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Old 06-13-2012, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Whittier, CA
494 posts, read 1,603,713 times
Reputation: 452

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Me and my GF hooked up with a good friend and his wife for dinner yesterday.. my GF didn't drink any alcohol, I had 3 drinks, my friend and his wife had 4 drinks between them...however their entrées were MUCH more expensive than ours (one was 200% as expensive and the other was 150% as expensive). Both of them make WAY MORE money than us, but we are doing OK ourselves so we're not poor.

When it came time to pay the bill I felt awkward asking the waiter for a split check AFTER the dinner was already over and we put in 2 cards and we agreed to split the whole thing 50/50.

However I ended up paying about $20 more than I should've. Now, I don't want to sound petty and certainly I don't mind actually paying $20 for my friends at all..infact I have picked up the entire check on occasion, I do realize good friends are valuable.. but it's more about being acknowledged that I paid more rather than the fact slipping through the cracks.

It's also something I don't want to make a habit of where the entire excess responsibility always falls on my shoulders because others order more expensive items and I tend to order cheaper ones to stay within budget - which turns out to be counter-intuitive since I end up paying for the excess anyway in a 50/50 split.

Another fact is that some people always seem to lecture others about how they should NOT be cheap yet they themselves are tightwads...many of the people I have gone to lunch/dinner with don't put enough money to cover tip/tax etc. for their items and the bill is then short. Either people need help calculating their share because they are so poor at math or they are trying to be cheap themselves!

Sorry for the long rant How do you guys handle check splitting etiquette. Do you let small amounts $10-20 just slide? Would you bother only about an excess larger than a particular amount?
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:22 AM
 
654 posts, read 909,676 times
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I'd either have cash, or ask for separate checks up front.

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to pay for more than what you ordered.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:24 AM
 
508 posts, read 1,647,813 times
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My husband and I always got 50-50 with our friends. If it's a group larger, we just split the whole bill by number of people within the group. It's never been an issue for us, and no one's seemed to complain either way. It makes it easier. That being said, I wouldn't take offense if the other party asked for split checks either.

In regards to how much what someone orders costs-- it was your choice to order something cheaper. We do make a bit of an effort to stay around the same price range as our group as we don't want to go extravagantly expensive and offend someone, but at the end of the day, you chose what you ate and that's really the only thing you can control. Like I said, nothing wrong with splitting checks either, but I wouldn't fault them on their choices.

Funny side story-- a couple of years ago, a group of friends and I had gone to some very local celebrations in Latin America. About 5 of us went out for a side of the road type of breakfast-- it was a $2.25 plate, all consisting of all the same things. Four of us ordered a $0.25 juice with ours, one guy just got water. When we went to pay the $12.25 bill (plus tip, let's make it $15.00 for simplicity), we all threw in $3.00-- probably the cheapest bill I've ever had in my life. This guy actually told us we owed him something like $0.20. I know that's a hugely different circumstance than the one you described, but it left such a bad and petty taste in our mouths. He was a 'friend of a friend' and we never made the mistake of dining with him again.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Whittier, CA
494 posts, read 1,603,713 times
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From now on I will just be upfront and ask for split checks, better that way The friends here in question didn't order the expensive stuff because they wanted to put the cost on someone else, they just dine in that way They have expensive tastes.

On this occasion the friend did ask me how I want to do the check and it was me that suggested a 50/50 split but I actually wanted to have split checks. I opted to go 50/50 because I didn't want to sound cheap.

Usually when we are just 2 of us guys we always use split checks but since this was a table of 4 it got a bit more complicated as the waiter had to know which items belong to which couple etc. Some waiters make a big deal about doing all that stuff but I think they are TIPPED to do that, it annoys me when they don't.

LaFemme, $0.20? That's hilarious!!! Thankfully I have never met anyone THAT cheap!
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:42 AM
 
Location: North Texas
23,989 posts, read 32,798,789 times
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I say up front that I want to split the check.

I'm not subsidizing my friends' meals unless I'm taking them out in a group for their birthday or something.

That's how I roll.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
37,088 posts, read 45,594,679 times
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We have been out to dinner with two other couples. All three couples were in the same financial circumstances. Instead of splitting the bill, one of the husbands insisted on figuring out exactly what his portion of the bill was. I can tell you that my impression of him was that he seemed like an anal old lady.
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:48 PM
 
Location: NW Indiana
40,200 posts, read 15,174,148 times
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I agree with those who say to simply decide prior to the meal that you'll ask for separate checks. Don't make a big deal out of it. Simply ask your friends prior to walking into the restaurant, "Would you mind if we ask for separate checks?" Be nonchalant. I suspect they'll say, "Fine. No problem!"

Otherwise, if you don't want to ask for separate checks, go to a restaurant that would fit better into your budget even if the other people order more expensive entrees than you do.

.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:09 PM
 
508 posts, read 1,647,813 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ducviloxi View Post
LaFemme, $0.20? That's hilarious!!! Thankfully I have never met anyone THAT cheap!
This guy was strange in many ways, but we certainly never thought he'd go to that level. It blew my mind and I still shake my head about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJSinger View Post
I agree with those who say to simply decide prior to the meal that you'll ask for separate checks. Don't make a big deal out of it. Simply ask your friends prior to walking into the restaurant, "Would you mind if we ask for separate checks?" Be nonchalant. I suspect they'll say, "Fine. No problem!"

Otherwise, if you don't want to ask for separate checks, go to a restaurant that would fit better into your budget even if the other people order more expensive entrees than you do.

.
I agree with this... it's really not a big deal. I honestly would never care if someone asked for separate checks, but if you feel embarrassed, pick restaurants that are a bit more budget friendly so you aren't hit so hard.

Like I said above, we try to follow the lead of our guests to make sure we don't overstep. We tend to have pricey taste and are cognizant about that as we almost always split evenly and know that it doesn't always work out fair. We usually just get a bottle of wine for the table so drinks are even too.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:10 PM
 
Location: NW Indiana
40,200 posts, read 15,174,148 times
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I was in a very awkward situation one time when friends invited me to join their dinner group. Once a month, this group of four couples goes out to dinner together. The time they invited me, the one who's my closest friend in the group and who knows that I'm on a budget (the other couples are all white-collar professionals who are very comfortable financially) said that the restaurant they chose is an Italian place that has some fairly inexpensive items on its menu. I accepted the invitation.

At the restaurant, I had one glass of wine and a $10 entree. My portion of the bill should've been less than $20, including the tip.

The four couples ordered two bottles of champagne, as well as wine and mixed drinks. Plus they ordered appetizers and desserts. As it turned out, it was the birthday of one group member, and the dinner club has a rule that when it's someone's birthday, that person and his/her spouse don't pay for their meals that night and the other members of the group split the cost of the birthday couple's meals. The huge bill was split into four (three couples plus lil' ol' me) and my portion of the bill, including an uber-generous tip, was almost $60. Even though the couples all know that I'm single and don't make nearly the money that they make, they looked at me and asked me for my one-fourth of the total bill. I was mortified. But not wanting to cause a scene, I simply handed over the money; lesson learned. Since then, I've turned down several invitations to join them for dinner. Now, I only accept their invitations for casual potluck parties at their homes where we all bring some wine and a dish to share. (By the way, my girlfriend apologized to me later and said she was terribly embarrassed that the group asked me to pay 1/4 of the total tab.)

If there's an obvious disparity in what the parties in a restaurant order, the person or couple whose share is much less than the others' share should not be expected to split the bill evenly.

That's not to say people should sit at the table in a fancy restaurant, calculators out, figuring out to the penny how much each person owes. I just feel that if there's only one check the people who ordered more should be able to come up with a ballpark figure in their head of what they owe and throw in the extra $20 or however much it would take to be fair to the others.

The simple solution is to decide in advance to request separate checks. Most restaurants won't do separate checks for parties of 6 or more, but for 4 people it's usually not an issue.

.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:16 PM
 
10,452 posts, read 10,624,444 times
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I'm usually too lazy to get my friend to read the whole menu and therefore order the same thing and it costs the same, so 50/50 ends up being fair.
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