Checks and Balances: Paying the Check in a Restaurant

How does one handle the situation of paying the bill in a restaurant when out with a group? This is a very sticky situation, especially in today's economy where many have to watch their spending. I have always believed that each person should pay their own bill in a group situation ... "Separate checks please." "Why?" you ask ... or do you already know the answer based on personal experiences. I know there are times when you have to 'eat the expense', so figure it out before going in. I am one to speak up and ask for a separate check based on the fact I never drink, eat little, and get mad if I have to pay for someone's indulgences at my expense.

Here are some possible scenarios. What would you do?

From a client in NYC: Many of my friends go out and celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, often in a group, where 10-15 people attend. Everyone goes to a nice restaurant, ordering drinks and dinner. In today's recession, we all like to conserve our money, yet these events can easily cost big $$ dollars. Recently, I went out to such a party, had a great dinner, but the cost was close to $100 per person, over my current budget. Some people were non-drinkers and ate very little. Yet, when the check came, it was split evenly. Sometimes, these events reinforce themselves in the fact that many know beforehand that the check will be split, so they eat and/or drink a lot, often ordering the most expensive things on the menu. In addition, some friends visit late and have a couple of drinks and then leave early - making everyone pay their bar tab. What is one to do if you are a non-drinker vegan, - eat very little and have to pay a high cost? One friend says to just suck it up and this is all you can do.





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