22 June 2009

The Vegas View and the One Not So Visible, Too

Granted, it doesn't look like a great view, but at night the parking garage recedes, the strip is quite lively, and the volcano at the Mirage is visible (every hour, 8pm to midnight). The vantage point is 15th floor of Treasure Island, a hotel with a right price last weekend as I passed through the city on return from San Francisco.

The view that's not so visible to us visitors is the Las Vegas economy so dependent on tourists that if we thought about it more, we would tip more.

My cab driver invited me to sit up front with him. That's just not a typical invitation for female cab customers. So, I accepted. In that passenger seat, I listened as he spoke at length about the economy and how he is faring.

At 70, he would like to retire but cannot because he needs extra medical coverage, which he concisely described along with a recent experience in a Canadian clinic (his total bill was $75 and that covered all lab tests and X-rays) and a friend's inability to purchase any policy at a price he can afford.

At 70, he would like to retire but cannot because his monthly retirement income covers rent and that's all.

At 70, he would like to retire but cannot because he needs the cash that comes from driving the cab, even though the income is shrinking. He pulled out his log to show me his fares for the past 7 hours. They totaled about $100. He quickly calculated his costs, the cab company's share, and the taxes based on the IRS assumption that tips would equal 23% of the fares. The end result was not encouraging: his take-home for the day would be $45.

I gave him a big tip.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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