5 On Your Side

Tip your newspaper carrier directly or risk tipping a stranger

Posted March 19, 2012 5:11 p.m. EDT
Updated March 19, 2012 7:16 p.m. EDT

— When you tip someone, you expect the money to go to the person who provided the service. That may not be happening for some customers of The News & Observer.

5 on Your Side looked into the issue after receiving complaints from a newspaper customer and a carrier.

Cindy Huser delivered the paper for 15 years and said a small perk of the job recently disappeared – her tips. Huser says it happened after the N&O started using distributors that hire their own carriers. 

The issue, according to Huser, is exactly what customer Frank Zadell emailed 5 on Your Side about. He asked, "Who gets (the) tip" he includes with his payment using the carrier tip box? And, "How can we be sure (it) gets to the person who delivers the papers?"

"The distributor I worked with chose not to pass the tips onto me anymore. He keeps the tips," said Huser.

When she questioned distributor Ted Monnah about it, she said he told her passing along tips wasn't in his contract.

"He does not have to give me the tips,"  she said he told her.

When 5 on Your Side called Monnah at his Holly Springs office, he said customers should "avoid the carrier tip box" the N&O includes on its bills. Instead, they should give tips directly to the carrier, he said.

Jerry Ritter, the circulation manager at the N&O, acknowledged that there have been complaints from carriers about tipping procedures.

5 on Your Side talked with Jim Puryear, the newspaper's vice president of circulation.

"I met with the distributor in question, and they said they had given all the tips to their carriers," said Puryear.

He reiterated that tips should go to the carriers, but that ultimately it is up to distributors to handle.

As for what customers can do to make sure that happens, Puryear says, "Go out there and meet them in the morning and say 'thank you.' And if they want to give him a tip, give him a tip."

After 15 years, Huser decided the tip trouble wasn't worth it and left her part-time delivery job.

She's still a customer though and says she will tip her carrier directly and leave that box on her bill empty.