2004_04_askdoorman.jpgOne of the doormen in our building is retiring and other neighbors are pressuring us to donate money for a gift. But we aren't comfortable giving the amount they are requesting, in part because, while I have no problems with the doorman in question, he never really did anything for us or got to know us in the two years we have been here. Is it tacky to withhold a donation, or should we just put in the money?
D., Morningside Heights

Wasn’t that an episode of ? Assuming you wish to avoid Ross’ fate -- he incurred the wrath of his neighbors when he didn't contribute to the gift fund for a retiring super -- the question is fair. However, it’s not like you just moved to the building; since the man has acted as your doorman for the last two years, it would be tacky to not contribute anything. On the other hand, it is a donation, which implies that you can contribute whatever you deem appropriate. Choose an amount you’re comfortable with and tell your neighbors that you do appreciate the work the doorman has done over the years, but politely tell them that you think the amount they’re asking for is a little too much considering you never quite got beyond a friendly smile at the door on your way in at night.