Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Holiday tips to take hit

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haircut1Check out the probable lower level of tips for service providers during the holidays.Chalk up tips for cleaning people, school teachers, barbers, mail carriers and others as another probable victim of the weak U.S. economy, according to a new poll conducted by Consumer Reports magazine.  The magazine polled Americans about their tipping habits during the 2008 holidays and again in October and found 26 percent of Americans who usually tip or give a gift to a service provider said they would spend less this holiday season. Just 6 percent planed to spend more.”Families are looking for ways to balance their financial concerns with the need to thank people who have helped them during the year,” Tobie Stanger, senior editor at Consumer Reports, said in a statement. “This year, tipping is more of a challenge than ever, but CR’s survey shows that people are still trying to do it, for the most part.”The average value of tips (i.e. some were gifts instead of cash or gift cards) varied by occupation, with a cleaning person at $50, a child’s teacher and a hairdresser at $20, and a manicurist at $10, according to Consumer Reports.Some readers told the magazine they plan to still say thanks with a card or homemade gift.Also in the basket:Food the focus as Wal-Mart starts holiday givingKraft quarterly results could make a case to CadburyADM profit soars past Wall Street estimatesPolo 2nd-qtr profit tops Street viewWalgreen October sales up a bit more than expectedEnergizer quarterly profit falls(Reuters photo)

Check Out Line: Wealthy consumers feeling less confident

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buffet-bill.jpgCheck Out over 71 percent of affluent consumers, or 10 percent of American families, saying the U.S. real estate and banking crisis is affecting their sense of financial security and the value of their assets.

The poll, conducted by American Express Publishing and Harrison Group, says nearly 6 in 10 survey respondents are worried about running out of money, including 48 percent of America’s wealthiest families.  That’s up from 35 percent in April.  The survey was conducted Sept. 19-23 and included 614 people with a median income of $325,000.

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