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Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity Hardcover – November 2, 2010

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Hardcover, November 2, 2010
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061787280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061787287
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,543,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

For four years Dublanica authored the blog Waiter Rant, chronicling the frustrations of an anonymous waiter working in an upscale New York restaurant. In 2008 he went public with his best-selling book, Waiter Rant, unmasking annoying foodies, bad tippers, and the bad behavior of restaurant staff. Gratuities were one of the hottest, most-talked-about subjects of that book, so Dublanica ran with it. A short history of the custom reveals that tipping was a particularly European practice that we took to new heights in the U.S. Dublanica shines light on those awkward tipping situations that we all face at one time or another: tip the parking valet when he takes your car, delivers it, or both? How much and in what fashion do you tip your hotel maid? And what about “tip creep,” those ubiquitous tip jars that are springing up in every coffee shop and fast-food restaurant these days? Dublanica offers tips on how to tip hairstylists, car-wash attendants, auto mechanics, deliverymen, and more, including the joint where tipping rules: the strip club. Valuable information is interspersed with amusing anecdotes and interviews. --David Siegfried

More About the Author

A seminary dropout-cum-mental-health-care worker, The Waiter, Steve Dublanica, waited his first table at age thirty-one. In 2004, he started his wildly popular blog,, eventually winning the 2006 Bloggie Award for Best Writing of a Weblog. He has been interviewed by media outlets nationwide, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Today, as a voice for many of the two million waiters in the United States. The Waiter lives in the New York metropolitan area with his joint-custody dog, Buster, and is at work on his second book.

Customer Reviews

As I said in the subject line, this book vastly improved our travel experiences.
I recommend this book for a good inside look at tipping in the service industry told by people who have experienced the work.
We tip not because we want to but because we have to, and that a good relationship and experience do not make.
Abe Krieger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Damian Forsythe on September 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Keep the Change" offers many interesting, perhaps unique looks behind the scenes in various service industries, especially as they relate to tipping, and for this, it's a good read. However, what's lacking is a critical examination of the subject and the tenets of Dublanica's thesis that, well, you should tip all these various people exactly what they want, which you should know even if they don't tell you, and, if you don't, well, it's likely you have poor relationships in general and certainly don't understand how they work. It's quite a proposition.

Dublanica covers several, though certainly not all, service industries, including valets, bartenders, strippers, masseurs, cabbies, hotel workers, and, of course, waiters. In addition to interviews, he occasionally moonlights at these jobs, or at least observes them in their environment. Not only does this allow him to write off lap dances as research, it gives the book its meat, the many human interest stories. You'll learn about girls who serve fetishists in a sex dungeon in LA, and all the truly strange stuff in that world. You'll hear about the cab driver in Vegas and the two, totally broke kids who force him to let them off a few blocks from their destination, because otherwise their $10 won't cover both the fare and the tip. (He offers to take them anyway, but they insist). You'll learn about bathroom attendants, and why at least one of them does what she does. And, of course, you hear the Vegas stripper tales. These are what's best about the book: they let you see employees as people and understand their economic situation.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Tina on November 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I fell in love with this author's first book and thought it was hilarious. It is always truly amazing to me to see just how "the real" work actually operates and I love getting all these "hush" "hush" inside secrets about trades that I know nothing about - such as the waitress/waiter profession.

In Keep the Change, the author tackles a similar subject, but with a wider view - instead of it being about (mostly) his own experiences, he broadens his horizons to include the world of tipping in general with some interesting anecdotes that are quite engrossing.

In fact, that is what I truly enjoy reading when I find myself with this type of book and, unfortunately, at times, the author manages to make his book sound more like some kind of dissertation paper on the subject matter - instead of relying on a good old formula that worked so well in the first book.

Where the first book made me feel like a voyeur, privy to some great stories, this second one makes me feel as though I am reading a research paper. This is not to say that there aren't some great tidbits, but overall, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed with this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Larry R on February 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of both the Waiterrant book and blog, I was looking forward to this one. And the book is, in fact, well-executed fact-filled encyclopedia of tipping: its history, and current trends. But Keep the Change lacks the human, narrative style that makes the author's earlier work so enjoyable. When he lapses into stories, the book works best. But when he's reciting facts, it seems like he's just... well, reciting facts.

I'm still looking forward to whatever Steve does next. But I'm really hoping its a work of straight fiction. His occasional flirts in that direction on were very enjoyable; given the freedom of a full-length novel who knows how high he might soar.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Leslie VINE VOICE on November 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Ever feel clueless about tipping? Who gets a tip and who doesn't? How much should you leave? Lately it seems like tip jars are popping up everywhere, creating tipping anxiety for a large number of Americans. I include myself in that group. I know to give my hair stylist, waiter, tax driver and bartender a tip, but what about the barrista or the fast food worker? How about the guy at the car wash, or my auto mechanic? And how much do I give the delivery person? What do I do about the holidays? Whew.

Steve Dublanica has made a book about tipping interesting and entertaining. He traveled the county doing research observing, interviewing and even working with people in a multitude of industries where tipping is a significant part of the worker's income. Written in a humorous, witty and engaging style, it's as if he was chatting with me, telling me stories and at the same time explaining the ins and out of tipping.

He begins with a brief history and explains, for better or for worse, how it became such a large part of the American economy. He goes on to interview a wide assortment of workers including waiters, bartenders, hair stylists, spa workers, doormen, valets and casino dealers. Want to know who's cheap and who's generous? They will tell you. The valet doesn't want to see the Lexus pull up, they tend to give bad tips, but the guys driving big trucks give big tips. Do you tip your auto mechanic? It might be a good idea to do so. A little money spent now will get your car in and out of the shop faster the next time it breaks down. There are different types of tipping as the book will explain. There are tips as rewards, tips as a gift and those to ensure better service.

There is a lot to learn from this book. Some of the suggestions I was already practicing.
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