The holiday season is time to thank those who work hard all year with a tip. But how do you do it if the person never gets out of their truck?

There's always a debate over who to tip for the holidays. Whether its your mail carrier, your hairstylist or the school bus driver, there never seems to be a lack of people who deserve thanks.

But the person with the most thankless job has to be the garbage collector. No matter what the weather or temperature, your sanitation worker comes to your home and hauls away all of your nasty trash every week; usually before you've even noticed they've been there.

So, of course, you want to say thanks by leaving your trash collector a nice tip for the holidays. But, wait a minute. Just how do you do that? Back in the old days my family would leave a case of beer on top of the can with a note. The sanitation workers would throw it on the truck, empty our garbage and be on their way. But now things are a little different.

First of all, it's probably not a good idea to supply alcohol to workers who are driving heavy machinery around the roads all day long. But leaving that aside, today's garbage collectors don't actually get out of their truck. So how are they supposed to get your tip?

Say you want to leave the sanitation crew a few bucks for the holidays, or maybe a gift card. You can't just tape it to the trash can. The workers aren't going to see it. When they pull up in front of your trash, that robotic arm will just pick up the can and fling it into the truck with your envelope of thanks completely ignored. Or, even worse, the tip will just wind up in the truck with the rest of the trash.

OK, so what about waiting for the garbage truck and going out to deliver the tip in person? That sounds like a great idea, but who's going to wake up early and run down the street at 8am to flag down a garbage truck? I can't remember the last time I've actually witnessed my trash being picked up. It's usually way too early in the morning or during the day when most people are at work.

Getty Stock / ThinkStock
Getty Stock / ThinkStock

So what are you supposed to do? Ignore the trash collector? I decided to think long and hard about this problem and come up with my own plan. This year I'll be mailing my tip to the sanitation company. But instead of just addressing it to "whoever picks up garbage on my street," I'll be addressing it to the president of the company.  He or she will receive a note about my satisfaction with the garbage pickup at my address. In the note I'll also ask them to please pass along my small token of gratitude to whomever is responsible for the route.

What boss would pass up an opportunity to reward one of their workers without having to actually spend a dime of the company's money? It'll make them look like a generous boss, the worker will get his tip and also a nice congratulations on a job well done. Foolproof, right?

Evelyn Panichi from Royal Carting advised customers to mail any tips for their drivers to the company.

"We will know who your drivers are by your address and distribute it accordingly. You can also call or email us, through our website, and ask us who your drivers are and it can be addressed directly to the driver," Panichi said. "Another possibility is dropping it off to one of our offices - the receptionist will be happy to provide you with your driver information. We strongly suggest this method because it has been our unfortunate experience that tips left on the containers can be stolen."

Do you tip your garbage workers? I'd love to hear how you've solved this problem for yourself. Or if you have a better idea for tipping the trash worker you can share that too. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

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