From valets to bartenders, a variety of workers rely on tips for income. We asked these Charlotteans how the recession is affecting their take-home pay.
Park Inc. valet parking attendant at The Capital Grille
Years on the job: Two and a half
Average tips now: $60 to $100 a night
Average tips a year ago: $90 to $140 a night. "The amount of people going out has dropped. It's amazing how different it is from September. Generosity has also gone down quite a bit."
Best tip you've ever received: $100 for helping an intoxicated woman get to her hotel safely.
Bartender at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille
Years on the job: Two and a half
Average tips now: $200 a night
Average tips a year ago: $200 a night. "I don't think people have been tipping less than 20 percent. But I think that everyone is taking advantage of drink specials, so the tabs are a lot lower than they normally would be."
Worst tip you've ever received: "The worst tip obviously is no tip, and unfortunately that does happen a lot."
Co-owner/driver for A Global Limosine
Years on the job: Three
Average tips now: $20 per fare
Average tips a year ago: $40 per fare. "We used to make at least eight runs to the airport on a daily basis and the number has dropped to four. Bank employees used to grab a car and run to the airport. Now they argue about prices."
Best tip you've ever received: $100. "A lady tipped me $100 on top of the $300 fare. Some people are good tippers."
Waiter at Zebra Restaurant & Wine Bar
Years on the job: One and a half
Average tips now: $150 to $250 a night
Average tips a year ago: $200 to $300 a night. People have cut back on items like expensive bottles of wine.
Best tip you've ever received: $450 in cash for a plane ticket home to Florida while waiting tables in college. "I made a comment that I wasn't going to be able to go home for Thanksgiving. Then the guy came back in and said, ‘I want you to go home and see your parents.' "
Worst tip you've ever received: $1, a Christian pamphlet, and a note that read, "We can give a gift that's better than a tip."
Stylist at David Ross Salon
Years on the job: Three and a half
Average tips now: $350 a week
Average tips a year ago: $350 a week. "We've stayed very busy despite the recession, so I haven't seen my tip amounts or client traffic change much at all."
Best tip you've ever received: "A pair of tickets to a Panthers football game. They were great seats. I also recently received a dozen roses for squeezing someone in at the last minute. The funniest tip I received was an unmentionable phallic object made into a sterling silver charm!"
Worst tip you've ever received: "The one I never got in the first place because a client's check bounced."
Licensed massage therapist at Eden Massage & Therapy
Years on the job: Four
Average tips now: $260 per week
Average tips a year ago: $200 per week
Funniest tip you've ever received: "I had a client tip me in chocolate candy coins -- as if my landlord were Willy Wonka."
Worst tip you've ever received: "I had a client tip me with a gift card to Applebee's and she wrote on it '$50.' About a month later, I took some friends out to eat and told them it was on me. Our check came out to about $70. Our waiter came back and let me know the gift card had fifty cents -- not fifty dollars -- on it."