Thursday, September 07, 2006

Check Please

So you are with a group of old college friends, or maybe high school, or even just a group of guys from around your neighborhood. Someone sets up a dinner out. It turns into just one laugh after another. A few appetizers, good food (hopefully a steak), and even some wine may be added to the few cocktails everyone has been enjoying.

Then the check, there are different personalities and it shows when a check arrives at the table. I've even experimented by just sitting back when the check came and wait for someone else to figure out what we all should pay. It fails most of the time and it seems there are one or two people at every gathering who are given the check (not to cover on your own, unless you are with family, your event, etc) to made the determination of the split. I know it's not a math thing, some of the people I will be with are computer programmers, even teachers, so I know they could figure out the cut (I would not even look down on a guy who took out his cell phone to do the calculations for a big group). Just people seem to want someone else to "be in charge", maybe?

But, I digress, the reason I think is that every group wants someone powerful enough to shut down the inevitable "But I only had the Salad" guy! We all know what I'm talking about. I like many people find ourselves in a new group from time to time; either a new job, new town, who knows and we bump into the "my share is..." guy. I and most of friends have weeded them out of gatherings a long time ago, so it's the new situations that are tough. Why is it that in every group there are people who just feel cheap? I'm not saying that if two guys hit a pub and one guy gets a huge dinner and drinks and the other just a pint or two they should split evenly the bill. If you have a "friend" who does that you need to find a new drinking pal. But when you go out to dinner with a group of guys you should expect to pay an equal portion or the bill. If you eat/drink light one time, you might eat/drink heavy the next. It should all equal out! The only caveat is the guy who always orders the $200 truffles on his pasta when everyone else is just eating $50 steaks. This guy too needs to be culled from the herd.

13 comments:

SLC said...

I HATE situations like that. They always make me extremely uncomfortable so I avoid them as much as possible. The last time my husband and I went out with a group of neighbors (5 couples) we went to a Japanese Steakhouse where each couple was able to get an individual bill. We had a blast and it was even better not having that uncomfortable paying situation at the end of the evening.

George said...

I've never seen what the big deal is. You went out with the expectation of going out to have a good time, so presumably you brought money with you. If there are 6 people and the check is $180, it's $30, plus tip, no questions asked. It's always annoyed me when someone will literally pull out a calculator to divide the bill.

P.S. My personal pet peeve is people who debate, and are cheap with tipping as well.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. I liketo go out with people but because of situations I order what I feel I can afford. I go with enough money to cover that amount plus a generous tip. I have been caught enough times when people have taken advantage of me or my husband and we have paid more than our share. Others in that situations that order continuously and drink continuously are the ones who usually want to split the bill evenly.

Tod said...

George: I agree with you. Why be cheap with a tip. Unless the waiter total messed up or was rude you should aways tip, it's part of the cost of goingout

Tod said...

Like I said, those who "abuse' the split tab need to be left behind on dinners too. Nothing is more rude than a guy who ALWAYS over orders expecting everyone to cover his excess...

Tod said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Preppy Kiki said...

Now that I am older than dirt, I have found rules for myself. First, if I invite people to dinner I always pick up the tab and they pay the tip. Second, if it is a "group" gathering then it goes like this. New people, they pay for what they ordered only, old friends, split equally; except now when I go out due to my diet issues, I have to order entrée that have a good portion of meat, and they usually cost more; therefore, I add more to my share. As for the tip everyone adds to the tip.

Monogram Momma said...

we always just split the bill equally when we're out with a regular group of friends. It all evens out eventually. There was one time that one woman, new to the group, said "But Mike only had 2 beers and everyone else had 3 or 4 so we shouldn't have to pay the same!" Seriuosly, if you're going ot nickel and dime a beer or two, then I hope you're not waiting by the phone for your next invitation.
As for the tip thing, my husband has always been a big tipper, but ever since having children he has become an even bigger tipper since those waiters have to have extra patience with us and bear with our cheerios all over the place.

j said...

I have to disagree. I'm in my mid-20s and while some of my friends work for banks, brokerage firms, etc. others work for non-profits, magazines, and other lower-paid jobs. I fall into the latter catagory, and while I do enjoy an expensive meal on occasion, I usually will order a salad or less expensive entree because it's all I can afford. I don't want to be stuck paying for someone else's steak when I am purposely trying to be frugal.

Ksk said...

You know, I have never seen this done, but what if:

At the beginning of the meal I know I only have $35 to spend. These are my friends and they like me. I am going to say up front: hey, you guys know I haven't won the lottery yet, so I am just going to have the salad. Is that ok with everyone?

Humor/honesty. I do think that everyone should be able to join the group even if they don't make piles of $$$.

On the other hand, the cheap skate (not the same person as described above) is usually the one that makes 10x what everyone else makes. He's the one with the calculator telling everyone how much to pay! ;)

Sarah said...

If you are going to "cull from the herd" the people who enjoy entree salads and the people who like to splurge on something special, in the interest of avoiding a simple "who is going to pay what" chat at the end of a meal out - that seems infinitely more tacky than wanting to pay for what you ordered.

George said...

In all honesty, if the situation requires it, just asking for separate checks normally avoids any confrontations or debates...

Circe said...

I had a situation that goes like this and you can tell me if I was right to be a little peeved.

As a favor to a friend, I meet a guy who was in town on business to give him some advice on moving to Washington DC. I had never met the man, I chose a moderate priced restaurant. I was doing this as a FAVOR.

When the check came I ended up paying for the whole dinner. No offer of even splitting it. Just expected me to pick it up.

Am I wrong to be a tad ticked? or to think that he was rude?