Bad Economy Also Means Bad Tippers

Waiters and waitresses say good tips are hard to find in a slumping economy.

Restaurants are seeing fewer patrons -- and more stingy tippers.

"It's hard for everyone right now, it really is," said Jerrie Smith, who works at the Circle Grill in Dallas. "It's hurt a lot of us."

Smith and other servers depend on the tips -- the $2.25 that they are paid per hour doesn't pay the bills.

"You better cut corners in other places, because tips is how we make our living," said Karen Humphrey, another Circle Grill waitress.

Servers work hard, said Maria Vitalis, the owner of the Circle Grill.

"They have to pay they bills like everyone else," she said. "So those tips, if one week they are down, then it's going to hurt them."

Servers at the Circle Grill say they find themselves relying on their good customers.

"If you really do like the girls or the guys that are waiting on you, we will tip more then 20 percent," customer Bart Ghormley said.

But what makes a good tipper?

If you're leaving 15 percent, you may not be as good of a tipper as you think you are. Restaurant insiders say 20 percent is the new standard .

The typical tip is between 15 and 20 percent.

At any rate, don't do like one Circle Grill patron did last week and leave $1 for a $32 check.

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