You’ll remember Dublanica as the author of the bitingly funny “Waiter Rant” blog and the follow-up 2008 book of the same title. After discovering that his treatise on the trials and tribulations of waiting tables had turned him into a de facto “gratuity guru,” he set out to earn the title in earnest.
The result is an entertaining and informative guide to tipping, loosely organized by profession. Though humorous, the book does address a universally shared anxiety: when and what to tip who? Dublanica intends to help the reader navigate the winding, treacherous byways of tipping and arrive at a more enjoyable experience, whether it is dining out, traveling, getting your dog groomed, or receiving a lap dance. Dublanica interviewed and worked alongside people in these professions, resulting in entertaining horror stories and useful advice on tipping straight from the professionals.
Take his chapter on hotel staff, for example. Although the doorman does not have to be tipped simply for opening the door for you, pretty much every other service a doorman may provide warrants a single or two: directions, recommendations, and taxi-hailing, for example. Maids should be tipped $2-3 a day in medium-range hotels; and since a different housekeeper may clean your room each day, it is better to leave a tip every day instead of leaving one bigger one when you check out.
Dublanica also exposes the practice of “buying the door:” in big cities, hotel doormen often receive monetary rewards or perks from companies in return for recommending their services. This usually applies to cab companies and limo services but could also apply to flower shops, spa services, and many other services. He discovers the same practice in his chapter on cab drivers. Drivers are often asked for recommendations on nightlife and get kickbacks for taking fares to certain establishments.
If knowledge of the trials of service workers and appreciation of the work they do are not enough to make you reform your cheapskate ways, perhaps threats will do the trick. Service workers can be quite imaginative when it comes to getting revenge on bad tippers. My favorite is the parking valet’s so-called “Dirt-Butt Scoot.” You’ll have to read the book to find out what this is, but I’ll give you a hint: it’s not very nice. The many anecdotes along these lines are eye-opening, to say the least.
Despite these scary scenarios, the overarching theme of this book, and the sense that you will carry away with you after reading it, is that most of these professionals depend on tips to survive and tipping them adequately is not only a sign of respect for what they do, but will ultimately come back around in the form of improved service. Despite getting a lot of mileage out of the horror stories related to him by service workers, and being quite entertaining to boot, Dublanica shows appreciation and respect for the jobs these people do and conveys that to the reader in a constructive manner.
Check the WRL Catalog for Keep the Change