KEEP THE CHANGE by Steve Dublanica


A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of Gratuity
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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 in Waiter Rant, Dublanica makes a point of detailing the ways in which poorly tipped employees may seek revenge.

A hilariously uncensored etiquette diatribe.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-178728-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2010


NonfictionMALLED by Caitlin Kelly
by Caitlin Kelly