Archive for the ‘Personal Services’ Category

Tipping for Delivery

tipping-table-money.jpgJosh’s post made me consider tipping in NY and what is fair. I have had many personal service jobs in my life, and so I feel I have some unique perspective about tipping for things and what is fair. When I was a valet parker in high school, my boss used to make a comment about how while everything else in the world inflated from 1960-2000, somehow, tipping for parking was still a $1 standard. I always make sure to tip between $2 and $5 depending on the place and weather. Then, as a concierge, it was erratic. The more rich the person looked, the less they tipped. That was the standard.

Once I moved up in the world and became a waiter in college, I was continually disappointed about how shitty tips were, generally speaking. So, I think that as a respected voice in NYC, we should set the standards. Please see my suggestions below and let me know what you think is a fair tip for each service:

Waiter/Waitress: 17% before tip
Bartender: $1 per drink
Delivery Person: $2 (total bill under $20), $3 (bill is $21-$40), $4 (bill is $41-60) $5 ($61+)
Valet: $2 minimum, then base any addition on friendliness and quality of service
Hair Dresser: 20% of total bill
Taxi Drivers: $1 if he sucks and/or the cab smells like shit, $2 if I don’t feel like he wants to kill me, $3 for great service

Tipping Tips:
– In a parking garage, tip the attendant BEFORE you leave, and tell him you will get him again when you get back. This will get you much better service.
– In any tipping situation, it is a bad idea to pull out a wad of cash and then give someone one or two bills. Have the tip ready before hand, otherwise no matter what you give, it will seem cheap.
– At a bar, if you plan to be drinking the whole night, give the bartender a nice tip early on and make sure he knows who gave it to him and who is in your party. Subtract against that for the rest of the night.

What tipping ideas or standards do you use?

External Links:
New York Magazine
The NYC Insider
Fodor’s
FindALink.net
HowStuffWorks

[Photo courtesy HowStuffWorks]

Fix Me Speedy!!!

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Did anyone see Daily Candy today?
Well, they plugged SpeedyFixIt – aka Seth Rosenberg. The man to call when you need home/apartment repairs.

Perfect for someone like me who every ONCE in a while can’t fix something myself. Yes, I know, that’s what my super is for, but I know that my super has his limits. SpeedyFixIt will paint a room, assemble furniture, add shelving, reconfigure a closet… more than I know my super will EVER do. Besides, after having the same leak in my bathroom for the 8th time (along with countless other issues), I think it’s best to just work with someone else.

SpeedyFix it has a background in fine arts, set construction, culinary arts, and architectural fabrication including metal sculpture and blacksmithing. Just THINK of all the crazy things you can have him do to your apartment! The plans in my head have already started.

One thing though – he only works in Manhattan.
Check out his site for more info.

Going Green in NYC – Green Power Solutions

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent the last few years thinking about reducing my impact to the environment and trying in small ways here and there to make a difference whenever possible. During our home renovations we spent a lot of time researching the right time of insulation, windows and building materials to keep heat/AC in and the elements out. We suspect this will help with our energy bills tremendously and anything that helps my wallet and the environment at the same time is good in my book.

We also got a lot of our building supplies from the Queens based Build It Green! NYC, a huge warehouse full of donated and used building supplies available at a fraction of their new cost. BIG! helps the environment by reducing trash and recycling materials. They are also a great bunch of people to work with–very helpful!

But it’s easy to help the environment when it’s also saving you money, right? We also looked into wind power two years ago but found that our electric bills would almost twice what they are now. And that we just couldn’t swing. Until now.
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Life Imitates Seinfeld

George-Costanza.JPGAs any Seinfeld fan will remember, the rotund, neurotic character George Costanza once quipped that if you give him an area of the city, he can tell you the nicest local public bathroom. Jerry tested him, and George came through with flying colors. Now, it seems that AM New York has taken the issue to heart, and created a guide to Manhattan bathrooms. Broken into four categories (Midtown, Downtown, Brooklyn, and “All Around Town”), the guide has listings for 16 porcelain palaces around town, telling you what makes them special, and where in the facility they are. It is definitely good to take a look, as you never know when you will need them.

On a personal note, I want to endorse a few of these listings. The Grand Central and Penn Station bathrooms are both very clean… Though both are designed for speed over comfort, how often are you at either of those places looking for added bathroom amenities? The bathroom at ESPNZone is an experience. With those urinal-mounted TVs, I have never wanted a pee to last longer!

Additional Reading: http://www.amny.com/nyc-bath0524,0,51008.story?coll=am-ent-headlines

Do you know of a particularly nice bathroom around town that AM NY missed?

[photo credit Wikipedia]

Survival of the Fittest

NaturalSelection_0122_fresh.jpgTired of singles bars, online dating services, and blind dates? Well, if you are a rich guy or a model-caliper girl, dating just got a lot easier…

Natural Selection Speed Dating” is the latest dating scheme to hit the NYC mate market. The premise here is that rich guys and gorgeous girls are paired off in the hopes that a suitable arrangement can be met. Each applicant is pre-screened… Men must meet a certain salary prerequisite ($200k for 25 years old and younger, and increasing at higher ages), and women send photos that are physically evaluated by a sole judge to deem if they are acceptable.

As expected, the company is receiving significant backlash, but according to their CEO Jeremy Abelson, they are also seeing a staggering application rate…

Somehow, I doubt this is what Darwin had in mind.

[Photo courtesy Radar]

New Retro Trend in NYC- Physician House Calls

housecall.jpgWith the weather taking a bit of a chill (though still unseasonably warm) it seems like pretty much everyone I know is sick right now. I even felt the tickle of a sore throat last night so I’ve been drinking lots of fluids and taking it easy hoping the fend off the coming ick. But if you find yourself already caught in the throes of an all-out cold it’s probably time to go deal with one of the most annoying experiencess in the world: going to the doctor. For the busy and wealthy among us, a new service called Sick Day just launched last week, where a physician’s assistant will come to your home and evaluate everything “from strep throat to pneumonia”. The flat fee for the service is $250 but they say that is reimbursed by the better insurance companies, so it might be worth a try. I think we can all agree that the most annoying thing about going to the doctor is the seemingly epic length of time you spend in the waiting room, surrounded by sick folks coughing and sneezing and possible making you even sicker. In a city where pretty much everything else is delivered, isn’t it time that house calls from doctors finally made a comeback?

Upon closer examination, Sick Day only visits patients in Manhattan, so all us outer-borough folks are yet again second class citizens. But what’s this? In their article about this new service, the NY Post also mentions another house-call service that was launched a few months ago called New York House Call Physicians. NY House Calls will send an ACTUAL doctor to your house for diagnosis, or just a PA if you simply need lab work, and while the price is twice as high ($500 for the first visit to a new patient) they have a billing department that will handle all of your insurance claims. It sounds like a great deal if you have insurance that will reimburse you, so if anyone is sick and uses either of these services; please let us know what you think. And get well soon!

Voting and Other Obligatory Things

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Sure, most of the election results in NY are pretty much guaranteed at this point, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding your local polling place, getting your ass down there, chatting with some of the nice old ladies, struggling with the ancient and broken down machines and voting. My polling place was completely empty this morning, not a very heartening site, but I got to chat with a nice, toothless old woman with a sprained wrist about politics for a bit. Seems like she’s voting Democrat across the board, but couldn’t bring herself to go with Hevesi after the scandal–sounds like everyone I know. I told her a politician without a scandal is just a politician who hasn’t been caught yet and we laughed, cried and later held each other.

Anyways, no surprises here, as pictured above, based on NYC Metblogs pretty much universal love for our soontobe new Governor. Please go vote!

TicketBastard

tickets.jpgTicketmaster is pure evil. I recently bought tickets to see George Carlin in December. It is out on Long Island (North Fork Theater at Westbury), but it is worth the trip to see one of my favorite comedians ever. It was early in the morning and I don’t think I had the presence of mind to examine all of the Ts & Cs, or the charges associated with the purchase. Let me review them for you:

Ticket Cost ($56.50 per ticket, 2 tickets)= 113.00
Convenience Charge ($11.00 per ticket)= $22.00
Order Processing= $4.60
TOTAL COST = $140.50

So, I ended up paying $70.25/ticket. Now, I must clarify
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Please help my uterus

I also write for the Los Angeles Metblog, because I have multiple personalities dwellings, and I’ve found through my time there that the readers and other authors usually have great insights into personal services. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a personal recommendation when it comes to doctors, mechanics, etc. (basically, anyone who is tinkering around with things that are inside your body, car, house, or pet). And what better way to get those personal recommendations than asking the internets, which are full of perfect strangers? Whee!

So, down to business. I need a recommendation for a gynecologist. Why, that’s too much information!.. you might say, but hey. I am the semi-proud owner of a slightly malfunctioning uterus, and I would like to locate the best damn uterus doctor in the city. So, can you help a sister out, ladies? Don’t be shy. It’s not uterme, it’s uterus.

Sweet, sweet Saturday

This past Saturday was my birthday, so I spent most of the day indulging in a little pampering with fellow NYC Metblogger Melissa. First, we had a laid-back brunch at the Pink Pony. I had a little surprise in store for Melissa that involved sweets a little later, so I stuck to the savory side for my meal, but Melissa tried a sandwich with peanut butter, honey, and banana that I’ll definitely be going back to try. I really liked the place – tasty food, nice atmosphere, and not too horribly expensive.

Next we headed over to sugar Sweet sunshine, a small bakery started by two former Magnolia Bakery employees. I had heard good things about their cupcakes, and had sampled a couple of their brownies and blondies (the Scutterbotch blondie is ridiculously good), so I decided to shower my party guests with a few dozen assorted cupcakes. With flavors like pistachio, pumpkin, lemon, and red velvet (which is a wicked good cupcake!), you can’t really go wrong. They even decorated a couple of the cupcakes for me at no charge.

After breathing in bakery goodness for a bit, we headed over to Bliss for Melissa’s surprise – the Double Chocolate Pedicure. I’ve been going to Bliss for years, and they always manage to exceed my expectations, especially at the SoHo location (for example, the last pedicure I got from them lasted an entire month). This pedicure is freaking amazing – they soak your feet in chocolate milk to soften them up, give your feet and calves a good scrubbing and exfoliation with a sugar scrub, and then massage, buff, and paint your toes perfectly. And while they’re doing all that, they give you chocolate ice cream with brownies on top! We were both in some sort of chocolate zen trance by the end of it.

All in all, a very sweet way to spend a Saturday in NYC.

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