Now that the economy is even tighter, gas is obscenely costly, and everything from milk to repair service has shot through the Are You Tipping Less in This Economy?roof will you tip people less in an attempt to pinch a penny? Over the past months, Mike did an extended series on Tipping Etiquette which was enlightening and fun. I recently heard on the news that people who depend on tips for their livelihood are really feeling the pinch. I wondered about that and wanted to learn more.

According to the Pensacola News Journal their article “Economy takes bite out of servers’ tips” says:

Even in the best of times, workers who depend on tips for a substantial part of their income – food servers, bartenders, cab drivers and hairdressers often struggle to keep afloat.

But as gas prices, food prices and retail prices attest, these are far from the best of times. Folks are holding tighter to their wallets as the economy gets rockier.

Just ask your favorite waiter or waitress.

“Average tips used to be 15 (percent) to 20 percent (of the bill),” said Linzy Butcher, 19, a waitress at two area restaurants – Ollie’s Neighborhood Grill in Milton and TGI Friday’s in Pensacola. “Lately, it’s like 12 percent. People tip a little bit less.”

If you think about it, that is like an instant 3-7% decrease in salary at a time where the cost of everything is rising. Of course that’s not the only factor at play. As prices go up, you are typically calculating your tip on the grand total which is most likely higher now than just one year ago.

Of course I have to say I’ve never really understood tipping. Why can’t we just pay people for a service? Michael Russnow at The Huffington Post makes some great points in “Tipping Ought to be Abolished: Let’s Just Pay People More Like the Europeans Do”

The list goes on but rather than perpetuate a group of people who invariably feel stiffed — even when someone gives them a 15% tip — wouldn’t it simply be better to just pay the workers a commensurate salary and do away with tipping entirely? This is the case in many European countries, where the service is “compris.” In other words built into the price. Some Americans still don’t get the hang out of it and insist on leaving a full-fledged tip as if they’d be burned in hell for neglecting to do so, even as the locals dining next to them either leave nothing or just small change as a tiny reward.

I’d say amen to that. It’s near impossible to figure out whom to tip and how much anyway even with Mike’s series.

Another thing that got me thinking was – how does this affect the gay community? More? Less? The same? A question that comes to my mind but for which I could find no statistics or comments is — how does this downturn affect gay travel hotspots like Provincetown, Key West, etc.? Those economies rely on travel and people eating out. The folks working those jobs rely on tips. What might that ripple effect be? My guess is it’ll follow the general downturn, but that is just a wild guess.

Do you work in a job in which tips make up a large portion of your income? If so, how has the recent economic downturn affected you?

Paula Gregorowicz, owner of The Paula G. Company, works with women who are ready to create their lives and businesses the way the want rather than how they were told they “should”. Ready to learn how to achieve success on your own terms? Download the free 12 part eCourse “How to Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin” at her website