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

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

Written by Steve Dublanica

Narrated by Dan John Miller


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

Written by Steve Dublanica

Narrated by Dan John Miller

ratings:
4/5 (11 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9781423396079
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Tipping is huge in America. Almost everyone leaves at least one tip every day. More than five million American workers depend on them, and we spend $66 billion on tips each year. And everyone recognizes that queasy feeling - in bars and restaurants, barbershops and beauty parlors, hotels and strip clubs, and everywhere else - when the check arrives or the tip jar looms. Omnipresent yet poorly understood, tipping has worked its way into almost every part of daily life.

In Keep the Change, bestselling author Steve Dublanica dives into this unexplored world, in a comical yet serious attempt to turn himself into the Guru of the Gratuity. As intrepid and irreverent as Michael Moore or A. J. Jacobs, Dublanica travels the country to meet strippers and shoeshine men, bartenders, bellhops, bathroom attendants, and many others, all in an effort to overcome his own sweaty palms when faced with those perennial questions: Should I tip? How much? Throughout, he explores why tipping has spread; he explains how differences in gender, age, ethnicity, and nationality affect our attitudes; and he reveals just what the cabdriver or deliveryman thinks of us after we've left a tip.

Written in the lively style that made Waiter Rant such a hit, Keep the Change is a fun and enlightening quest that will change the way we think - and tip.
Released:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9781423396079
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About 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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4.0
11 ratings / 9 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    When I got Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity in the mail, I was a bit clueless myself as to why I requested it from the publisher. Then I remembered. The night before requesting a review copy of this hilarious book, I had eaten out with Boyfriend. And I was paying. And, as usual, I was totally freaked out about what to tip. I want to be that nice customer who leaves a decent tip, not the crabby one who barely tips at all. But I am clueless when it comes to tipping, and Keep the Change by Steve Dublanica definitely helped.Keep the Change is basically what it says in the title. Dublanica, famous for his book Waiter Rant (which I've never read but want to get), goes on a sort of quest. He divides the book into chapters based on the different tipping scenarios (such as Chapter 3: Doormen, Bellhops, Maids, and Concierges, or Chapter 7: Delivery Men and Movers) and then tells the readers about his discoveries. He interviewed a ton of people, which I loved.This book was hilarious. But be forewarned. This book deals with one of the highest tipped professions: Strippers. And also prostitutes, and dominatrixes, and the book even opens with a strip club scene. Dublanica explains what these women do (and what they consider good tips for their work) in a way that (to me anyway) was eye-opening. He doesn't get all into detail (I'd say it's PG-13), and it's very interesting. I just wish he had included information about their male counterparts. What if I wanted to go to a male strip club? Would I tip the same amount?I liked how Dublanica did his research and tells the reader all about the history of tipping. When I started reading the history chapter, I was worried it would be really boring. After all, how exciting can the history of tips be? But he presented it in a great way. Seeing the words for tips in different languages was a real eye opener, and I agree that it makes sense for tipping to have started in bars.What I loved even more than learning how to properly tip was getting to "meet" so many people in so many different professions. These people have stories, some heartbreaking and some heartwarming. We learn about how they ended up where they are now. Dublanica has a great sense of humor, and I think that (plus all the great interviews) is really what makes this book great. He says some hilarious things.
  • (3/5)
    Reviewed on my blog: Escapism Through Books

    Waiter Rant has been on my radar for a long time, but for some reason just never got around to picking it up. I waitressed for a period of about 3 months back when I was 16, and even from such a short amount of time, I had some crazy stories! I've worked directly with customers in a service industry in some way or another since then (until last July anyhow), so the premise of Waiter Rant and all that it entailed was appealing to me. Sharing experience stories with people who've been there and who know what it's like to be on the receiving end of someone else's bad day with a smile plastered on your face is only one of the aspects that appealed to me about the book. But I'd also heard that it was funny, and I love funny. And then there's the added bonus of maybe people on the other side of life seeing a bit of perspective in the "people in the service industry are people not slaves" variety...

    Anyway, when I saw that the author of Waiter Rant had a new book coming out, I requested a review copy. I worked in the service industry, as I mentioned, since I was about 16, but only the 3 month waitressing segment involved tipping. Still I considered myself to be a good tipper anyway... Until now. I've learned quite a lot from this book, and find that my tipping habits don't quite make the grade except in the case of restaurant gratuities. In almost every other category, I'm abysmally ignorant of correct tipping etiquette.

    My tipping habits:
    - I tip 20% of the total whenever we go out to a restaurant. (Grade: A)
    {Industry standard is 15% of the bill, including drinks.}
    - I tip $1 a drink at bars. (Grade: C)
    {Should be approx. 20% of the bill. I do not give myself a lower grade here because drink prices are pretty reasonable in my area: $2-4/beer/shot or $7-9/mixed drink.}
    - I did not know to tip the doorman at hotels. (Grade: F)
    {Shame!!}
    - I tip cabdrivers, but generally far below average. (Grade: D)
    {Should be around 20% of the fare. But in my defense, I don't use cabs often!}
    - I didn't know to tip car mechanics or detailers. (Grade: F)
    {Should be $20-50 or so, depending on the work.}
    ... This is getting ugly, so I'm going to stop now.
    If an A grade is 5 points, B is 4 points, C is 3 points, D is 1 point and F is 0, my average would be... 1.8 - D minus. Ouch.

    So, needless to say, I feel like I've learned something from Steve here. I feel like I've been something of a tipping stiff in my life... and this despite the fact that I've worked for tips in my life and know how hard they are to come by and live on. But, the good thing is that Steve has given me the means to mend my ways, and I intend to follow them. I kind of feel like keeping this book with me at all times, kind of like a Tipping Bible, to be used in times of need (when stepping out of a cab, or into a hotel, etc) and containing words to live my life by.

    That might seem a little extreme, but honestly I don't think so. Steve represents the facts of the working-for-tips way of life, and they aren't pretty. I knew that wait staff is usually underpaid, which is why I tip 20% rather than 15%, but I had no idea that was the case with so many other service jobs. It makes me rather ashamed of myself for not realizing this was the case, and corporate America for allowing and encouraging this kind of workforce exploitation. Steve presents the situation as he sees it, and in often brutally honest, no-holds-barred way, but still with an edge of wit and humor that makes the message a little easier to swallow. It still packs a wallop, at least for me it did, but it's a necessary evil to learn these things. Ignorance is bliss... for the ignorant. For the person on the other end, another's ignorance isn't going to put food on the table or a roof over their family's heads.

    I found this book to be very informative and entertaining while still providing me with information I might never have learned on my own. I appreciate that. And not only did it serve both of these purposes, but Steve seems to also something of a philosopher and has an ability to understand human nature. Probably this is from so much time working with people, but it's refreshing to see a book about human nature that's not pretentious and not full of drivel. It's refreshing to see a book which doesn't feel like its author is above the reader somehow. This is just a regular guy, trying to understand a prevalent issue. I liked that.

    So I will definitely be going out this weekend and picking up Waiter Rant. I know it's a little backwards, but better late than never, right? I definitely recommend this book for anyone who is confused by tipping (as I was!)... And remember - when in doubt, ask. :)
  • (3/5)
    Not written for the working class...how many of us need to know how to tip for a NY hair stylist? He doesn't tell how to tip your local beautician. Definitely geared toward guys (lots on prostitutes and dancers) and big cities. I asked a young friend who cleans in motels about her tips. She said "It's nice when you get, but most people don't." That's the Midwest for you.Written entertainingly, if self-centered.
  • (4/5)
    An interesting read. I felt like I had this on my wishlist forever and finally bought it for brain candy for two recent trips. The book started slow when he was looking into research on and history of tips but moved a lot more quickly when he got into his own anecdotes and research. I've read the author's previous work and enjoy his style of writing. It also made me very conscious of my own tipping habits. Some of it is completely irrelevant to me (the sex side) but in hotels, food/retail there are a lot more tipping situations then I had previously thought of. This also dovetailed nicely into [Concierge Confidential] which I read later in the week which also touched on the areas of tipping.
  • (4/5)
    About: Dublanica (The Waiter of the book and blog Waiter Rant) sets out to become a tipping guru and learn all theses is to know about tipping. Cabbies, strippers, waiters and shoe shiners are among the large group of tipped workers he interviews. Pros: Wonderfully written, engaging, topic is well covered, will make you tip higher,Cons. Ends with an appendix on race and tipping. While necessary, it seemed an odd ending But I don't know where else in the book it would have worked.Grade: A-
  • (4/5)
    I didn't enjoy this book as much as I've enjoyed Steve's blog, and yet I can't say it's a bad choice - it's well written, clear, engaging, and I appreciated the backstory behind tipping in some of the professions. For example, Steve discusses the tip jar at Starbucks phenomenon, which also occurs at other fancy coffee shops. The baristas explain the work that goes into preparing a fancy coffee drink; Steve tries it, repeatedly, and it takes a whole day to get one almost right. He then equates this kind of work to the work a bartender does - if you tip that guy, why not $1 for your barista? Insights like that challenged my current thinking about tipping. I also appreciated guidelines for those times when I have no idea what to tip, or whom, or how the tip changes the way you might be treated.Steve is always looking for a bigger picture, so the book is not a collection of fragmented stories - he also explores throughout why tipping makes us uncomfortable, some of the history of tipping, and what tipping means to the workers whose livelihoods depend on it because the price of goods does not reflect the cost of labor. It is definitely worth reading, and is both informational and engaging. Still, it lacks some of the ring of deep experience that came out of Waiter Rant.
  • (4/5)
    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. I don’t like to use valet parking because I’m fussy about my car. When I do use the valet I tend to tip up front so my car gets a safe parking space and not double parked somewhere. And you don’t even want to know what one valet did to a habitual cheapskate. I didn’t know to tip the pet groomer and while I tip delivery people such as the pizza guy I didn’t know to tip the furniture delivery men. The few times I’ve played blackjack I didn’t realize I should tip the dealer. Maybe that’s why I got separated from my money so quickly. There is also an entire chapter on tipping in strip clubs, phone sex workers and prostitutes. Interesting, but not something I’ll ever use!The author is a former waiter and it shows in the way he presents the information. There is a darker side to the industries that make their workers earn their pay through tips and he does an excellent job of exposing that. Many of these people are paid so little by their employer that on a bad day when tips are scarce they will make less than minimum wage per hour.Keep The Change is more than just a guide to tipping although it is very useful in that regard alone. It’s also a commentary on the tipping system in the US and why tipping won’t be going away any time soon. Once you understand how employees dependent on tips for their income are compensated or, in some cases not, by their employer you realize that the tip is their income and part of the cost of the service. In the end, if you can’t afford the tip you can’t afford the service.I recommend this book for a good inside look at tipping in the service industry told by people who have experienced the work. Plus, it’s an enjoyable and entertaining read.
  • (4/5)
    I read the Waiter Rant blog ‘back in the day’. I never read the Waiter Rant book – no real reason, just never picked it up. Waiter Rant was/is great and funny because Steve Dublanica is one of those guys who know how to tell a story and his work at the restaurant kept him well supplied with characters to tell stories about. Sooooo, a book on tipping?? Where’s the great stories in that?I picked up the book intending to just scan it to see where he was going with the whole tipping thing and I was hooked. I read the whole book in about 3 hours. When the stories stopped coming to Steve, he went out and found some stories. He went and talked to people in all kinds of occupations about tipping. Personally, I’m a middle aged married woman and I doubt I’ll ever need to know what to tip sex workers and strippers, but Steve made it interesting to read about anyway!I don’t necessarily agree with all of the “Tipping Guru’s” advice on tipping, though. You see, he asked the recipient what THEY thought they should be tipped. Everyone thinks that they’re overworked and underpaid, so naturally they ALL thought they should get at least 20% - all the time. A busy bar where a bartender doesn’t have time to do or say more to a customer except “What can I get for you?” doesn’t warrant a $1 tip for opening a beer – in my opinion. That’s $120 an hour!But again, getting people talking about tipping is the whole point of the book!
  • (4/5)
    This seminary student turned waiter turned blogger turned author set out to become “the Guru of the Gratuity.” I thought that his first book, Waiter Rant, was a fun, light read, better than I was expecting, so I was happy to give this one a try.I'm a self-serve kinda gal living in a self-serve kinda community so I don't have a lot of tipping angst. Still, there are those occasions when I don't know if I should tip or how much I should tip. I thought that looking through a former waiter's eyes would be a good place to find the answers.I found a good deal more than that. The book was sometimes funny, as I expected. There were tipping guidelines. But as much as anything, the book was a social commentary containing some psychology, some philosophy, a dash of religious viewpoint, and some seriously good insight.And serious research, as the several-hundred dollar tab for one evening at a strip joint in Vegas proves. Hey, I never said he did his research in a lab.The beginning was a bit dry, too much information for me on the origin of the term “tipping.” and I didn't quite follow some of his logic. Any dryness disappeared in the description of the tipping habits of Lexus drivers, and of Buffy and Tyler. No offense to Lexus drivers, some of my best friends are Lexus drivers, but it was really funny. (Truth in advertising: Actually, I don't think I know anyone, other than casually, who drives a Lexus.)Mr. Dublanica doesn't cover just the professions that normally come to mind when I think of tipping: waiters, hair stylists, the obvious layer that most of us see on a regular basis. He looks at parking attendants, doormen, shoe shiners, hotel housekeepers. He also delves into tipping for the sex trade, including some information about an S/M “dungeon” that I could have gone to my grave without knowing and not felt overly ignorant. What was most important to me was not how much I should tip a dominatrix but that he gave faces to the people working in the trade. People were amazingly open with him, and he looked beyond the trade and into their hearts. Sounds cheesy, but he did. He also showed how some of the people working in the service industry see us, their customers. Not always flattering. And then there was the down-and-out couple who stopped their cab ride short of their destination and walked the rest of the way so that they could give the driver a $2 tip of the $10 total they had to their names.For those with tender sensibilities, you can skip the sex trade parts, although I found that some of the most interesting. There are some bad words sprinkled throughout, but nothing you haven't heard before.The way some of the people who work for tips are cheated should be and often is criminal. Kickbacks are rampant. So next time it comes to leaving a tip, don't be a flea or a schnorer. And read the book.A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.