By Jasmine Huda
(KSDK) - Recession or not, Americans are tightening their financial belts. The current cash crunch has the scales tipping against tips. Service workers, including wait staff and cab drivers, say tips are down.
Customers who used to leave 15 to 20% tips are scaling back five to ten percent.
"Either people are getting cheaper, or it's the economy. Something's different," Chris Monroe, a taxi driver for Laclede Cab Company, said. "No tip. No five dollars, keep the change, or anything."
Blame it on gas prices. Blame it on the economy. For some service workers, tips are getting smaller.
Rebecca Bonzano, a waitress at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, said only recently did customers give up on small tips.
"It was going down a little bit. But because everybody's gotten their income taxes, we've been getting a lot more people and families, and they've been tipping more," she said.
Not all restaurant servers are feeling the crunch. Customers who dine at higher end establishments continue to provide generous tips. Rich LoRusso is the owner of LoRusso’s Cucina and the president of the Missouri Restaurant Association’s St. Louis Chapter.
"[Customers] know what they're coming for. It's the full experience,” he said. "Piano music in the dining room. Excellent food. Excellent service."
Some economists say a 10 to 20% tip is expected for restaurant servers, hotel employees, taxi drivers and bartenders. Others, however, say the tip minimum should be 15%.