I know what you're thinking. Why's he going on about Christmas in June? But it's a worry. I'm losing sleep over it.
It used to be quite simple. You put tips out for the milkman, the postman and the dustmen. Inside a card ('With many thanks from all at 21 Clinton Drive'), to disguise what is really protection money ('Please don't scatter my rubbish down the drive. Deliver my mail to that vindictive pillock up the hill, who keeps it. Nick that envelope which is so obviously a premium bond prize that it might as well have 'Premium Bond Prize, Steal Me' on the envelope). I just tipped them. Even though all of them unquestionably have bigger incomes than me. Even though they never considered tipping me when I was wasting my life in public service for them.
Okay, no problem with the milkman. I'm not going to tip Tesco's, am I? The postman's all right for now too, although open competition is going to make things more difficult. But what about the dustmen? Is there a new protocol?
At present we have separate paper and glass collections on alternate weeks. Do I tip those? Both of them? That would mean tripling what I spend on tipping the dustmen. No way. Or do I tip them pro rata? (Paper: Don't get a newspaper, so very little to recycle. Tiny tip. Glass: Do drink. Have friends who do drink. Have family who do drink. Have family so do drink. Big tip). And do I then reduce what I give the dustmen, pro rata? I should do - they're not carrying all those bottles away. Will that mean they sprinkle just a little rubbish down the drive, pro rata?
What about in a few months time, when we switch to refuse collections every other week. Do I tip them every other year? Sounds fair to me. ('Is this a tipping year or a non-tipping year, Darling?' 'Well, let's see. We didn't have much fallout down the drive, so last year must have been a tipping year...').
See? Bet I've got you worrying now, too. Any tips on a postcard (recyclable) please....