskates and misers, he says, can expect the following:
will ‘temporarily’ be misplaced, maybe holding up your housekeeper an hour
so she can’t get in. Sending packages back. Dry cleaning tags will
mysteriously fall off. If two tenants stiffed, you’ll mix up their dry
cleaning. If someone says, ‘I need a favor,’ you ignore it.”
worst offenders, he says, get “Krazy Glue in their locks.”
think that sounds cruel, stories from the other side of the door are just
as callous. Michael Morris, president of Concierge Service International,
recalls the time that a building resident wrote out checks for all of the
doormen – only to have all of the checks bounce.
must have known they would bounce, but he never mentioned it again.”
tenant worked for a large clothing company. In lieu of a holiday tip, he
announced that he would be giving the doormen nice clothing from his
company. Sure enough, he showed up a few days later – with a pile of
irregular clothing in tow, sizes small and medium.
didn’t fit any of the guys,” laughs Morris. “That said, most people
recognize that tipping is something you need to do.”
Grech insists that a code of honor does prevail – doormen don’t expect
lavishly tips just for doing their job. They never expect tips from the
elderly. But if there’s a doorman in your building who routinely goes
above and beyond for you throughout the year, you owe.
“Sometimes a doorman’s job is practically being a secretary, especially if
a tenant’s running a small business out of his apartment,” he says.
main targets, unsurprisingly, are the rich.
people who are wealthy, the doormen ill get back at then,” Grech says.
“When doormen get a $5 tip, they’ll send it back. Sometimes they’ll send
it back with another dollar and say, ‘Here, you need this more than I
New York holiday cheer, says Grech, a good chunk of those wealthy tenants
will snort, “Good!” and never tip again. (Some, he adds, do feel bad and
send back a proper amount.)
time of year tends to cause madness – and anxiety – inside of
“There’s almost a feeling [among doormen] – it starts around Dec. 1 and
gets a little crazier, then peaks from the 15th to the end of
the month – it’s a drug, says Peter Roach, resident manager at La
Residence condo on the Upper East Side.
money that’s flying around affects the personalities of the guys,” he
continues. “it’s no different than an anesthesiologist shooting them full
of drugs or dopamine. I’ve seen the nastiest doorman on the Upper East
Side suddenly walking around whistling ‘Silver Bells.’”
Grech, however, Roach firmly believe there’s never an excuse for exacting
revenge on a tenant – no matter how rich, cheap or miserable he or she may
be throughout the year.
can’t have doormen going to war over a few dollars,” he says. “You have to
get over it. You still get a paycheck. And the money that they’re getting
overshadows the deadbeats – especially because there are people who double
their tips,” he says.
at least one tenant, namely author Sabath – the revenge strategy worked.
about it: A $100 top – it’s a matter of going to one less play a year,”
she says, sounding a bit like a Sally Struthers voice-over in a
I feel like, can I afford a little bit more? Of course I can!” she says.
“My level of awareness is raised! I never realized it was that big of a