Dear Ms. Demeanor,
 
I'm going to be away for a week and want some of the building staff to water my plants and collect my mail. Is that fair to ask? Should I pay them or give a gift? If paying is more appropriate, how much should I give them?
 
Sincerely,
Bonnie Voyage
 
Dear Bonnie,
 
I think it is perfectly acceptable to ask the building staff to water your plants. It is one of the many joys of living in NYC!  Cash is king. I think $20- $40 (the range depends on the number of plants you have and/or how high maintenance they are) is perfect and perfectly lovely.
 
Ain't no sunshine when you're gone, 
Ms. Demeanor 

Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to msdemeanor@brickunderground.com and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

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Ms. Demeanor's Sex, Laundry & Vertical Etiquette is written by etiquette columnist Jamie Lauren Sutton, a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur

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