Should You Tip Less in a Recession?

Some consumers say they can't afford to tip this holiday season.

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I spoke with NPR's Neal Conan today on Talk of the Nation about whether it's okay to cut back on tips during the current recession. Callers who work in the service industry let us know that their tips are down a lot this year. (There were some exceptions -- a couple servers at high-end restaurants said their tips have actually gone up.) One Chinese food delivery man said he barely got $20 in tips from over $400 worth of deliveries.

Passions flared on both sides. I received an E-mail from one consumer who said he didn't think anyone should tip over 15 percent.

What do you think? Is it okay to cut tips when your own budget is squeezed? I tend to think that if you can't afford to tip, then you shouldn't go out to the restaurant.