THERE IS NO surer sign of recession than pennies in the tip jar.
That's the impression listeners of National Public Radio's All Things Considered were left with after sampling reporter Wendy Kaufman's Dec. 14 report on tough economic times in the Emerald City. A coffee shop owner confided that strapped workers are leaving smaller tips and purchasing less expensive drinks: "If they had a double grande mocha, they'll drop down to a single tall mocha," she noted glumly. (It's apparently not a depression until customers dispense with flavored syrup entirely.)
The report's saddest story had to be that of Scott McConnell, who completed training as a Web developer two years ago, then hooked up with Microsoft as a $50,000 a year contract worker. Now, he's living on half that pay working as a career counselor at a government-run job center. More bad news: It's a temporary job.