Customers skimping on tips as HST takes hold in B.C.
The new harmonized sales tax hasn't won many friends in B.C., but people who depend on tips to make a living say they're the biggest losers.
At Darcy's Pub in Victoria, waiter Lucas Ferguson says he suddenly began taking home less money after the HST came into effect on July 1.
"Our pay cheques are very, very minimal, so we live on our tips. And we are seeing a dramatic decrease in tips," he told CTV News.
Ferguson believes that customers are cutting back on gratuities as their tax totals have increased.
The new tax adds about seven per cent to the cost of restaurant meals, many purchases and a host of services. Service workers say they've seen their tips drop by a comparable amount.
"I could give the same service to a person that I did two years ago, and yet I'll get a four or five-per-cent less tip because everyone is trying to hold on to their pennies now," Ferguson said.
Others who rely on tips are telling the same story.
Esthetician Hanna Do says she's noticed a big difference: "They don't tip that much anymore…. Some of them don't even tip because it's too much for them to pay."
Some service workers say they've also noticed a change in demands since the HST came into effect.
Hair stylist Ashleigh Wheeler says there's been a change in the haircuts her customers are asking for.
"People are looking for longevity out of their haircuts," she said.
"We're trying to go that extra mile and accommodate people who are trying to get something that will last, let's say, two months longer so they're not having to come in as often."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty