* WINNERS: Waiters and waitresses in Philadelphia. Why? Because that city's residents are the most generous restaurant tippers in the country, ahead of diners in New York, Chicago and Boston and way ahead of those in San Francisco and Los Angeles. A new survey indicates that almost half the Philadelphians tip 20 per cent or more when they dine out.
* WINNERS: Waiters and waitresses just about everywhere else - even if they don't do a particularly good job. A separate survey indicates that poor restaurant service is rewarded nearly as well as good service. If diners get so-so service, they are likely to leave a standard 15 per cent tip and not reduce it. If they reduce the tip, it is by very little. A sign of generosity? Or just the desire to avoid an unpleasant scene?* LOSER: Aerobics. This particular form of physical fitness is on the decline. A new survey reports that participation is down 8.2 per cent for high-impact aerobics, 3.3 per cent for low-impact aerobics, and is essentially flat for step aerobics. This trend likely won't be helped by an even more recent report to the effect that the greatest weight reduction comes from use of the treadmill.
* WINNER: The travel industry. That's because a record 232 million Americans plan to hit the road during the summer vacation season that starts Memorial Day. This despite higher gasoline prices.
* LOSER: The travel industry. Despite the 2 per cent increase in Americans planning to travel 100 miles or more from home, the travelers intend to pinch pennies harder. Travel industry executives project that the typical vacation will include more people per trip, longer trips, and only the same level of spending as last summer when the average vacation cost $1,076.
* LOSERS: Long-distance truck drivers. They are having a more difficult time finding room to sleep at public rest stops on the nation's highways. A study for the U.S. Department of Transportation indicates that three out of four rest stops on major interstates are full to overcrowded each night, often with 18-wheelers lined one after the other on roadway entrance and exit ramps.
Warning: This development makes other motorists potential losers, too. Failure to solve the parking shortage for trucks could pose significant risks to the traveling public by forcing tired truck drivers to continue driving or park at inherently dangerous lo-ca-tions.
* LOSERS: American investors - because most of them are financial illiterates. That's the word this week from the Investor Knowledge Survey. It found that fewer than one in five investors are "financially literate," able to answer at least seven of eight basic investment questions. Two of three do not have a financial plan. Almost nine of 10 who use brokers or financial planners have never checked the adviser's disciplinary record. As a result, such investors are sitting ducks for investment fraud and abuse.