Amid a tottering economy, rising inflation, increasing unemployment and a housing market meltdown, waiters, beauticians and pet groomers report that customers are growing tightfisted.
On a typical Saturday night, Brian Best once earned as much as $200 in tips as a server at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Universal CityWalk. Since the fall, Best's tip take has slid to about $120 on a weekend night.
"People just don't have the money. They will go out to eat, but won't tip as much," Best said.
He now gets 10% to 15% of what his customers spend at the eatery, down from 15% to 20% before the economy's nose dive.
"I am hanging out a lot less at clubs and bars. I don't have the money," Best said.
That tipping tale is from today's Los Angeles Times.
It stokes a simmering question for diners:
Do you tip less when money's tight?
It stokes a simmering question for servers:
How are your tips these days?