Monday, November 1, 2010

Review: Keep the Change by Steve Dublanica

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

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.

Example: Dublanica worked as a waiter for years, and this line cracked me up:
Page 31: "Waiting tables can be a real mind game, and servers aren't above engaging in psychological warfare."  (talking about how badly waiters want tips)

Another great line I thought was funny (you may not share my sense of humor, but my family has a long-dead relative who was a bit crazy and nearly went blind while praying to the sun gods..)-Page 32: "And like ancient cave dwellers who didn't understand that the sun is a gigantic fusion reactor ninety-nine million miles away and instead, turned it into a deity worthy of human sacrifice, waiters have tried wrapping their heads around the mystery of tipping by cooking up some pretty interesting metaphysical systems."

This book was pretty helpful.  Not only do I now know what to tip at a restaurant, I am now prepared to tip in almost any other circumstance, even that poor bathroom attendant at the Erie County Fair who I've never tipped.  (Okay, Dublanica used to do the same thing, so I'm not that bad of a person!)

I recommend this book.  It's interesting and funny, and definitely worth the reading time.  It's the kind of book you could keep on a coffee or bedside table and just read a chapter here, a chapter there.  I'd love a sequel.

And now for some quotes:
**This was a review book and may have been edited or altered since I received my copy.  Some of my page numbers or quotes might be off because of this.
Page 116: Giving dating advice to us women- "Of course, some guys are just assholes about how women look, but girls, they're probably not worth getting to know."
(I should mention that Dublanica does swear once in a while..)
Page 33: "There were quite a few times I saw servers ready to ritually sacrifice a busboy so they could make th rent."

And ah yes-The BUFFALO, NY mention :)  Holla to my people!
Page 140: "Sandy, a pizza delivery girl near BUFFALO told me...."
-Really?!  Yay!  Near Buffalo means she could even work at one of the suburban pizza joints I frequent :)
-P.S. Buffalo really is awesome. <3

And a quote writers might understand:
Page 279: "Writing is like getting into a knife fight with yourself in a phone booth."

In the end, Dublanica makes some discoveries about tipping.  I won't give it away, but I must say it makes sense and the more I think about it, the more I agree with him.

Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity hits stores Tuesday November 2nd.

Title: Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of Gratuity
Author: Steve Dublanica
Date of Publication: November 2nd, 2010
Number of Pages: 320
Genre: Non-fiction
Source: review copy from publisher


  1. I've read parts of Waiter's Rants and I do like his sense of humor. I can see where this one would be helpful and interesting!

  2. I used to read his big pretty often, until the success went to his head. Then on, his posts became more snarky, arrogant, even. I spotted reading after that...