Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity [NOOK Book]


An irreverent, pavement-pounding, eye-opening exploration of a neglected part of the American economy: tipping

Tipping is huge in America. Almost everyoneleaves at least one tip every day. More thanfive million American workers depend onthem, and we spend $66 billion on tips each year.And everyone recognizes that queasy feeling?inbars and restaurants, barbershops and beautyparlors, hotels and strip clubs, and everywhereelse?when the check arrives or the tip jar looms.Omnipresent...

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Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity

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An irreverent, pavement-pounding, eye-opening exploration of a neglected part of the American economy: tipping

Tipping is huge in America. Almost everyoneleaves at least one tip every day. More thanfive million American workers depend onthem, and we spend $66 billion on tips each year.And everyone recognizes that queasy feeling—inbars and restaurants, barbershops and beautyparlors, hotels and strip clubs, and everywhereelse—when the check arrives or the tip jar looms.Omnipresent yet poorly understood, tipping hasworked its way into almost every part of daily life.

In Keep the Change, bestselling author SteveDublanica dives into this unexplored world, in acomical yet serious attempt to turn himself intothe Guru of the Gratuity. As intrepid and irreverentas Michael Moore or A. J. Jacobs, Dublanicatravels the country to meet shoeshine men, strippers,bartenders, bellhops, bathroom attendants,and many others, all in an effort to overcome hisown sweaty palms when faced with those perennialquestions: Should I tip? How much? Throughouthe explores why tipping has spread; he explainshow differences in gender, age, ethnicity, and nationalityaffect our attitudes; and he reveals just whatthe cabdriver or deliveryman thinks of us afterwe’ve left a tip.

Written in the lively style that made WaiterRant such a hit, Keep the Change is a fun and enlighteningquest that will change the way wethink—and tip.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In America, tipping is (usually) avoidable, but not thinking about voluntary gratuities is completely impossible. Every day, we are confronted with awkward decisions about who to tip, how much to pay for different services, and even how to share our loot. There is no doubt that we succumb: Each year, we Americans spend $66 billion on tips, but as Waiter Rant author and blog keeper Steve Dublanica knows from hard experience, tipping behavior ranges widely from patron to patron and from profession to profession. To test the waters, or more specifically the outstretched palms, Dublanica traveled the continent, inquiring about handout habits everywhere he went. The venues fit almost every description; from working class bars and family restaurants to barbershops, beauty salons, public bathrooms and strip clubs. A fascinating book about a much-discussed topic that touches us all.

Publishers Weekly
The concept of gratuity is the subject of this second book from the unmasked author of Waiter Rant and, like his first, has its own lad-lit charms and contrivances. Opening with a broad and light cultural history of tipping, the book then delves briefly into the tip's primary restaurant industry role before moving on to its impact in lesser known and often neglected businesses by examining their gratuity-related transactions. There's enough raw, self-deprecating autobiography to keep the anthropological enterprise comic; in addition, the author steps in the shoes of those in various industries and discloses the hidden codes of parking valets, Starbucks "tip jars," and the beauty industry. Dublanica breaks down a dizzying variety of service-related exchanges along with the inner worlds of casino dealers and sex-trade workers (in fact, there's an awful lot about Vegas) and even provides a couple of tip-helpful appendixes. (Nov.)
Mother Jones
“Half travelogue, half manifesto, the book recounts his misadventures in tipping as he travels across America talking with a cross-section of the 3 percent of the workforce that relies on tips.”
“A hilarious, irreverent etiquette guide.”
Daily News
“Giving a little extra just got easier with a master’s guide to gratuities. New York is the capital of tipping and no one understands that better than Steve Dublanica. The 42-year-old waiter-turned-author shares his expertise in Keep the Change.”
“Full of amusing tales of big tippers and tightwads told by waiters, shoeshine men, bathroom attendants, strippers and more.”
Boston Herald
“Even seasoned service veterans might be surprised by the discoveries revealed in the book.”
Los Angeles Times
“Waiter Rant has all the fixings for fun....What Anthony Bourdain’s tell-all about life in the kitchen did for Hollandaise sauce, Waiter Rant will do for side salads.”
American Way
“The Waiter dishes candidly on the outrageous behavior of staffers and customers at the undisclosed upscale restaurant where he works...[Waiter Rant] leaves no doubt that servers deserve not only 15 percent but an occasional pound of flesh, too. In his debut memoir, the Waiter extracts it with panache.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“For enlightenment on how to handle such situations, I reached out to The Waiter. You know, the New York City-based guy who created the wildly entertaining Waiter Rant blog, which is now a cannot-put-it-down book.”
Boston Globe
“[Waiter Rant] offers an irreverent, insightful look inside the industry (complete with blurb from Anthony Bourdain).”
Chicago Tribune
“…funny and touching.”
Washington Post Book World
PRAISE FOR WAITER RANT: “…amusing and informative…along with the stories, some of which are hilarious, Dublanica provides useful advice for the customer...Waiter Rant is as delightful as it is irreverent.”
Bloomberg News
“Fortunately, The Waiter (who has since outed himself as a chap called Steve Dublanica) does more in this book than get even; he provides thoughtful insights into how the restaurant business works.”
Chicago Sun-Times
“…here is my unabashed recommendation: If you eat out with any regularity, read this book!”
Tampa Tribune
“Lucky for the reader, The Waiter has kept his eyes open and is willing to gossip about what he has seen from the other side of the menu.”
Wall Street Journal
“The main attraction here is [Dublanica’s] acerbic, biting and often hilarious accounts of life behind the scenes at the front of the house.”
“Writing a best-seller is a big deal, and the Waiter deserves a 20% tip for serving up such a fun summer read.”
A.J. Jacobs
“I’m not sure what the proper etiquette is for tipping authors, but we should all give a nice bonus to Steve Dublanica for writing such a funny and surprising book on this oft-overlooked part of everyday life.”
Anthony Bourdain
The other shoe finally drops. The front-of-the-house version of Kitchen Confidential; a painfully funny, excruciatingly true-life account of the waiter’s life. As useful as it is entertaining. You will never look at your waiter the same way again–and will never tip less than 20%.
Matt Lauer
“Anyone that has ever eaten in a restaurant is going to want to grab [this book].”
John DeLucie
I really enjoyed WAITER RANT. The book is engaging and funny, a story told from my polar opposite perspective. I will now do my best to act better as a Chef -- and I dare say, I’ll never be rude to a waiter again, as long as I live.
Library Journal
The author of the popular blog (and companion book) offers a freewheeling exploration of the hows and whys of tipping in America. Starting with waitstaff and working outward, Dublanica interviews individuals in various tip-dependent occupations, from doormen to deliverymen to phone sex operators. Frequently he works alongside or patronizes (and tips!) them. Jetting gleefully to Portland, OR, (baristas), Los Angeles (bartenders), and Las Vegas (strippers and cab drivers), and enjoying plentiful cigars and dirty vodka martinis along the way, Dublanica builds up to an overblown but insightful epiphany about exactly why people tip. An otherwise helpful appendix about tipping at the holidays contains an unfortunate piece of bad advice: Dublanica recommends giving liquor to service providers who can't accept cash tips (a risky practice unless the individual is known not to be an active or recovering alcoholic). VERDICT This idiosyncratic, somewhat self-indulgent book is by turns crude and thoughtful, encompassing both an overlong, sophomoric fantasia about a waiter's nightmare shift and meditations on Bible verses (Dublanica was once a seminary student). Funny and illuminating, it's recommended to anyone seeking enlightenment about gratuities and willing to indulge the author's feisty style.—Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus
Kirkus Reviews

The author of Waiter Rant (2007) follows up with this similarly energetic insider's look at tipping.

During his nine years as a waiter, Dublanica started an anonymous blog,, which led to the publication of his eponymous bestseller. After revealing his identity—and crusading, in the style of an angry stand-up comic, against bad customers—he now turns his attention (and heckling) to bad tippers. By traveling around the country talking to workers in various service industries, from strippers to chauffeurs, he simultaneously educates himself and readers. Tipping, he qualifies upfront, is "an informal economy within a formal one," a charge that often feels superfluous. But the numbers speak for themselves. It's estimated, writes Dublanica, "that all the tipped workers in the United States pull down somewhere between $53.1 and 66.6 billion a year in gratuities." More than half of this goes to waiters, which is fitting considering that the word "tip" translates into "drink money" or something similar in at least ten languages. After discussing what you should leave for servers, Dublanica moves on to, among others, hotel doormen ("just about everything calls for a simple single or two"), coffee baristas ("a dollar a drink," an interview notes, "just like a bartender") and hair dressers and aestheticians ("everyone at a salon should get tipped 15-20 percent for the service they provide"). That same percentage, he's told by a Papa John's employee, should be tipped to delivery people: "Fifteen to twenty percent of the bill or the cost of a gallon of gas—whatever's higher." Workers in all sectors concur that the worst kind of people are "exact-changers"—i.e., those who proffer barely enough to cover the cost of what they're buying and say, "Keep the change." As inWaiter Rant, Dublanica makes a point of detailing the ways in which poorly tipped employees may seek revenge.

A hilariously uncensored etiquette diatribe.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062020130
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 46,120
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Steve Dublanica is the bestselling author of Waiter Rant, which spent twelve weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He lives in the New York metropolitan area with his joint-custody dog, Buster.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    Good book but...

    I enjoyed reading this book after reading his first, waiter rant... the downside is however, that he mentions his first book a little too much, it almost came off as being too commercial.... it made me feel like even he agrees that his first book was better, he couldnt stop talking about it. Very insightful and relatable, however it lacked the 'heartfelt ranting' seen in his first novel.... a bit disappointing, get it keeping in mind that they are two separate books, dont expect the same thing twice...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A good read.

    I enjoyed this book as it gives an inside look at tipping. From waiters and baristas to dry cleaners and valet parking, the author examines social protocal for tipping situations. Highly entertaining and humorous though I still enjoyed WAITER RANT (his first book) a little more. -Michael

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An Entertaining and Informative Read into the World of Tipping

    For anyone who consistently tips (this probably means you)"Keep the Change" is a must read. It is poignantly and at other times uproariously insightful in providing a behind the scene look not only of the history and culture of tipping but of the people and their professions. Once you read this book you cannot help but to better understand and appreciate the art of tipping. I became a big fan of Dublanica after reading his first book "Waiter Rant" that chronicled his life as a New York City waiter. Dublanica makes you understand that waiters, are more than just robotic individuals who fetch meals for their customers: you actually get a intimate look at the demands, rewards and sacrifices of this profession through some hillarious, maddening and very personal stories. It his experience as a past waiter in understanding the value of a tip that makes him connect well with others in various service industries, and we the readers are the benefactors of these stories from the card dealers in Vegas to the bartenders in L.A. to the doormen in New York and the parking attendant in Florida. Their are also first-hand tipping stories about chambermaids, bathroom attendants, furniture movers, strippers, limo and taxi drivers and a shoeshine man to name just a few. You learn some fascinating stuff. You learn that many in these services must live or die on their tips. That many of these vendors don't even make mimimun wage. And in some cases have to give back a portion of their tips. You learn how service providers work their profession to extract the best tips they can make. You understand from these providers what "little extras" their customers get for a good tip and what they get if there demanding and tip lousy. You also find out who gets bad ratings for tipping (Lexus drivers at car washes) and Canadians in general. And you will be stun to find out what sport superstars are at the bottom of the tipping scale in Vegas. Service providers tipping others services proviers are considered the best category of tippers. You will also learn about the inner working of their professions and you will come away with less misconceptions and more admiration for these workers. You will find that the shoeshine man is doing exactly what he wants and takes as much pride in his job as a Supreme Court justice. And of course you will become a better tipper by reading this book. For example, I didn't realize that you shouldn't leave your accumulated tip the last day of your stay at a hotel. I always thought that the tip would be split among the chambermaids who clean the room during my stay: that is not the case. Chances are the person who cleans the room last will get the whole tip. Therefore, you're better tipping on a daily basis. That's just one example among others I learned. Finally, this book is much more than just about tipping. It is a rare look at a group of service workers who we literally knew little about till now, and many took for granted. Dublanica is becoming the Studs Terkel of the 21st Century when it comes to writing about worker's. If you enjoyed Terkel's "Working", you will love "Keep the Change". That's my tip to you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    A Lap Dance Right in the Sample

    There's a lap dance right in the sample, seriously? I hope it falls off, you skank! This is so gross...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    A handbook for gratuity

    Well-researched, clearly written, and an intriguing read. A go-to manual for the vagaries of tipping, written in Dublanica's signature breezy style peppered with wry humor.

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  • Posted May 21, 2011

    Kritters Ramblings

    What an insightful book! From the author of Waiter Rant, which I will soon pick up - he dives into the details of tipping for every profession. A topic that affects every person in the USA - how much should I tip?

    I thought going into reading this book that I knew a lot about who to tip and how much to tip - in some cases this book proved me right and in other cases I was so wrong. I loved how he designed the hotel chapter, to go through how each job should be tipped by means of the order that you meet them when you check into a hotel - doorman to maid and beyond. There were some jobs that I couldn't believe were tipped at all and then learning about those who rely 90% on tips, unbelievable. So I will be keeping this book on hand for future reference and to loan out to others.

    A recommendation for male and female of all ages. Even an interesting read to give to a recent college grad who is entering the world of paying all bills on their own, even ones that include tips.

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  • Posted April 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Love this Author!

    I read this book after I discovered Steve Dublanica in "Waiter Rant". This book was almost as much fun and educational. I already knew a lot about tipping from jobs I have held in the past, but it did cast new light onto several jobs I have not.
    I do not know what type of book the author will come up with next, but I am a loyal follower.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011


    this is a good read for general information about tipping but it gets a bit off track at times.

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    Posted March 10, 2011

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