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.
- Someone is hosting an event, or party, so they pay and you play, eat, drink and make merry - within limits of what is provided or order an extra drink and pay on your own. This one is easy.
- You are taking one person out for their birthday - so you pay.
- You and another friend are taking a third friend out, so you split the bill. It gets sticky when the group gets bigger ...
- The dinner is hosted by someone for a special occasion and nothing is decided about payment until the get-together is over. Should the person who eats very little, and does not order drinks or dessert, pay as much as others who order expensive meals and drinks, generally knowing they are going to split the check?
- A man and a woman get together for dinner. Who pays ... the man... the woman ... they split the check? individual checks? Does he pay if it leads to sex?
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