Since the economy seriously crashed, I've been using my Target credit card at Starbucks. Usually I buy the Times and I always buy a tall, non-fat, extra-hot latte. Before December, I just bought the latte, used cash and always tipped, though I always tried to preserve the valuable quarters for parking meters.
This latte is a serious indulgence and I think about it all the time, about the amount of money I could save by not buying it. I used to watch pennies, refusing to buy paper towels or avocados. That was in the olden New York days before we knew that using paper towels might cause more ecological damage than washing dish towels does. Now, since I'm living on a pension and have lost such a large portion of my hard-won savings, I'm watching them again.
But not tipping at Starbucks? That's crazy. Why would I not automatically continue to do that?
But I've noticed that the tip box isn't as full as it used to be even though those behind the counter are just as helpful and cheerful as they always are. And I've read that people are tipping less generously.
A recent NPR broadcast encouraged increased tipping because so many women have become the only wage earner in their families. The gist was that when you go out to eat on Mother's Day, remember that this may be the second job your waitress has and tip well.
Several months ago, I began tipping again. Still using the credit card. And now wondering whether it's better to let the person at the cash register notice that I'm putting change in the clear plastic box, that I care.