Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To Pay or Not to Pay

Imagine getting together with 3 to 5 acquaintances at a restaurant for dinner; not close friends, but acquaintances. The dinner is enjoyable. It's just one table and the bills are not separated (everything's in one). One person looks at the bill, does some quick math and says, "Why don't we just split it evenly?" For example, $20 each or $30 each, or $50 each.

You take a quick look at it and realize that yours was a more inexpensive dish, you had no alcohol unlike your companions, and you had no dessert, unlike your companions. So in the $20 scenario your portion was really only $15. In the $30 scenario, yours was only $20. And in the $50 scenario, yours was only $35. More or less.

Would you speak up and say, "Ummmm, actually, I only owe '$X.XX'" ? Or would you let it go and just pay the extra bit.

If the next time you all got together the same person said the same thing, and once again clearly consumed more, would you say anything this second time?

I'm most curious how normally handle this. I'm also wondering if there are any cultural differences in regard to how it is handled?


Anonymous said...

Certainly on the first dinner I would just go "dutch" and pay. Usually we would always do this. It is simply easier. It does remind me of good buddy's on-again off-again dinner date, who we dine out as couples with once in awhile. The independent gal seeming without embarassment always pulls out her little calculator to get it down precisely. None of us are cheap so mostly we would just pay any top up and ensure a decent tip, just to keep the peace and face. Begs the question though...what's up with my good buddy in all this??

Pelalusa said...

Who are though, dear Anonymous soul?

nachtwache said...

If you have dinner with these people every so often and you could ask for separate bills. It's difficult to tell someone they're basically sponging off the rest. You could also order something a bit more expensive, then you wouldn't have to feel used. Is the person hard up for cash?