In the height of PCS season we here at NextGen MilSpouse took to Facebook to ask the all important question:
Do you tip your movers?
Overwhelmingly military spouses responded that while they don’t give them money, they do provide food for their movers. The most popular food items are coffee, donuts, pizza, sandwiches and drinks.
That’s when I realized that I was completely in the minority. Not only have we never tipped our military assigned packers and movers, we don’t provide food. Never. Not once in our three PCSes.
When I told my husband that people provide lunch for their movers, he said, “weird.” He didn’t understand why.
When asked why they feed their moving crews, military spouses say this
Happy movers means a better move with less broken things.
I say they are professionals hired to do a job. They take breaks throughout the day, including a long lunch break. Why do we need to give them food?
These aren’t our friends volunteering their weekend to load a U-Haul truck and move us across town or help us load up for a PPM. When we moved from our rental to our first purchased home, we gave our friends coffee, lunch and lots of beer for helping us.
Feed our movers? Nope. Not once. Honestly it never crossed my mind.
Here’s What You Said
When it comes to tipping the movers, the consensus seems to be that this may not be allowed under the government contract. And you may not have the same people on either end of your move, especially if you don’t do a door-to-door, so that’s a lot of cash. And there is no guarantee that your stuff won’t break in transit or in storage. Because let’s be real, stuff breaks. On our first move we had a few fragile wine glasses break, and who knows if it was the packer’s fault or mine when unwrapping them quickly.
Food is a whole other thing. I get it, it’s a nice gesture. Food is my love language. I love me a good doughnut and you know I love coffee, so who wouldn’t love being greeted with food?
But contracts still allow for breaks so it’s not like they will move any quicker because donuts are on your kitchen island. Heck, they may even have sticky fingers afterward because who doesn’t love a glazed doughnut? And well, I don’t want to clean sticky plates when I unpack them a week later in my new home.
And what if the movers have food allergies? Then you have more food to eat yourself. Many of our Facebook fans commented that they’ve had some packers with “sensitive” stomachs.
If you’re OCONUS you also have a cultural divide to bridge. In some cultures it’s not acceptable to offer food. If you’ve lived there for a few years, you likely know that, but double-check before buying those pastries.
Should I Feed My Movers?
Honestly this discussion didn’t swayed my opinion for our next PCS.
There are too many factors for me to deal with on top of the stress of a PCS. I’m already making sure that I’ve packed every important paper and clothes for every weather option. Oh, and the air mattress, sheets and towels.
Picking up coffee and pastries or a sandwich tray? Yeah, this milspouse ain’t got time for that.
Do I offer them water from my fridge or sink? Or those leftover sodas from the last FRG event? Of course, come on, I’m not heartless.
But I don’t think that offering something to my movers beyond my respect will change the course of my PCS. On the one move where we had significant damage, I don’t think food would have changed the outcome.
I expect the packers and movers to do their job. I greet them with respect, explain where the Do Not Pack items are, check in to see how they are doing and that everything is out of a room. I’ll direct them to all of the new rooms and hope that the room with all my book boxes will really be my home office. But otherwise, they are adults and I expect that they packed their own snacks and the Mountain Dew they are holding is plenty of sugar for them.
You can call me crazy but I’m sticking to my no-food-for-the-movers rule. Anyone want to join me?