The Early Word

The first reviews are in for Keep the Change! Take a look!

“I’m not sure what the proper etiquette is for tipping authors, but we should all give a nice bonus to Steve Dublanica for writing such a funny and surprising book on this oft-overlooked part of everyday life”

A.J. Jacobs – Author of the New York Times Bestsellers The Year of Living Biblically and My Life as an Experiment. Thanks for the blurb A.J.!

Kirkus Reviews
September 1, 2010

The author of Waiter Rant (2008) 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.

Publisher’s Weekly
September 13, 2010

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

November 1, 2010

Dublanica, Steve (Author) Nov 2010. 320 p. Ecco, hardcover, $24.99. (9780061787287). 395.5. 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 bestselling 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

23 thoughts on “The Early Word”

  1. Douglas Merrick says:

    I found you on Twitter. So glad to see the Waiter finally getting some attention. It’s a rather humor filled job we have.

    Hope you’ll smile at some of my own observations at

    Thanks for your sense of humor!
    Doug M

  2. Terry says:


  3. Bob Dobbs says:

    Sounds like another winner. Congratulations, you’re a brand!

  4. bride says:

    I got married three days ago and badly wanted this book to give me some idea of who and how to tip. I see a big market for it!

  5. Michael Pelletier says:

    $60 billion? Wow, no wonder the IRS doesn’t want to apply the 26 USC 102 gift income rules to tips.

  6. Mike Taylor says:

    Seriously, a dollar for a cup of coffee? One that you queue for instead of having it brought to your table? I live in England, so the culture is very different here, but that is just startling. If coffee costs $2 (and surely it can’t be more than that?) you’re recommending tipping 50%?

  7. dinerjohn says:

    I read the advance uncorrected proof of Keep The Change several weeks ago. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t want to try to predict whether Keep The Change will make it to the NYT bestseller list.

  8. Gothamite Count says:

    Real positive dinerjohn. Real positive.

  9. Caffeine Addict says:

    Oh gosh, I wish the coffee I drank only cost 2$.

  10. mags says:

    Congrats Steve! You deserve it!!!

    ***hint, hint…when are you going to offer autographed copies of your books for sale? pretty please?! 🙂

  11. Ross says:

    Will this book be released in the uk? As someone who has enjoyed your blog from the very beginning I cannot wait to read this one, congrats on the reviews!

  12. Reg says:

    Congrats! You are, no doubt, good feeling to get a book out. Hope it flies – sounds like it will! 🙂

  13. Daria says:

    Well deserved – congrats! I LOVED your first book and can’t wait to read this one. Yay for you!

  14. American says:

    @Mike Taylor: In America, $2 is like a “low-end” coffee. The Waiter’s referring more to the people picking up $4-5 coffees at the Starbucks (though, I still think that’s a ridiculously high percentage for that… then again, I don’t drink coffee, so maybe I’m just missing something entirely).

  15. kcbelles says:

    Wahoo! WTG, Steve – nice reviews. I wish you as much success with this one as you got with the first! I can’t wait to read it.

    Mike Taylor, surely they have Starbucks or something similar wherever you are. I typically pay close to $5 for a cup of cappacino, and yeah, I always throw in a buck in the tip jar (they see me coming; my coffee’s ready when I get to the counter, usually).

  16. Holly says:

    @Mike Taylor, it’s not plain regular coffee that they’re talking about, it’s the kind of specialty beverages you’d find in a fancier coffee shop staffed by baristas. A medium soy green tea latte at my local coffee shop costs almost $5 with tax. So $1 would be a 20% tip (well, slightly more than 20% since the tip should be calculated before taxes). If it was just a matter of pouring a coffee out of a coffee pot and handing it to the customer, then I would agree with you, but when they have to make an espresso or latte and mix a bunch of ingredients together (like bartenders do) then it’s more of a service, and should be tipped accordingly.

  17. Lion says:

    $2 for a coffee? As you say in England, you’re having a laugh mucker.

  18. well done fillet says:

    Best of luck with this Steve….

  19. Michelle says:

    Can’t wait to upload your new book to my Kindle!

  20. alcoholicpoet says:

    i love waiter rant. great writing. helpful insights. i’m a generous tipper. 20-25% even for mediocre service. i’m all for tipping servers well. they can’t make a living otherwise.

    but i don’t get the coffee and donuts thing. why should i pay an extra dollar on top of the outrageous prices for someone, anyone, to pour me a black coffee or throw two glazed donuts into a bag?

    can someone please explain?

  21. nicole says:

    I absolutely loved your book…I’ve been in the service industry…waitress/bartender since i was 16. I couldn’t put it down… I finished it in one day. So many laugh out loud moments! You are a very talented writer and I only hope I get to meet you someday! Keep em coming please! Come visit Utah, get some skiing in!! Best of luck to you!

  22. nicole says:

    i was talking about waiter rant…I will be sure to pick up your newest book! I cant wait to read it. I most definitely will recommend it to my bad tippers!

  23. Tard says:

    Honestly, I found the book aggravating because apparently I’m supposed to tip just about everyone who so much as looks my way now or I’m a piker?

    The part where $1 per drink wasn’t acceptable – $10 drinks is NOT the norm in America.

    The ‘tricks’ played to shame people into tipping more are nothing but hucksterism.

    Of course, I don’t eat out, don’t fly or stay in hotels, never use a valet service and I transport my own furniture, to say nothing of not being a top or bottom so I guess my UPS man and barber will have to do.

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