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Friday, March 15, 2013

304

Paying Your Share and When You Can't

The "Ms. Opinionated" advice column over at Bitch Magazine had a pretty great discussion yesterday, sparked by That Chick Who Doesn't Pay Her Share at the Group Dinner coming clean. No, you hate her, I know! But this one is really open and vulnerable about it, and how her friends all started making more money, and she didn't, and the places got pricier, and wine and cocktails and blah:

...somewhere along the way, I became the person who doesn't put in enough money. It was just going to be once, when I wound up a little short and didn't say anything, but then a couple of my friends threw in a couple of extra dollars and no one seemed mad or tried to point fingers. And then it was a couple more dollars here or there, just to have cab fare home, and eventually I just started paying what I felt I could afford and trying to be cognizant about drinking less or ordering salads so it wouldn't be as noticeable. But this week, I hadn't gotten paid yet and I didn't really have the money but I wanted to see everyone so I just put in what I had, which left us more than just a little short and it got a little ugly and everyone started pointing fingers at everyone else and I just shut up. But now I don't know if we'll ever even do another dinner and two of my friends aren't speaking to one another and I feel like I should say it was my fault but I know they'll all hate me.

And, right, like 100% of these conversations, the answer is TELL THEM THIS, TELL THEM EXACTLY THIS, and then suggest cheaper places, but since no one ever acknowledges being That Chick Who Doesn't Pay Her Share at the Group Dinner, even anonymously, it's nice to hear it from the source of the hassle. And no one really hates THIS person, it's the person who has plenty of money but consistently just puts down the exact amount of her entree and magically pretends there is no such thing as tax or a third of a plate of nachos or four beers that everyone hates. Use your words! Work it out! Cook at home! But you also really really need to fix this situation with your friends who hate each other now. Yowza.



304 Comments / Post A Comment

Beatrix Kiddo

Lady, if you don't have money to pay for tip and tax, how is it you can suddenly afford to take a cab home?

parallel-lines

@Beatrix Kiddo Ugh, seriously. Thanks for springing for my meal, I'm just gonna grab and cab and you guys hash this out, LATERZ.

Blushingflwr

@Beatrix Kiddo Cab fare from the Metro to my house is $5.50 ($4.00 is just what it costs to get in the cab) I usually pay $7.00 because it is a short trip and I like to tip generously (and I have been feeling lazy lately and taking cabs more nights than I walk and the cab drivers recognize me, so a 20% tip is a good thing).

If I have $20 in my wallet, and I know I'm going to want to take a cab, I can still get dinner if I spend $13 or less. Let's say I drink water and order a $10 salad or appetizer as my entree. If I put in just the $10 on the menu, I'm good. I can even afford a 20% tip and 10% tax. But let's say my meal is $12 before tax/tip. Then my choice is to either short the group or not take a cab. I, personally, would opt to walk (or beg a ride), but if it's late at night or the weather's crappy or you don't live walking distance from public transit, the arithmetic can be tricky.

The correct answer, of course, is to be honest about your financial situation with your friends. Hell, on my first date with my sweetie, I told him that if he wanted to go someplace nice I would not be able to pay (since I didn't want to assume that he was paying).

Emma Peel

@Blushingflwr But that's not a choice, really. It's taking advantage of your friends not to pay the full amount for your convenience. It's like justifying shorting the tip because you're tight on money. If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out to eat. Or it's like saying "I'm going to pay $10 less than my minimum student loan payment this month so I can go out to lunch today." An obligation is an obligation, and the fact that it's your friends doesn't mean you can short it.

To be clear, I'm not implying that you personally do this! Just that I think framing it as a choice is still a way to look at it that lets selfish people weasel out of things.

Blushingflwr

@Emma Peel Yeah, I'm not endorsing the choice, as I said. I'm just saying that it is, theoretically possible to cheaply eat out and still take a cab home, and then to have it happen that you spend more than you intended. Even obligations are still choices. You have the choice to short your student loan payment in favor of buying new boots. It has serious consequences, but there's still that choice, technically. Doing the right thing is always a choice, it's just that many of us have shortcuts in our brains that bypass the decision process so that we don't even think about it.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Blushingflwr I think we can all agree it's a selfish choice on this woman's part.

Blushingflwr

@Beatrix Kiddo Absolutely.

parallel-lines

What the fuck is wrong with this person? I know that is not the most gentle way to ask, but seriously...what the fuck is wrong with this person's brain?

leonstj

@parallel-lines - I really can't agree with this more. This is my number one pet peeve on the planet. I hate the fact that whenever I go out to dinner with a large group & don't know half the people, there's a 50/50 chance I'm going to be faced with a "pay an extra 10% or turn the evening into a fight over money" decision.

Also, this woman is dumb if she thinks people don't know shes the cheapskate. Unless it is always the exact same group of people eating together, everyone realizes "oh wait...when she is here, there is not enough moeny. When she's not, it's all good." Her friends just have enough fucking manners and civility to make it a generalized "HMMMM Someone has not put in enough money!" leaving her a polite out to say "Oh shit, I miscalculated!" - I have definitely stopped hanging out with some people because I've noticed the check seems to always be tight when they're around.

There's no shame in having a different amount of money than your friends. Just, talk to them about it. If you can't talk to people about where you're at in life without them getting judgey and shitty and refusing to do things you can afford sometimes, they're not friends.

Kristen

@parallel-lines Hmmmm. I don't agree with what she did, obviously - I mean, who could? - but this is one of the most emotionally comprehensible social faux-pas I can imagine. She doesn't have enough money to go out with her friends, but she's ashamed to tell them so, so she stays quiet. It's the wrong choice, and it's bound to backfire because people will catch on, but it's hardly a decision that makes me doubt our common humanity. Which I do think, sometimes, when I hear about, say, people who have been lying to their wives for years about their second families, or people who manipulate their friends for no good reason, or really any kind of willful cruelty. But this - money-shame - seems sad but eminently comprehensible to me.

stuffisthings

@leon s This is why I only go out to eat with my Machiguenga friends.

Judith Slutler

@parallel-lines Deep, deep shame. When you're that ashamed of yourself you are only capable of getting into situations where you have even more to be ashamed of. SHAME SPIRAL.

parallel-lines

@leon s I sometimes refuse to go to certain dinners or outings if I know a few token cheapskates will be there. They are the person that only drank one glass of wine (ugh, nice try no) and will calculate the cost of that one glass minus the mark up, or another who showed up one day late on a camping trip and wanted a $5 refund on the site, or another person who will calculate her personal tab down to the penny and not put in one cent more (including tip). There's thriftiness and there's straight out cheapness and the latter is such a terrible quality. I cannot believe her friends have put up with it for this long.

In summary: Yes, people notice.

parallel-lines

@Kristen ...but she has enough money to take a taxi home after stiffing them.

yeah-elle

@parallel-lines SERIOUSLY. Don't go out if you can't afford to. Don't assume that others will pick up your slack. Don't assume your friends can afford to (because if they don't know shit about your finances, how do you know about theirs?) and don't assume that even if they can afford to, they just will.

If you still want to go out, do your math and be open with your friends. Seriously, just say, "I'm tight on money at the moment, my budget is $15 (or however much) tops, tip included." It's just that simple. If you can't talk to your friends like that, they're not your friends and why do you want to go out with them?

What enrages me the most is that often who gets the WORST end of the stick in this situation is not just the friends who split the difference but also THE WAITSTAFF who are probably even tighter on the money front than Ms. Cheapskate-Living-Beyond-Her-Means and are spending their weekend evenings serving cheapskates instead of going out with friends.

ghechr

@stuffisthings This is why I only consume soylent.

stuffisthings

@ghechr You jest, but in 2025 we'll all be reading Hairpin posts about that one chick who drinks up all the Soylent and doesn't put in her share of amino acids. On Google Glass, probably.

stuffisthings

@stuffisthings Then when we like it we will +1 it. HAHAHAHAHAHAH I'm joking we'll be dead.

Titania

@parallel-lines I have this problem. I solve it by bringing cash, ordering something that is inexpensive enough that I have enough cash to cover it, and staying out of "let's all just split a bottle of wine!" situations unless it works for my numbers. Then I enjoy my night with my friends and when the bill comes, I can throw in my $20 with a clear conscience and announce to the table, "I'm all covered, so you guys figure out the rest however you like!" This person is fucking over their friends, plain and simple.

redheaded&crazy

@parallel-lines calculate the cost of the glass minus the mark up?! wtf?! THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE

Jill_Tata

I love this post. So much.@k

Roaring Girl

I bring it up before we go anywhere: "Yo, I am crazy poor, may I suggest a cozy dive bar with a delightful 80s-wreck-room ambiance and dollar PBRs?" And it's still embarrassing to always be the one keeping us from going nice places, but not nearly as much as that poor woman's situation.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Roaring Girl
Seriously. Places that cost 3x as much are rarely 3x more fun. (I suppose they might sometimes offer 3x better hook-up opportunities, I wouldn't know personally.)

yeah-elle

@Roaring Girl My friends and I like to go to fancypants places for like, a drink and an appetizer. Then we hit the divebar or the diner for cheap drinks and fries and midnight breakfast, etc etc. Maybe this is something that we're more likely to do in our early- and mid-twenties? But we all enjoy going out to nice places but recognize that it's probably not worth it.

coolallison

@Roaring Girl Yeah I don't see what the problem with just saying "hey friends, I'm broke, let's keep it cheap tonight."

celeec4@twitter

@Roaring Girl Yes! I feel like I do that all the time, what is wrong with that?

Ellie

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll I think the cheaper the place, the better the hook-up opportunities! But this may simply reflect my taste.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Roaring Girl Definitely. If you're afraid to say something like that to your friends, it doesn't sound like you're that close to them in the first place.

the angry little raincloud

@Roaring Girl I'm always trying to persuade these 2 specific friends to go someplace cheap(er). They are not of the cheap restaurant type.

When I do succeed in getting us to go someplace reasonable, one friend is always, "oh! it's so cheap!" and then starts ordering the entire appetizer section and then a ridiculously priced bottle of wine, or two. (She tends to order in the $60+ range for wine. It is crazy.) My attempts at reigning her in fall on deaf ears. I give up. It's irritating. I don't want to be the person constantly saying "I can't afford that"--the whole reason I suggest certain places is that one can eat and drink well, with just a modicum of self-restraint when ordering-- and I don't want someone else to pay for me.

I've more or less stopped going out with these people. Sigh. I like them otherwise...

Lily Rowan

I get SO SAD when I read things like this. Talk to your friends! Be actual friends to one another! Sheesh. And I say this as someone who is always one of the poorer friends -- so I make suggestions for places I can afford, or let them know up front when I can't split the bill evenly and will be ordering accordingly. Etc.

Ugh. I just can't imagine my friends having a problem if I said, "I'm just going to get the burger and one glass of wine while you all get multiple courses, because that's all I can afford."

stuffisthings

@Lily Rowan Yeah or at least be like "um I don't know if I can really afford that place." When I say this to my wealthier friends, half the time they're like "it's cool, I'll buy you a few drinks." And I do the same for my poorer friends. Circle of life!

Lily Rowan

@stuffisthings Because you all are real friends!

I just don't get friends who don't like each other.

par_parenthese

@Lily Rowan I know, me too -- my dominant emotion reading stuff like this is sadness, because this lady is so deeply caught up in her shame at feeling poor that she can't even say to her FRIENDS, "Hey, guys, you know I'm broke, so can we go to place X instead of place Y?" :( SAD, SAD, SADFACE.

@par_parenthese Seriously, all of this. I feel frustrated with this woman because, seriously, if your friends don't understand "I'm a little tight this month, I can't do that fancy place," they should understand. Or say "we love this place, let's go for a drink and not a HUGE DINNER." Or something.

meetapossum

@Lily Rowan YES. Who are these people? Get new friends!

shantasybaby

@Lily Rowan And maybe I'm just an anti-social butterfly but as far as I've ever known, big groups of friends like that are made up of a bunch of close friendships and some distant friendships. Sounds like she should talk to the ones she's closer with about her money situation because I bet the more distant ones are the ones who would be the most frustrated with her actions. I bet some are "real" friends and some aren't and she needs to figure all that out.

Hellcat

@stuffisthings EXACTLY! A while back, a friend was out of work and the rest of us just handled it so we could all go out as usual. Granted, we didn't frequent high-end places and when we ordered in, it was pizza and Chinese and the other usuals, but the point is we wanted him there and pretty much made him come with us even when he said he shouldn't. And I am notoriously forgetful about carrying cash, so I'm usually the payer with a card; if someone is short, whatever--it's covered. BUT...we all tell each other and it works fine. So, yeah--circle of life!

Vera Knoop

@Lily Rowan
Word. My life got so much better when I started only hanging out with people I actually liked and who actually liked me.*

* It's much easier to tell without toxic frenemy bullshit clogging up the signal and making me second-guess my perceptions.

olivia

WHY would anyone do this?!! I just can't even. And then to let it get so bad that friends aren't talking to each other?! This girl is a MONSTER. No sympathy.

Miss Maszkerádi

@olivia I take it you have never been broke. And have perfect judgement and social skills at all times.

stuffisthings

I don't know how it is for these Ladies, but the Dudes and Ladies I dine with know how to read the check and who isn't paying their share, and we're happy to cover them if they're, say, poor graduate students and/or our own spouses (just for example.)

allofthewine

@stuffisthings Yeah, but hopefully your friends are upfront about it and they aren't always stiffing someone on their share of the check.

stuffisthings

@allofthewine Well most of my big group dinners recently have been with foreign students of my wife's acquaintance who are cheap, broke, and on top of that don't understand tax and tipping (i.e. if it says $12 on the menu it's actually more like $19). They'll learn, hopefully.

frenz.lo

@stuffisthings Effing grad students and their effing check styles. My husband was briefly cultivating a friendship with this guy who was nice enough, but really clueless, and situations kept coming up where we'd be at group dinners out with this guy and all his grad student friends, all in the damn STEM fields, so, basic numeracy should be a given, and check splitting was a travesty every time. I understand that many grad students consider themselves poor, but ain't nobody ask them to get extra naan and a lassi, nor to blink like baby deer at the idea that presenting six debit cards for a party of ten is not quite the done thing.

stuffisthings

@frenz.lo One thing that's keeping me from quitting smoking is losing the ability to be like, "Here's my share, including tax and tip, plus an extra 10%, Ima go have a smoke while you sort your shit out."

frenz.lo

@frenz.lo These were all people from the US or who had been working and eating here for many years.

Titania

@stuffisthings I have a very dear friend who's German but has lived in the US on and off for about a decade. When we were first getting to know each other, every time we went out to dinner, she wouldn't tip, forcing me to add in an extra $20 or more out of my own pocket when the waiter inevitably chased us out of the restaurant to enquire about the service. After two or three times, I broached the subject and found out that she basically thinks tipping is a stupid system and doesn't feel she should have to do it. We stayed friends, and alternated between cooking together at our apartments and eating out and having comical drunk fights where I begged her to add just a few more dollars onto her bill, which I know was pleasant for everyone around us. She now lives in Paris, where she doesn't have to tip, and I go visit her and don't tip either, and all is well. But yeah, don't assume it's cluelessness so much as stubbornness or learned helplessness.

missupright

@stuffisthings I genuinely would have no clue how to go about American-style tipping, and would be incredibly nervous of eating out if/when I do get there. I'd be so frightened of getting it wrong and being publicly shamed/ashamed. Also, booze + maths is never, ever my strong point.

ETA: I WOULD STILL TIP, OBVIOUSLY, because when in Rome.

stuffisthings

@missupright My wife is European and she frets about tipping constantly, and then usually overtips (like 25% when buying a sandwich at the deli). The easiest method is to move the decimal point one place to the left and double that number, rounding up.

If you're in a group, add that the base total and round up again.

So if the $13.46 (AFTER TAX) = $1.35 = $3 tip, plus $13.46 base amount for a total of $17 (rounded up). If the restaurant tax in your area is closer to 10% you might want to add an extra dollar for ever $10 in cost to cover the tax, so $18.

OK I just made it sound really complicated didn't I?

FulanaDeTallcan

@stuffisthings Or like in Cali (or at least the Bay & LA, where I lived and live) where we pay about 9.75% sales tax, so you just gotta at least double that amount for tip. Basically, that "I don't understand the mathy part, life and tipping is so hard for me" should never fly here. My other friend just says "Two bucks for every ten spent, you asshole."

Blushingflwr

@missupright 20% is my standard, and the math on that is pretty easy, as @stuffisthings said. Some restaurants even give you a handy guide on the receipt of what each percentage is. I like to over tip where I can, especially places where I'm a regular, but 15-20% is standard for restaurants, depending on the geographic area. But if you're with American friends, don't be shy about asking them for help!

Judith Slutler

@Titania NEWS FLASH in Germany people should also tip. I have lived here for many years and I and everyone I know tip waiters, hairdressers, baristas, bartenders, etc. It's not as much of an asshole move to stiff a waiter here as it is in the US, but it's still pretty asshole-y. At least round the fuck up to the next Euro so yr waitress can get herself a Feierabendbier!

This is my new username

@missupright This is where paying with a credit card can be super handy because lots machines now have an option to just select a percentage for tip.

Pseudo Pseudonym

@frenz.lo Never trust a math major to calculate a tip. Once you enter the math department regularly, you lose all understanding of real numbers.

Faintly Macabre

@Emmanuelle Cunt People in France (or at least Paris) also tip now, but every single damn French person I know has a different philosophy. (A euro per person for a meal, never as much as 10%!, round up a euro or two, only tip at proper restaurants...) I always feel like an asshole or a fool depending on how much I leave, if anything.

frenz.lo

@Titania Tipping is a mega-stupid system, I'll grant your awful friend that. In this case, with this particular group of individuals, from what I could glean, it was cluelessness, though. As soon as I turned my back for a second, every last one of them put beans up their noses, and about half of them got gum in their hair.

missupright

@stuffisthings I do not think I will ever be able to go to America unless I acquire a personal butler with an incredible talent for maths.

Or enough money to be able to overtip.

bnna

@Titania The stupidest part of the tipping system is that servers are getting paid something like $2.75/ hour, so they're completely dependent on drunk patrons to figure this shit out and pay them. If you think the system is stupid you need to get political about it, stiffing a server who is bearing the weight of this idiotic system is not acceptable. I know everyone has heard this before but it always bears repeating. If you don't agree with the system fight for change, and if you're unwilling to do that don't complain! Stiffing a server will change NOTHING.

Eatbigsea

@Faintly Macabre Oh my God, yes. I find the system infinitely simpler in the US. 20% and you're done, ok you may be slightly overtipping in non-urban places but I'd rather do that than be the stereotypical cheap European. In Paris there are no guidelines, it's whatever you feel, and sometimes it's appropriate and sometimes not. Much like most French etiquette, it is a complete mystery to me.

Miss Maszkerádi

@Eatbigsea I got yelled at in the Czech Republic last summer because the large group of American students I had to babysit/translate for had decided that in poor, rural, ex-communist Eastern Europe, there was no need to tip. They kept all taking over the nicest restaurant in town every day, moving tables and chairs without asking so they could all sit in a huge group, being very loud and making a big deal of how weird and foreign everything was, etc. Then one night they dragged me along and I was suddenly piled on by all the waiters complaining about the American kids and couldn't I please explain to them that tipping (and manners) are still a thing in foreign countries. I was completely mortified and paid something like 500Kč out of my own pocket to cover some of the damage......so please Americans, tip your foreign waiters.

fondue with cheddar

Not paying your share is only okay if your friends have offered beforehand to help pay for you. Not paying your share is never okay if you just throw in whatever you have and count on everyone else to make up the difference. It's easy!

I've been the person who makes less money than everyone else, and I've also been the person who helps pay for the person who makes less money than everyone else. And you know what? There was never any awkwardness or anger because EVERYONE WAS HONEST WITH EACH OTHER. GEEZ, PEOPLE LEARN HOW TO BE.

par_parenthese

@fondue with cheddar Yeah, I think this stuff usually ends up coming out in the wash, you know? Like I'll be pretty flush one month and spot a friend $20 for a fun hangout when she's short, and then she'll do the same a couple months later. I just feel way sad for people whose identities are so caught up in how much money they make that they feel like they have to put on a show of wealth to keep up with their friends' consumption. *sigh* It's the American way!

cei-face

@fondue with cheddar Plus, you never know when you're going to be the one that's short!

Edit: Par_Par beat me to it. Dang you refresh!

celeec4@twitter

@par_parenthese Exactly! My very good friends and I tend to operate on the, eh, it evens out in the wash, sort of thing. Since we consistently hang out.

...it probably helps that we are all the exact same amount of slightly broke as graduate students.

par_parenthese

@celeec4@twitter "...it probably helps that we are all the exact same amount of slightly broke as graduate students."

LOL, yes, exactly. Most of my friends are around the same level of poor, so nobody feels (or is able to be) overly put-upon.

celeec4@twitter

@par_parenthese Really, I think that helps so much. We can all emphasize with one another? Sort of the whole, if someone stiffed me $20 on a lunch, that would do x to my budget...and since we get paid the same, why would I do that to my friend?

Hellcat

@fondue with cheddar "Learn how to be" made me laugh so loud!

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

this has only happened to me once and it was with the dude who writes The Oatmeal

noodge

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood
WUT? do tell....?

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

@noodge he came to where i used to work for a talk(?) about his new book. me and a few co-workers took him out after. some girl who is OBSESSED with him took him out to 'show him harvard sq' and when he tallied up the bill we were short. hrmmm

noodge

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

huh. interesting. although i think it would have been cooler to throw in some wild tale of intrigue and shenanigans that may have followed such a situation.

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

@noodge we assume she tried to blow him in harvard sq and was rejected, if that helps

aeroaeroaero

Ugh, why is this woman so terrified of her friends? Whenever one of my friends is like "oh, can't do dinner, I'm kind of hard up", I either 1) offer to pay or 2) suggest something less expensive.

Grow a spine, lady!

Claire Zulkey@twitter

This is just one of the reasons why I think group dinners should max out at 6 people. I have serious thoughts and issues with big group dinners out.

eiffeldesigns

@Claire Zulkey@twitter I actively refuse to go to group dinners unless the group is small and I know everyone at the table. No strangers allowed.

And don't get me started on the whole "it's my birthday, let's go to a fancy restaurant so my friends will buy me dinner and I can eat for free" bullshit.

fondue with cheddar

@Claire Zulkey@twitter Splitting the bill evenly is a good option when you have a lot of people, but you have to establish ground rules, e.g. "Don't order the filet."

Claire Zulkey@twitter

@Kirs my personal theory is that if you want a party you should throw one and if you can't afford that then say "Hey we're meeting out at the corner tavern from 6-8, stop by!" but I have friends who are really great people who don't see it that way so it is possible I am not right about everything always.

eiffeldesigns

@Claire Zulkey@twitter I started throwing myself dinner birthday parties about 4 years ago. It's awesome. Yeah, there's a monetary layout for the food I make (and it's often pricey because I want fancy shit like oysters) but my friends supply the wine (which is always cheaper than a night out) and I get to crawl into bed without having to take a cab. Everyone wins!

Beatrix Kiddo

@Claire Zulkey@twitter You can't even talk to the people at the other end of the table if the group gets big. If you want a huge group, have a party at home or go to a casual bar so people can mingle.

miss buenos aires

@Claire Zulkey@twitter I have not attended a big birthday dinner like that in many a year, and I hope never to again. Whenever I get an invite, I invite my birthday friend out for dinner instead. It's a win-win: I get to spend more quality time with him or her, and he or she gets an extra free meal! And of course my unadulterated sparkling company.

Emma K@twitter

@Claire Zulkey@twitter This is going on my list of things that I don't have to do anymore because I'm an adult and I know what I like and don't like. The last few times I've celebrated my birthday with friends, I've hosted a dinner at my place and had friends bring a drink or side dish. Dividing a check with a large group, where I might only be friends with two or three people, is my vision of hell.

Emma Peel

"But this week, I hadn't gotten paid yet and I didn't really have the money but I wanted to see everyone"... No. What you say in that situation is NO. Or you come along and don't eat. Or you say you'd love to see everyone but you're tight on cash so you're just going to have a salad and a glass of water, that cool? (Or if it's a group of friends where people just pay what you owe, you don't even have to say anything! Have the hummus plate and a soft drink and pay your $10 with tax and tip.)

Being an adult means realizing the universe does not owe you the chance to do everything you want to do, other people be damned.

Bretley

@Emma Peel THANK YOU. That was the statement that caused me to completely lose any compassion I had for her.

Claire Zulkey@twitter

@Emma Peel This is the plight of the young person. I think getting older means realizing you might miss some shit and it'll be OK, even if the Facebook photos make you mad after the fact.

TheclaAndTheSeals

@Bretley This is the statement that caused me to lose compassion for her: "eventually I just started paying what I felt I could afford"

NO. You don't get to do that anywhere ever. You wouldn't hand the server $20 for a $25 meal and hope they didn't say anything. Don't put your friends in that position.

Emma Peel

@Claire Zulkey@twitter I'm young, and I hate missing out on things, and I have probably incurred credit card debt because of it. But yeah, in the past year, I have suddenly realized that if I miss one dinner with friends I see all the time, it is not the end of the world. (But my friends also say "Not this week, I'm broke" or "not this week, I'm tired" or "not this week, I'm working a lot" enough that it's considered normal, too.)

Claire Zulkey@twitter

@Emma Peel I remember sensing a sea change a few years ago when my friends bragged about staying in instead of going out. It's kind of delightful. Then come the years when you don't know what the hell you want to do. I sound like I'm 105, don't I?

lookuplookup

@Emma Peel Yes, EXACTLY. Part of being an adult is recognizing the boundaries you have when it comes to being fiscally responsible -- if you don't have the money, don't expect to fly under the radar and have everyone else pick up your slack! It's cool to be up front and say "I can't really afford this right now." Sometimes your friends will say, "No, come on! This one's on us!" and sometimes they won't and it's totally okay EITHER ONE. Majorly less okay is trying to covertly get the people you're close to to subsidize your entertainment budget.

Living My Best Life Far Away from the Hairpin!

@Emma Peel I do feel a bit sorry for this person and I think some in this thread are being a little hard on her (though her behavior *is* shitty and she should just TALK TO HER FRIENDS), but I definitely agree with you on this point. If I want to go out and see everyone but I don't want to/can't spend money (or I don't like the food at the place we're going...), I just eat dinner at home and then grab a beer or something at the bar.

meetapossum

@Claire Zulkey@twitter Ha! My friends and I started doing that recently. Like, "Oh, we didn't go out, just stayed in and watched some movies. I got up at 8 this morning and I've gone to the gym and grocery shopping and isn't it amazing how much I've done?" Adulthood, I guess!

Oh, squiggles

"it's the person who has plenty of money but consistently just puts down the exact amount of her entree and magically pretends there is no such thing as tax or a third of a plate of nachos or four beers that everyone hates"

Yes, yes, yes.

Bittersweet

@Absurd Bird I may have mentioned this here already, but at my 5th grad school reunion a bunch of us went to a nice bistro in Cambridge, MA near the university. None of us were making wads of cash, but we decided to live it up and enjoy drinks, shared plates, etc.

When it came time to tally up, one woman refused to pay more than $20, saying she'd only had a salad and water and didn't have to pay any more. Which was technically true, but also really sh*tty, especially because she was a big-shot finance executive for a Swiss bank and could afford to splurge more than any of the rest of us.

ATF@twitter

@Absurd Bird YES. I have a certain friend who has a boyfriend and when we all go out for dinner, he NEVER EVER puts in for the tax. There is a meal tax in MA. It's on the bill. It's only a few bucks even on a big bill but it's noticeable when one or two people don't put in for it.

Erryoudite

@Absurd Bird Why should she have to pay for more than her salad and water? Maybe she was saving up! Maybe she had crazy student loans! Just because she has a big salary doesn't absolve everyone else from paying *their* fair share. As long as she covers what she orders AND A TIP, how on earth is that 'really sh*tty'??

Bittersweet

@Erryoudite Well, technically, she shouldn't have to pay more than that, of course. But the way we'd done things was we ordered a lot of shared plates for 2 different tables, and people moved between them, and so it was going to be difficult to calculate everyone's "true" eating costs because no one had individual plates (except her salad).

It wasn't that she was wrong to insist on only paying her share, as much as it left a bad taste (so to speak) in everyone's mouth given the circumstances. And we all were saving up and had student loans, so she wouldn't have been alone in that regard. It was just the chintzy attitude at what was otherwise a really enjoyable event that put a bit of a pall on things.

loren smith

@Bittersweet Oh dear, I could see myself doing that in a shared food situation, if I was broke, because I don't eat meat, and so often everything that gets passes my way is covered in bacon and I can't eat it...

smartastic

Actually, I've seen this be the end of friendships, like 'look, we want to go to nice places so we're just going to not invite you' but then again if those are your friends you probably need new friends anyways, so yes, just say something and move on.

FromTheFuture

@smartastic Yeah this letter is giving me PTSD-- I had a similar-but-different situation happen (at an Oscar party, brought snacks and booze but couldn't afford to do the pool, tried to bow out quietly but was harangued about it until I had to confess the extent of my poverty) and was shamed so hard and so publicly that I lost a group of friends over it. I understand a bit of what this lady is worried about. Later she'll realize that she might be better off without friends who would judge her for such an admission

Mira

@FromTheFuture Ugh, I want to set your former friends on fire, that is so awful. I'm so sorry that happened to you!

noodge

see, but I really really hate it when I go out with people, and the check comes, and everyone just pays an even share (like, $25/head) to keep people from bickering.

I'm small, don't eat much, and I'm cheap. If I want to share the tab with the dude drinking 5 beers and eating a steak, I would have invited him as my date.

parallel-lines

@noodge I think it's fine to speak up if there's, like, a huge difference in what people have ordered. If I ordered lobster and a bottle of wine and you got a salad and a glass of water, then yeah--of course I should pay more. Unfortunately, people will rarely offer unless put on the spot :(

OhMarie

@noodge Yeah, I never do this but it's because my mother is a non-drinker and has always quietly complained about dinners out with her friends where everyone else drinks a bunch of wine and then wants to split the check evenly. It will never come out in the wash unless you all eat/drink the same stuff.

Blushingflwr

@noodge See, we always talk about it and make sure that it's okay, and if someone ordered a lot less, we don't make them pay as much. My friends and I generally prefer doing an even split because it's easier, and I'm fine paying a little extra one time because I know the next time someone will be doing the same thing for me.

However, if you have one person who always orders steaks and dessert and drinks, and one person who always orders salads and water, then no, it's not fair, and the person ordering more should be willing to pay more.

Renleigh

@noodge This happened to me at a work thing. I just had water and a small entree but nearly everyone else had a few beers and bigger meals and then the check came and my boss was like, okay, everyone put in X dollars and I was irritated but I felt like I couldn't say anything because it was work. (Knowing my boss better now, I feel even more like I can't say anything, because if you have any issue with anything monetary, he's excessively nosy and doesn't think you can be upset unless it will break the bank that instant. Like when my check was late and I could still cover my rent but wanted it on time because of the principle of the matter, he wanted to know exactly how much money I needed. All of it, dammit!)

siniichulok

@noodge Yes! I hate it too! My husband and I, when we were in graduate school (we were in the same department and started dating), got a reputation for being antisocial because we were the only cash-strapped students in the department, and the only way the other people would ever go out or socialize was Everybody Gets Together And Orders What They Want and Orders a Shit-Ton of Drinks and We Split the $1000-$2000 or so Bill Ten Ways (repeat a minimum of once per week). Or We Get A Bunch of Shared Plates and Eat/Drink Whatever We Want And Split The Bill Ten Ways. We would also get harangued and shamed for only eating salads (the maxiumum of what we could afford) and refusing to partake of or pay for beer (which I don't like and which he didn't drink for religious reasons). So we stopped eating out with everyone, and they were all, "Why don't you like us anymore?" When that wasn't the case at all, but they refused to understand that we had financial constraints, even when we explained it to them. They just kept saying things like, "But sharing is generous! Opting out leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth! Can't you just....?"

Ophelia

@Blushingflwr Yeah, we do it this way, too. We don't go by, "ok, your entree was $7.95, and a coke is $1.99..." etc, but we generally do things like, "Ok, the bill is $75 - everyone throw in $20, but Jenn, you only had X, so just cover $10 for the rest of the tip, and then we're good." (or whatever math would actually work in that scenario). It helps that we're all now in generally the same level of no-longer-grad-student, so the $1-3 variation in meal prices doesn't usually matter much.

siniichulok

@siniichulok I also think that everyone else assumed that we were from upper-middle-class or wealthy backgrounds like they were, rather than borderline poor masquerading as lower middle class. I mean, hey, we were educated, international, etc. Or I guess that they were incapable of imagining the extent to which we were not like them, even though we said it as directly as we could while being polite. But it's not always possible to assume that you know someone else's financial circumstances--even if they appear to be "like you," they may not be. And we DID always make sure to pay our share of tax and tip.

skyslang

@siniichulok I love to split the check. So easy!
If you don't want to split the check, grab it, get a calucuator and figure out what everyone owes. That way it will be easy, and you can pay your fair share.

Yankee Peach

You buy the annual TimeOut "Cheap Eats" issue. Then you buy the "Free Fun Things to Do in the City" issue. You watch the repeat of Friends where Rachel and Joey eat small salads in a four star restaurant. You feel a little compassion for your busted friends. And then you all go get some really good pizza and beers together and hang out. The End.

TheRisottoRacket

@Yankee Peach The episode where Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe eat small salads and the rest still expect them to split the bill evenly resonates with me more than I care to admit.

Ames

@Yankee Peach I can't believe I had to come this far down in the comments to find a reference to that episode. That's the first thing I thought of.

Decca

This is relevant to something I was planning on bringing up in the FOT: Lately I've found myself becoming irritated at my friend and roommate for being very stingy with his money. I haven't said anything to him*, but grumble about it in my head, and I'm worried I'm poisoning myself against this friend who's a good housemate and friend in other ways.

Just things like: I recently paid his share of a (small) taxi fare because we were in a hurry and he couldn't find change in his wallet, and he hasn't mentioned paying me back. He never offers to buy me (or anyone else) a drink at the bar, even though I (and others) have bought him multiple drinks in the past. With friendships, I tend to operate under the unspoken friend assumption that I'll occasionally get them a coffee or whatever and at some point in the future they'll spontaneously do the same for me. This tends to work out perfectly, but in this case it hasn't. When I buy beer in the supermarket I used to offer him one during dinner, but I've stopped doing this because he never does the same.

We're both graduate students, so I'm not talking about large amounts of money here. We're not going out to fancy restaurants (or...any restaurants, really) or taking long distance cab rides. I'm taking about a cheap beer once in a while, or spontaneously paying my bus fare for me if I'm scrabbling in my bag. Most of my good friendships have operated like this, and I'm suddenly a bit thrown by this one that isn't.

A small part of me really resents the fact that he's tight with money, which is insane - it's just a tiny part of his character. Reading The Billfold has really driven home all the different ways that people "do money", and my friend's way is probably a "smarter" way than mine. But I don't know.

I'm overthinking this, amn't I?

*And I realise he hasn't done anything to warrant me saying anything to him. He pays his share of the household bills on time, etc. It's just a character thing which I find slightly alienating, but then worry I'm judging too harshly on arbitrary terms that I've just made up in my head re: the proper way to handle friendships and money.

aeroaeroaero

Yes, your roommate doesn't "get" that this is what adults do (treat for small purchases). I would just stop treating him to anything, ever. I feel like that's the only way to not feel total resentment (I have a friend like this, too). I really don't understand extremely cheap people, but they exist, and sometimes are worth being friends with despite all that.

TheclaAndTheSeals

@Decca I completely understand your frustration, and agree that you're right. However. You're doing money your way. He's doing money his way and has shown you through his actions that he's never going to do money your way. Like aeroaeroaero said, stop treating him to anything, ever. Yeah, it's annoying to have to change your way of doing money in your interactions with him, but at least you won't feel taken advantage of.

RNL
RNL

@Decca This reminds me of something that happened to a friend recently. She was having a coffee with a dear friend from medical school. He had just finished telling her how many many $$ he had saved as they ordered coffee. The time comes to pay, and he stands there, expecting her to do it.

She turns to him and says "Hey! You want me to pay? You have some many $, you pay!"

And he says "If I paid for my friends' coffees, I wouldn't have so many $."

To me, money is for buying friend's coffee, but that attitude will probably kept my student loan from EVER getting paid off.

Judith Slutler

@Decca Yeah this kind of thing bugs. A lot. My apartment currently has no herbs and spices because everyone loves to use them and not replace them except for me. (or they think buying some kind of nasty glutamate based "spice mixture" is a replacement for garam masala and coriander and paprika because...???)
IDK. Still not gonna like make myself a seperate spice rack but... seriously.

leonstj

@Emmanuelle Cunt - Herbs/Spices/Irregular purchases are the worst. I will hesitate to recommend this, but I have a patented financial plan I use in my post-student life:

I just kind of spend whatever I feel like. I know for a fact that certain friends benefit more from it than they ought to, but whenever I start to feel grumbly about it, I just think - is their friendship more fun/positive for me than the cost? If it is, well, fuck it then. Might as well just move past it.

For the record, I also have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck, despite the fact that, while I'm not doing super well or anything, I probably should be saving a little bit. So maybe I'm not great at money advice.

Decca

@RNL Oh hell no. My friend is nowhere near that, thank Christ, and I've never heard him really talk about money at all. Sometimes I wonder if he actually doesn't notice he's not chipping in, that it's not a conscious decision.

But to everyone: thanks for validating my feelings. I wasn't sure if I was getting irrationally annoyed, but it seems to be a fairly widespread response to this type of situation. And yeah, I'm going to stop treating him. Which makes me kind of sad, because I enjoy treating my friends, and I always assumed it was because of my innately generous nature. But this experience has taught me that I do, on one level, expect some degree of reciprocity, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. :/

celeec4@twitter

@Decca Yeah...the situation you're describing would annoy me, too. I think it has a great deal to do with how one is socialized as a kid in interactions with other people?

It sounds so mercenary, and this isn't a hard and fast rule, but in my head I simply assume if I do a friend a favor/spot them a few dollars, that they will return it at a later date. Maybe not immediately because they're going through a rough patch or whatever.
All of this is probably because my parents always emphasized returning favors/money to others to me as a kid. Anyone else?

RNL
RNL

@Emmanuelle Cunt That's the worst, right? My friends live in a group house, and had to seperate food becuase one guy was always buying heirloom tomatoes at the farmers' market and roommates were eating them and replacing them with grocery store "beefsteaks". NOT THE SAME, FRIENDS, NOT THE SAME.

@TheRisottoRacket RIGHT? LOL. This guy is actually lovely, and incredibly incredibly smart, but lacking in some social graces. Like maybe on the Aspergers spectrum? He means well, but things like that are just kind of beyond him.

dracula's ghost

@TheRisottoRacket So grateful to the grace of god that I don't have roommates anymore. NEVER AGAIN. NEVER.

Judith Slutler

@leon s This is kinda what I do too.

Actually none of this would be an issue if I didn't live in an area with no Turkish shops that have the good spices. It's the travel/forethought/planning costs that bug me more than the monetary costs.

Decca

@celeec4@twitter I think you're probably right, because I know my parents definitely raised me in that mindset. And I will add that this friend/roommate is an only child, which miiiiight be a factor? Only-children of the Hairpin, take no offence!

Lily Rowan

@Decca Yeah, I'm an only child and obsessed with paying people back! And I'm not a spontaneous treater (just because I don't think to), so I would definitely rather pay my share on the spot than get someone the next time. Actually, I would think THAT is the only child bit -- I want to keep myself self-contained, if that makes sense.

cminor

@aeroaeroaero Yes, I've been in the situation where I was always treating, because I like my friends and it's one way I show affection. But I had to stop, because I resent not being occasionally reciprocated. If you want to save the friendship, stop paying for things, because I can assure you getting you back does not even cross your roommates mind. (Not in a mean way, it just doesn't occur to him that's what he should do.)

Emmylou Who

@Decca I don't think you need to feel bad about expecting a level of reciprocity, because it's not like you're looking for an exact one-to-one exchange, more a "I'm doing this nice thing for you because you're my friend and maybe it would be lovely if you did a nice thing for me as well someday". So even if you sprang for a fancy coffee one week, if the next week he made you a cup of his coffee at home without you asking it's the thought that counts.

That being said, I used to have a roommate who once, when we ordered pizza, offered to go pick it up. He then took $10 from me and $10 from our other roommate and brought the pizza back. Except the pizza wasn't $20, so because we didn't ask for the change, he not only ate the pizza for free but actually got paid for it! The first time it happened the two of us were so flabbergasted by the gall of it that we didn't say anything except to each other. The second time it happened we said something and he got all flustered and gave us each $1 back. Needless to say, there wasn't a third time.

sandwiches

@Emmanuelle Cunt oh my glob, that would send me into a rage spiral. If you're going to use my expensive and delicious spices, you will fucking replace them with the same or equivalent brand/price point/quality, or I will cut you. ...and that's why I am never going to have a roommate beyond my partner, who understands that about me.

celeec4@twitter

@Decca *pouts* Hey, I'm an only child~! So yeah, I really think it matters a great deal the expectations one's parents instilled. There's definitely some culture-clash moments when internal expectations don't match to reality.

silviesays

@Decca Ack! No! I'm an only child and I'm contstantly working to be as generous as possible to combat the ideas of self-centered and materialistic onlies. Please don't tar us all with the same brush!

Faintly Macabre

@Lily Rowan I am not an only child, but my sister and I are both obsessed with paying people back and don't treat people to stuff when we eat out much. I think that's more from how we were raised, though--our parents (mostly our mom) emphasized that any eating/drinking out was a luury and kind of a waste of money, though they would treat our friends if we invited them. So buying friends drinks when we eat out pains me, but I always bring a bagful of nice food and drink to parties/dinners/overnight hosts, and will give people lots of food when they come over (even if sometimes I am unable to keep from tabulating what I paid for it in my head). I actually don't really like when friends buy me drinks, though I appreciate it--paying the extra money another night to get them back just sets off my neuroses.

Pseudo Pseudonym

@Decca Yeah, the cultural and social influences from childhood are pretty defining here. I'm an only child but I was always told to spend money on those that help/are generous to me. You let me stay in your home, I buy you dinner somewhere pleasant. You drive me across a bridge, I pay the toll. However, I was uncomfortable giving my friend a gift of money for her wedding even though that's standard practice for her culture it's not how I'd been trained..

Thriftiness transitions into the negative quality of cheepness when it's clear you resent having to spend money to be my friend. A no-longer friend told me all about how she was going to treat herself to some fancy shoes and then insisted that she couldn't afford to go out to lunch (at any price point) with me. That's just insulting.

nocomment

@Decca @Emmylou Who I don't mind being the friend who pays a little more some of the time or who will adapt to someone else's budget and just stay in and hang out or whatever, especially for certain people whose friendship I value more than the cost of an activity. But I had a roommate in college once who asked me to "pay [her] back" for a shot of vodka I asked if I could take out of her enormous, full bottle before we went out to a party, which I thought was ridiculously petty. I don't even drink that much and shared my stuff all the time. I never asked her for anything ever again.

bloodorange

@Decca This is reminding me a little bit of David Graeber's Debt, in which he talks about relationships among people who always owe each other a little something. It's like a symbol of friendship/love/family to continually be "in debt" to each other, even the tiniest bit, because to "settle up" means you don't need to interact with that person anymore. Or something.

geek_tragedy

This letter sounds like it's by someone who's either very young or very immature. I'm straight-up always the poorest when I go out with my friends from undegrad (who mostly have real jobs) but it's not a secret and I always suggest a cheap place. Likewise, when going out with friends who are worse off (unemployed, living in parents' basement, etc.) I usually pay a bit more or will take them out for something that we can both afford (lunch, coffee, whatever.) LW, you have to grow up and stop being this person, because your friends are going to notice. Richer people, your friends are going to notice if:

1.) you always leave events early to avoid paying your full share (cover, bar tab, whatever)
2.) if you always do the most complicated math to ensure that you pay your share to the penny and not more
3.) if you tip ungenerously, especially in a big city! (This includes baristas. They deserve good tips.)

etc.

amirite

Okay, so as I understand it, in the U.S. it's considered rude to ask the server to divide up the bill into separate tabs? Is that true? Everywhere I've lived in Canada we all just pay separately and generally that is not considered a big deal. Sometimes the servers do the bill that way automatically, usually they ask what we'd prefer. The only time I get one bill is if it's only two people and the math is going to be super easy.

Emma Peel

@amirite I just went to Canada and one of the coolest things was being asked at every restaurant if we wanted the tap separately, immediately. In the US, it can be done most places, but 1) you have to ask when you're ordering, usually and 2) it's considered kind of a PITA for the server and so somewhat of a social faux pas. I don't think I've asked for separate checks since college, unless the server offered. Maybe at a restaurant where we all just had 1 entree and 1 drink.

(Thing I did not like about the part of Canada I was in: The fact that a "bar tab" is seemingly not a concept there? Is this just the four bars I went to in Montreal, or is this really not a thing?)

TheclaAndTheSeals

@amirite A lot of restaurants have policies against splitting checks for more than X number of people, or doing so at all.

wallsdonotfall

@amirite Many places won't even consider doing that for you. You can sometimes get one bill and then ask certain amounts to be charged to different credit cards, but that's by no means standard.

thisisveronica

@amirite yes, it's sometimes an explicit policy and i've always just assumed it's preferred that diners don't do separate checks. in many restaurants, they don't even like splitting between more than 2 or 3 cards.

Claire Zulkey@twitter

@amirite It depends on the restaurant. some are totally cool with doing it (and god bless the ones that ask about it up front.) And at other places there are big signs that yell NO SEPARATE CHECKS. I'm not sure what the problem is with it: when I was a waitress a thousand years ago (about 12) it wasn't hard.

A. Louise

@amirite not everywhere - I think typically in bigger cities with packed restaurants where it takes a lot of time and effort on the service staff's part to split it all out and then ring and keep track of everyone's cards.

Most places around where I live (the Midwest) will split bills for you, or if you're going to do separate tabs order the food and drinks at the bar where you can have your own tab. And it's because of that awkward stiffing / splitting tension that I tend to avoid the places that don't do it - if I want to buy you a drink, I'll tell you to put it on my tab, but please don't expect me to.

amirite

@Emma Peel What do you mean by bar tab? I know that some sit-down pub type places will run a tab for you for a night if hand over your credit card as collateral. Most night club places won't especially if they're really crowded, you have to pay as you purchase. But if you mean run an ongoing tab that you only pay every few weeks or so, I think only private member clubs will let you do that.

rosaline

@amirite My feeling is that in the US, the nicer the restaurant, the more resistance there is to splitting the check. (Which is stupid.) I worked at a Chili's (which is a chain restaurant--standard restaurant fare, shall we say) one summer, and it was literally THE EASIEST THING IN THE WORLD to split the check, either before or after the orders were entered. On the electronic screen where orders where entered, you could just drag and drop the menu items to the appropriate bill, and if an appetizer was to be shared among multiple bills, you could specify the appropriate fraction to split the item into.

So when nice restaurants refuse to split the tab, either they're being lazy or they're not buying the restaurant software that would make their customers' experiences immensely better. And since most nice restaurants use some kind of software to transmit orders to the kitchen rather than handwritten receipts hung in a row in front of the chef like in a diner, I think they're just being lazy.

ETA: FEELINGS.

Living My Best Life Far Away from the Hairpin!

@amirite I've never personally noticed that there's a big difference between the US & Canada when it comes to separate checks. Many places in the US will happily do it and sometimes do it without even asking or being asked, and I've been to many places in Canada where they brought one cheque for a group of anywhere from two to six or seven people and never asked if we wanted it split. I have definitely seen places in the US though where they note on the menu that you should tell them when ordering that you want separate checks, but I feel like that's getting less common now that everyone is paying with plastic.

But like @rosaline said above, I also seem to notice that "nice" restaurants (that I don't go to very much anyway!) are more reluctant to do it? I get the impression that they find it *gauche* or something????

kickupdust

@amirite ohhhhhh now I get it! I feel like I've seen this conversation recurring and recurring and every time I just don't understand why everyone can't just pay for what they ordered on their own bill? /Canadian privilege

Lily Rowan

@Katzen-party I am super impressed that you discussed US checks and Canadian cheques -- you are bilingual!

stuffisthings

@kickupdust #SouthOfThe44thParallelProblems

Beatrix Kiddo

@rosaline I've worked at really busy restaurants before, and you're in a rush constantly, so splitting the check up can get incredibly annoying and put you way behind schedule. I don't think it's a laziness thing!

Ellie

Speaking of tipping and bar tabs, I remember a Chuck Klosterman piece where he accidentally pissed off a bartender and an entire bar by seemingly under-tipping. Apparently where he came from, it was customary to pay for drinks individually all night and then give the bartender like a ten at the end of the night (sort of ideologically similar to running a tab and paying the tip on the whole thing when you pay it), but it came off like he was just not tipping at all.

Living My Best Life Far Away from the Hairpin!

@Lily Rowan Ha, thanks, I was wondering if that looked too *precious*...

rosaline

@Beatrix Kiddo Fair point--let me clarify, and also caveat that my perspective comes from one summer of waitressing! I never think it is the server being lazy; I think it is more the restaurant not wanting to go through the bother of setting up an efficient way of splitting checks.

RNL
RNL

@rosaline As I recall, even with the fanciest software, it can be REALLY annoying/impossible to split the bill of an 8 top at the end of a 3 course dinner, because you have to remember what each person had. Unless I guess if you're ringing things in by seat, which I never did. Ask at the beginning! It's easiest then!

Chel

@amirite I've noticed that more restaurants are ok with letting you get separate checks than used to be. When my extended family goes out we usually end up with five or six different checks and the server usually just asks that we don't move seats so they can keep track of us.

With my friends we usually just split the check, but there is always a discussion about where we want to go based on the cost and no judgement if someone can't make it.

redheaded&crazy

@amirite I was wondering about this too! Restaurant culture in the states/canada is so similar largely that it kind of surprises me that this one factor is very different (or maybe it's not? after reading the rest of the comments above? I clearly don't know). But yeah, here we almost always get asked if we want separate tabs, and even if they don't ask up front or we ask later it can usually still be done (better to remember up front of course).

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Emma Peel Depends on the bar in Montreal. I've only ever been able to have a "tab" at places where I ordered a meal and stuck around, or had previously done so. I don't think it's something that's normally done in non-fancy bars, which are the only kind that I frequent.

Also, yes, separate checks. It's a thing here - why can't it be a thing everywhere? Unless the restaurant doesn't have a computer to calculate bills (which most do), why is this so impossible? It takes literally an extra minute. Just get separate checks, rest of the world! That way everyone gets their own bill handed to them, and they pay their own way and that's it. Easy as pie (if you can afford it.)

TheRisottoRacket

Ugh, be an adult, don't go out if you can't afford it, don't take taxi's, TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS BECAUSE THEY ALREADY KNOW IT'S YOU.

Also, when you guys go out with your friends for dinner do you pay for only your stuff or do you split everything equally? Because I'm coming off a month of not drinking booze and it is bullshit that I should be expected to pay just as much as everyone else when as much as a third of the bill or more is alcohol.

A. Louise

@TheRisottoRacket It's always separate checks, never splitting down the middle, unless everyone ordered exactly the same thing. Even when my boyfriend and I go out to eat (we typically go back and forth between picking up the tab for both of us instead of splitting it) and he'll want to drink reasonably priced beers and I want fancy, 8-10 dollar martini foofy drinks I'll either insist on picking up the whole tab or at least chipping in for the difference. Otherwise, I feel too guilty and I'll drink too many cheap beers and wind up with heartburn and shame.

eiffeldesigns

@TheRisottoRacket Depends on the group of friends. I have some where I split everything evenly, others where we pay more or less what we consumed. I would think that if you were in a group with the former someone would say, "Hey, Risotto isn't drinking this month, she shouldn't be putting in so much." without having to say anything at all yourself (that happened to me during my month of alcohol free).

par_parenthese

@TheRisottoRacket I wondered the same thing as you! For my friend group, it's separate checks pretty much always. Even on a single ticket, the only time there's any calculation beyond "here's money to cover what I ate/drank plus a tip" is if it's someone's birthday and everybody pays a cut of the birthday person's tab.

TheRisottoRacket

@Kirs Yeah, it only happened a couple of times when friends of friends were out with us, my actual friends didn't think it was fair for me to do splitsies either.

For the record my friends and I fluctuate on what we do. We look at the bill and if it's around the same amount for everyone we just split, but if a couple of people's orders were way more than others then we just pay our own. I just like seeing what other people's opinions on this are.

ohmy

@TheRisottoRacket The only time we split evenly is when we all bought kind of the same thing. Or tapas/family style, cause everyone eats everything. Even then, if someone is a picky eater/has restrictions and doesn't eat everything they pay less.

Daisy Razor

Nope, sorry, consistently not paying your share is grounds for defriending as far as I'm concerned. Because you know who really gets dicked over when you skimp? The servers, who REALLY can't afford it.

annev6

@Daisy Razor I real-life de-friended someone once because she came to brunch with NO money, and since we were among people who didn't know her that well I ended up covering her ENTIRE meal to avoid a scene. Then when a few of us decided to go to a wine bar down the street to continue day-drinking (winners we are!)...she came with us... and ordered more drinks... and I had to pay for her again.
She never paid me back. I never invited her anywhere ever again.
I'm still kind of pissed about it sometimes.

eiffeldesigns

@annev6 Wow. That is some serious bullshit right there. Who does that?

stuffisthings

@Daisy Razor ? When I'm covering for delinquents I always make sure to put in enough extra to maintain a good tip. Sometimes I take over the arduous chore of managing the bill just to make sure they get what they deserve, if I'm with cheapskates.

annev6

@Kirs People I'm not friends with, at least not any more. I found out after the fact she had run this kind of con on a few other people, though only using their tabs at bars without permission, etc. So none of them were out as much money as I was. She's still around sometimes because I guess there are people out there who don't mind enabling this kind of behavior. Or maybe she's straightened out. Either way, she still hasn't paid me back or anything, so as far as I'm concerned she's still The Worst.

Daisy Razor

@stuffisthings Yeah, I've done that before, and then just never gone out again with the cheapies. But if a person always leaves too little, at some point the server is going to take the hit.

@annev6 That is appalling. I probably would have shit-talked that woman to every single one of our mutual acquaintances.

yeah-elle

@Daisy Razor YES. My god.

I see the weird reverse of this at my job too, where one person will fall all over themselves being like, "OH I'll TREAT YOU ALL" and then they look at the bill and kind of grimace and don't leave a tip at all. It infuriiaaaaates me.

I have all sorts of tipping-related rage, though. TIP, PEOPLE. Tip waitstaff, obviously, because if you don't, you're scum. But also, tip people who provide you service. Did you ask for something, and it was prepared for and served to you, and then it's your turn to hand over money? TIP THEM. This means your barista. The person who scoops your ice cream. The person who slices up and prepares your bagel sandwich. The person who cuts your hair. TIP THEM.

Judith Slutler

@annev6 USING THEIR TABS? Good lord. This kind of behavior is why bartenders have to give people the 5th degree when they come up to buy a round. Back when I was tending bar I had the hardest time not running people out of the place with a fucking broom for pulling that shit. Yeah I just love adjuticating a near-fistfight between drunks at the end of the night. UGH fuck those people

leonstj

@stuffisthings - This is really the worst. Especially with people who don't know (foreign) or were just raised in a cheap household.

The most agita inducing for me is one friend who ALWAYS pays his share - but is frugal and likes to be EXACT. He tips 20%, so I really can't bitch - but like, 20% TO THE PENNY. He's really good at math, so it's in his head and all, but I get SO FUCKING EMBARASSED when I just throw down a $20 and he puts like, $18.37 on top of it into the check thingie.

Saying it outloud, though, maybe I'm the douchebag. But like, ugh, pennies. Pennies should never be included, just round up to the dollar.

annev6

@Daisy Razor Oh I have and I did and I do. I'm 90% sure she reads this website and I hope she sees this and remembers that SHE OWES ME $60!! HEY HEY!! EMAIL ME THAT YOU ARE SORRY AND ARE GOING TO PAY ME $60 AND I WILL FORGIVE YOU AND WE CAN NOT HAVE COLD AWKWARD RUN INS AT PARTIES ANY MORE. I'M NICE LIKE THAT.

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yeah, it was people she was out with who she knew and who would probably have just bought her the damn drink if she asked but she would do things like wait til they went to the bathroom and then order from their tab. She was a girl doing this to guys so I assume that's why the bartenders never questioned it.

She's a very fun and interesting person otherwise. I hope she either straightens her shit out or goes on to bigger cons and one day inspires a FANTASTIC episode of This American Life.

datalass

@leon s Pennies are the worst. In college, I was a waitress at a 'family' restaurant with a heavily senior citizen customer base. By the end of each evening, my apron would be stuffed with coins. The more experienced waitresses just sorted out the pennies and tossed them in the trash before they left.

Smallison

@leon s

Ugh, yes. I was out a pub trivia with a bunch of my fiances coworkers the other day and this kid (I think he was, like, 22 or something? Young.) borrowed three pennies from me to get to an exact amount. He left a tip, but seriously, like that waitress wanted to carry around pennies all night. Made me regret giving them to him.

purefog

@Smallison
I disagree (though since I am an Old, you may want to disregard the following). When I was a waitron (another era), AVERAGE tips came to about 9%, with the twenties being more than offset by the stiffs. So if some kid wanted to make sure that he gave me 20%, even if he had to use pennies, I would not have been prone to bitch that he didn't round it up to, oh I dunno, 22.

harebell

@yeah-elle
But noooooo. Obviously one has to right now, in the US (and I do!). But it is horrible -- worst system ever. Degrading to everybody and productive of bad feelings and brings out the worst and is time-consuming and makes service industry people absurdly-unnecessarily vulnerable. I would happily pay extra for my items if that means it will enable the restaurant/cafe/whatever to pay its staff properly, in the first place, with proper full wages.

eiffeldesigns

I stopped going to group dinners a few years ago when my exhusband and I had some super fucking cheapskate friends. Yes, we were the DINK lawyer & computer programmer, but that doesn't mean we could afford to pay for everyone's fucking meal.

I love having a group of friends where it's small enough, and often enough, to just split everything evenly. Sometimes I order more. Sometimes I order less. We figure it will all work out in the end.

And, when I was in the midst of my divorce and super broke, my friends would often take me out and pay for my dinner. It was lovely and thoughtful and I didn't have to feel like such a loser. And now I buy them wine and beers because I'm a little more flush these days. Just be upfront about the situation! Friends want to be helpful!

Living My Best Life Far Away from the Hairpin!

@Kirs Ugh! I've never been the wealthiest in a group of friends (and have often been the poorest), but I would never presume that people who made more money than me would pay for my meal or pay more on the bill than they owed UNLESS THEY EXPLICITLY SAID SO. How rude of those people who assumed you would pay more in a group dinner!!

Faintly Macabre

@Katzen-party Yeah, older friends of a relative live in my city and have taken me to a few exhibits and dinner/dessert. They have always paid, but I never assume they will and always, always offer to pay my share and thank them afterwards. I figure that if I do end up paying for what I get at places that are normally a bit out of budget, I would rather pay for kind of expensive dessert than have eat while I get nothing or make them go to a cheap place they wouldn't enjoy.

RNL
RNL

I have a Grown Up job, and many of my friends are still grad students, and I'm often very very happy to pay for them at restaurants, give them booze at my house, etc. Generosity is a pleasure to me, and my friends reciprocate in ways they can afford (eg cook me lentils, help me do stuff, etc).

But to make me pay your bill sneakily is like stealing, both of my money and my pleasure in giving.

coolallison

@RNL I'm the same! I am happy to pay if you are in a tight spot but I still want to hang out. But you have to tell me first and let me say "oh, you can pay me back later" or whatever. But if someone constantly just expected me to cover for them? Yeah, we wouldn't be hanging out anymore.

@RNL Yes!

cminor

@RNL You are on point today. I keep almost responding to your (in my opinion) correctness in every thread.

annev6

@RNL Right? If your friends like you they will be happy to cover you or work with you on this. I am glad to buy drinks or meals for friends who I know are between jobs and such.

And honestly if your group of friends can't have just as much fun in someone's living room with a couple bottles of cheap wine you need new friends!

RNL
RNL

@cminor Why thank you!

par_parenthese

Hold on time out who are these people who go out and get a single ticket for everyone? Is this one of those fancy-restaurant scenarios I'm totally unfamiliar with?

Smallison

@par_parenthese Seriously. I'm super-obnoxious, but the first thing I say to the waiter/ress is, "These will be on separate checks." Maybe it's annoying, but I like to get it out of the way in advance.

par_parenthese

@Smallison 90% of the places I go, if the people in the group are not obviously related, the server asks how we're splitting the check and is completely fine with whatever we say.

Minx

@par_parenthese Thank you! I was so hoping I wasn't the only one confused about this. This sounds like MAYBE a thing of fancy restaurants that I never eat at because I can't afford them, in which case I'm even more questioning of this lady agreeing to go out to those places. But if not, then I am thoroughly confused. Every time I go out with a group of friends, it has NEVER been a problem to split the check, and I mean I have occasionally been out with a group of about thirty people. The waitstaff is generally very accommodating to all the weird ways the check winds up getting split (most people pay their own bill and their own tip, but then couples, siblings, etc. occasionally share), and I always just tip them extra for the trouble. What is this bizarre practice of pooling irregular amounts of money and expecting it to cover the sum of irregular bills? People are making life way more complicated than necessary.

Blushingflwr

@Minx I used to regularly go to IHOP in the middle of the night with my friends (like 2:30 AM) and split checks were not allowed. Which I think was probably from dealing with drunks, but I would think separate checks would be better in such a case, since that way everyone pays their own bill. One time the waiter said to us "you know we can't do separate checks, right?" and I said "that's okay, we're sober and can add". So it's not just a thing at fancy places

fabel

Okay, so I don't know why this girl never said anything...but I feel bad for her!

I used to be this person, but yeah, okay, I did say something---so I was never That Girl Who Sneakily Doesn't Pay, I was just That Broke Bitch Yeah, We All Know She Never Pays, Does Anyone Have Extra?

Basically, it got so bad that when I DID throw in a $20 here or there, people were actually like "Wow! You paid! Good for you! " (even though the actual amount I owed was probably close to $60?)

In other words, I was a total scumbag & I'm glad I finally got a real job? Also, this girl should just own up to being Broke Bitch for a while.

leonstj

@fabel - I have friends like you, and I don't think any of them are scumbags.

Some of us make more money than others. That doesn't make us better people or friends. You said you owned up to it - that's all anyone reasonable could ask for.

As much as broke people SNEAKILY not throwing in their share is a pet peeve and will make me burn down friendships, if you say to a friend "Sorry, I only have $20, why don't I meet you for a drink after dinner?" and they say "No! Come out with us to dinner anyway, it's cool!" then that person is volunteering to throw in for you because they have extra, and it's no big deal.

"Friends" who secretly stiff their friends are the fucking worst, but anybody who would judge you for not being able to throw in the same amount as them if you're open & honest about it is pretty awful too.

celeec4@twitter

@fabel Agreed with leon s. Being up-front about it, and friends going, come out anyways, I'll cover the tip for you/the shared appetizers. Legit. Sneakily stiffing friends? Not.

MollyculeTheory

PAGING NEEL SHAH.

cherrispryte

@MollyculeTheory Clearly the writer is a Young Attractive Female, otherwise this sort of behavior would never have been tolerated for so long!

(Also OMG I love/miss like all of those commenters lots and lots. Except for Neel Shah himself, obvi.)

MollyculeTheory

@cherrispryte I was like control-F "Neel Shah".
Control-f "fucking check"?
Aah what happened to this place? (2 insidery?)

charmcity

You are stealing from your friends. Get it? Stop stealing from your friends.

Living My Best Life Far Away from the Hairpin!

Why is she hanging out with these insensitive and oblivious people who don't know what she does for a living and don't seem to care/notice that she obviously makes less than them? I mean, not to sound like her mother or something, but is she sure they're really such great friends? That said, she shouldn't be stiffing them and should maybe show a little more restraint/better judgement when it comes to where to go, what to order, and when to hang out--which sucks and is tough and is unfair when your wealthier friends don't have to do it, but...

Also? Communication, DOY. If your friends really don't pick up on the fact that the hangouts they're choosing are a hardship for you (and possibly even other members of the group who haven't spoken up!), it's time to talk that shit out.

Living My Best Life Far Away from the Hairpin!

@Katzen-party AND...after reading lots of comments here, I have to say that I appreciate my poorer friends (not that I have many--I don't make a lot of money) for letting me know when they're low on funds, being appreciative (ie, thanking me and not just assuming I'll pay for them) when I spot them a few bucks or pay their tab, and for not having extravagant tastes that they don't want to pay for. And I appreciate my wealthier friends for knowing they make more than me (and possibly others in the group), being perfectly willing to pay their fair share (ie not being that rich person who skimps on what they truly owe, as described by Nicole), for offering to treat if they want to go somewhere expensive, and for being perfectly happy going to somewhere more affordable or staying in. I'm lucky!

Titania

@Katzen-party I was the person who made no money in my friend group for a long time, and I still went out for dinner with them and paid my fair share. It's because dining is something I really enjoy and I saved money for it. Her personal finances are not her friends' business, in the same way her friends' personal finances are not her business, e.g. she shouldn't assume they can all cover her share, since I'd bet she doesn't know their full income/budget/rent/debt/family situation. My friends weren't insensitive or oblivious; they assumed that I was an adult and capable of managing my own affairs. Which is all part and parcel of speaking up and saying that you can't afford X restaurant, but you'll meet them for drinks after, etc. (which is frankly nicer than insisting that your friends eat at shitty restaurants just so you can be there) or whatever suggestion she personally feels like making.

nature_morte

I guess I'm just being European in an American conversation here, but honestly the part of that post that stood out for me the most is where the advice-giver suggests that LW *incur debt* as a solution to her problem. Because, seriously, unless this is your last month working at the non-profit because you've just be hired by a fancy corporation that plans on shoveling money at you from now on on the regular, living outside your means is never a good solution. It's just postponing the problem, while simultaneously making sure it's going to get a lot, lot worse down the road. How can this be good advice? :/

rosaline

@disconfuzzulated God. Yes. Few things are worth going into debt over, and a glass of wine is not one of them.

nature_morte

@Mary Wollstonecraft Also, seems to me that the mentality of "must get nice things at whatever cost" was exactly what landed the LW in this situation in the first place?

Ophelia

@nature_morte Yes, this was INSANE advice. The good advice in this situation is, "don't buy more than you can pay for, and if that means you need to stay home/grow a spine and tell your friends you can't do what they want to do, then so be it."

beezus.

My friends all started making $$$ and going out to fancy dinners recently, too. I tried to keep up for a while, but I just can't do it anymore - I'm moving to NYC in a few months (EEK) and am using that as an excuse, which is handy.

But, you guys, there is something really powerful about just saying plainly, "I would love to go to dinner with you guys, but I just can't right now - I'm trying really hard to save up money for NYC!" And, like - people are cool with it! People get it, and nobody judges you.

These are life lessons others learned way earlier than my 28 years, but at least I've learned them now.

leonstj

@dahlface - Awesome for you moving to NYC. It honestly is the Best Place.

If you are enjoying this conversation, you are going to love it here, because discussions involving (a) check splitting techniques, (b) bartender typing systems, and/or (c) navigating social situations which include a great disparity of wealth are basically our national sport.

RNL
RNL

@dahlface And remember folks! Some people like to go to fancy restaurants, with the money that they have! It's not about you, and just don't go if you can't afford it. It's like going skiing or something, it's an activity.

Most of those people ALSO like to spend time with their friends with less money, and will happily do it on the couch with a 6 pack.

stuffisthings

@leon s And referring to NYC-centric things as "national."

leonstj

@stuffisthings haha I know. I actually do it for everything though. When I lived in San Antonio and drank a lot of Lone Star, it was "The National Beer of Texas." And I get that Texas used to be it's own country, and NYC never was, but I really enjoy the idea of making everything "The National X of Y".

For example, I am a terrible person, and recently whined at my roommate for buying the only spongey-sponges, instead of the dish sponges with the slightly rough scrubby side, saying "Two Sided Sponges are the National Sponge of this apartment!". He is lucky to live with me.

beezus.

@RNL You're so right, and that's important to remember. Some people just LIKE going out to nice dinners and it is not about me. It is not about me! They are not doing it to snub you (me), dummy! People can spend their money in any way they like, and if I don't like spending $100 on dinner, I don't have to - but I also don't get to bitch about their decisions to spend their own money.

Sorry, guys, just a little self-pep-talk here!

beezus.

@leon s I am so excited for NYC I can't even stand it.

purefog

@leon s
aaaannnnnddd. . . .now we have come full circle, as the original post was about a two-faced sponge.

Titania

@purefog BAM! Wow, does this comment ever deserve a gold star. I salute you, internet commenter.

dotcommie

@leon s you forgot discussing the optimal public transit route from point A to point B

(i live in Chicago but this must be true in NYC)

purefog

@Titania
You are too kind. Actually, as to the substance of the original post, I could see doing this once (what she did) because WTF are friends for, but it sounds like she is a serial abuser, aka sponge.

ohmy

I am so happy to be at a point where all of my friends and I are in our first real jobs and bottom of the barrel in terms of pay/status. I have a few friends that definitely make more than me, but they also have loans, etc. Sometimes we splurge on nice dinner/cocktails, but everyone is fine with dives and no ones minds going to a place that has $2 beer to accomodate the unemployed/still in school friend.

My closest friends are the ones I don't mind spotting every so often, or in most cases paying for so we don't have to split the check a ton, because I know I will be paid back. It might not be in cash, but it will probably be in food/beer later on. The friends I drop are the ones who don't understand this system.

ohmy

@ohmy Also, is this a good place to talk about Bistromathics? I thank Douglas Adams every time I'm out for having a reasonable explanation for why no one ever pays the right amount.

noReally

I once participated in a sting operation to determine who in the every-day lunch group was always throwing in too little. When he was called out he was absolutely unrepentant, and said, "But you guys all make more money than me."

permanentbitchface

This is how the waitress/bartender gets stiffed.

DON'T GO OUT IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD IT. God how is this even something you have to tell people? If you didn't have enough money to buy a pair of pants out shopping you wouldn't expect your friend to pick up the slack would you? This just gives me the RAGE today.

purefog

@permanentbitchface
"pants", "slack": I see what you did there.

lalaland

@permanentbitchface Yes! I once got into a yelling match at a restaurant with a girl who casually told me that she didn't have a lot of money but she still wanted to go out with friends, so when she'd go out, she would order exactly the amount of $ she had and then just not tip.

I get not being able to afford it and still wanting to go out with friends, but in that case...order a little less and share with people so you can still leave a tip?

Also, did you know you just made a pun? "Buy a pair of pants...wouldn't expect your friend to pick up the slack?" Hee!

LadyDee

Blargh, I didn't read all the comments but I really dislike the vibe on this thread. Of course this gal just needs to speak up and/or not go out to fancy dinners, but the financial piety that comes up in these kinds of discussions hurts my heart.

Look, I'll ALWAYS be the girl who has to turn down her friends' fancy dinner invites. It's not because I don't want to hang out with them or because I'm immature or just beginning my career, it's because I'm a social worker and will NEVER make enough money for your dinners.

So yeah, she should turn down the dinners or speak up, but she's not a MONSTER.

Also: please don't talk about your crazy bonuses or turning down a job offer that ONLY pays 60k at dinner with your friends working in nonprofits. It makes me cry inside.

Okay, rant over. Sorry. :(

@LadyDee I really am not getting that the tone is in response to the girl not having money. It's in response to the girl trying to be sneaky and making her friends pay for her when it was not previously discussed.

Bitching about your $60K offer to your nonprofit working friends is a different issue than the girl who cannot afford to eat out at the fancy places and passive-aggressively skimps on the bill.

LadyDee

@S. Elizabeth It totally is a different issue. I was just getting ranty and off-topic so sorry about that.

And yeah, again, this girl is totally in the wrong. I think I just sympathize for her because I know how hard it can be. It sucks to have to always remind your friends you can't afford what they can. I remember being in sweats at a dinner where I'd had water and a salad, but friends asked the bill to be split evenly amongst the group to make it easiest for the server. I had to speak up because I couldn't afford to split their appetizers and drinks. It's an awful feeling so I can understand how shame can inspire some poor decisions.

siniichulok

@LadyDee Yes. I was once in this cultlike singing group and the other members (most of whom were about 20+ years older and in the kind of fancy, secure jobs that don't really exist for my generation) decided to treat the director to a birthday dinner at her favorite restaurant. My husband came along, as did a few other partners, and my husband and I, who were on a tight budget at the time, were careful to eat very modest amounts of food (we'd just been to a wedding a few hours before and weren't all that hungry anyway) that amounted together to something like $12. We were planning to pay whatever our share was of the director's dinner, but one group member (A) announced that we'd just all be splitting the bill evenly and everybody owed $68. I was starting to panic, and fortunately another member (B)--usually not a very empathetic or tactful one--came to the rescue and pointed out that people ate widely differing-in-price food and it wasn't ethical to expect everybody to put in the same amount given the circumstances. She didn't even gesture at me or the other unmoneyed member, or even glance in our direction, but I know she was thinking of us. The director seemed annoyed, like the people who were paying less were less loyal or something, and some other people protested that it wasn't fair, but Member B shut them down. Still, there's that culture of shame that makes it awfully hard to stand up for yourself when you need to in such a situation. I agree that the LW is in the wrong, but there often is a real stigma to speaking up.

H.E. Ladypants

@LadyDee I totally get where you are coming from. I've was very much been in this situation for a long time. I would suggest to certain friends that we'd eat at some place more modestly priced and their version of modestly priced was still far out of my budget.

Honestly, I spent a lot of time coming down with migraines I didn't have or "being busy" and just going home because I couldn't afford to have meals with them as frequently as I would have liked/was invited to. And while it is okay to say, "oh I'm having a tight month, thanks but no thanks" is fine and good if you have to say it EVERY month over and over, it becomes more than a bit shame inducing.

Keep in mind, these aren't bad ladies, either. Just ladies in very different circumstances than my own. Class! It can make friendships weird and difficult.

Scandyhoovian

If your friends aren't understanding about your financial situation, they're shitty friends. But if you'd rather steal from them than be honest with them, you're the shitty friend.

The "but my friends make more than me" argument drives me up a wall. Your friend making more than you does not entitle you to their money. They can help you out if they want to, but you can't just assume that they would do that! That's awful! Someone with more income isn't automatically without debts and bills of their own, and even a friend isn't necessarily going to tell you all the dirty details of their finances. Never, ever assume someone can cover you. They have to be able to make that choice. Not speaking up is you robbing them of that choice.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Scandyhoovian Agreed. If your friends make more than you and they're your real friends, they won't be angry with you if you say you can't go to dinner because you can't afford it-- they might even agree to spot you. If you're just going to lie and stiff them or the waiter, then you're a jerk.

JessAndNo21

this article/related real life happenings are making my blood pressure SKYROCKET. i have a friend that has been consistently doing this for the past 6 months. everyone in our circle is very, very aware of it, but said stiffing is exacerbated by the fact that she's been dealing with serious depression and family issues, and we've been basically covering her ass and not confronting her about it because we're afraid we're going to send her off the deep end (she would get EXTREMELY defensive and hysterical when approached with anything in which she was "in the wrong").

within the last month she's gotten the help she needs and seems to be doing a lot better in general, but her past instances of dickery fill me with absolute rage. we're all going through Stuff, you know? that doesn't mean we don't have to pay what we owe on a bill.
basically this still makes me so angry that i don't know if i need to just get over it and address it if it happens again, or pre-emptively be like YO GIRL, I'MMA LET YOU FINISH BUT I'M NOT GOING TO PAY FOR YOUR KETEL AND SODAS WHEN I'VE BEEN DRINKING HIGH LIFES (THE CHAMPAGNE OF BEER).

@JessAndNo I would go up to the server or bar tender or whoever, very discreetly, ask for separate checks, slip them a $10 for their troubles, and thank them earnestly.

Titania

@JessAndNo I've been in that situation. Perhaps you should stop making group dinners the centerpiece of your social routine when she's involved? I have a few friends who are always short who I like to have over for Chinese takeout and wine nights--I tell them exactly what to bring (a bottle of wine, of whatever kind she likes), I cover the food (or sometimes they'll surprise me by splitting it!) and everyone's costs are lower overall. It's the largeness of the group that makes it awkward to explain and easy-ish to tell yourself you're hiding--most people won't stiff a friend right to their face.

Titania

@S. Elizabeth If you ask for separate checks up front, you won't even have to pay an extra $10! Most servers don't really mind, unless there are a LOT of you.

@Titania I'm the bitch who wouldn't ask in front of people, but would just make it suddenly happen. The checks come and WOOOO SEPARATE CHECKS! And just pretend like I had nothing to do with it. And then I would watch the mayhem.

Lu2
Lu2

@S. Elizabeth I love this passive-aggressiveness, and I TOTALLY mean that in a good way. Sometimes P-A is the best way to go, because sometimes people need to be "surprised" by the consequences of their attempted chicanery. If you strongly suspect they're trying to pretend some people at the table don't owe way less than they do, then they need to learn the hard way that you don't do that to people. HA! "Oh dear, it looks like you're going to have to pay for everything you ordered yourself. So sad."

It's like the penny-can trick of animal training: If your cat is jumping on a counter that's forbidden to her, put a can of pennies up there and let her knock it over herself when she jumps. (She can't see it from her position on the floor.) The rattling din is an aversive stimulus, and you've absented yourself from the experience. So she's not afraid of you for punishing her, she's afraid of the noise that occurs when she jumps on the counter.

cminor

Started to type a several paragraph check splitting story and realized the only relevant detail is:

I was once involved in a check splitting conflict so large that bank statements had to be screen-shot the next day to prove that we had paid our fair share. (My roommates and I were accused of being the non-payers)

Living My Best Life Far Away from the Hairpin!

@cminor OMG, that sounds insane. I can't believe people would get so excised over (what I assume were) a few bucks!

dk
dk

@cminor I disagree that your single sentence is the only relevant detail. I want WAY MORE details.

stonefruit

@cminor o_O

No but seriously o_O

cminor

@dk Okay, Full details:

I was in New York for a few months on an internship with two of my friends (we lived together/are in the same program at school). One of our acquaintances was also in town on an internship (from the same program as us/worked in the same office = Friends by default). On her birthday she invited the three of us, plus her roommates and some other people out to dinner with her, the expectation being we would all pay for our own meals. She picks some fancy restaurant in Greenwich Village, which was totally cool, I love splurging on food.

When we arrive at the restaurant, birthday girl announces that she's buying appetizers for everyone to share, on her. Then she has two drinks before ordering any food. We are all broke interns but her roommates seem to be especially broke since two of them don't eat, and two other girls only order salad or a drink. My roommates and I order one drink and an entree each. Birthday Girls friends announce that they'll pay for her, but as I was trying to ignore Birthday Girl's insufferable cousin describe the best way to "do the Dominican Republic" (BARF. Spoiler alert it involves having time and money to spare.) I missed what Birthday Girls friends are saying. It's unclear whether they mean a drink or her meal, or everything she ordered.

Dinner ends and the check FINALLY comes (we waited at least half hour), Roommates and I, snatch it up, and quickly calculate how much we owe including tip (we were all paying with debit). Our party was large enough that they've already included gratuity. The bill goes around the table, some cash is thrown in, and uh oh! when it's all added up there's not enough? There's some slightly strained arguing as we (Roommates and I) try and explain how the tip is included and we only ordered three entrees and three drinks. Eventually we snatch a copy of the receipt up and force the waiter to ring us out so we can get out of there. The rest of the girls can fend for themselves.

On the train home, Birthday Girl is texting roommate to tell her that we "didn't pay enough, but don't worry, she got it for us". Birthday girl will not listen to our detailed explanation of what we ordered and what they cost. The next day at work (Roommate, Birthday Girl, and I all work at the same office) Roommate IM's me to say that Birthday Girl is still insisting that we did not pay enough because her friends "Said they'd pay for me" and she "Had to put the rest on her Mom's credit card", and "It's okay, I just want you to know that I had to cover the rest".

To put an end to it, and to prove that it wasn't us. (She kept saying things like, "I know you think you paid enough, but I had to cover the rest.") We sent her screen shots of our bank statements along with--at that point memorized--price point list of what we ordered.

dk
dk

@cminor Ha ha love the passive aggressive "It's okay, but JUST SO YOU KNOW IT'S REALLY NOT."

Once I went out to dinner with two friends and another couple they knew but I didn't know. The couple ordered about $200 of food and drinks, and then pulled out $80 in cash and said "well, you guys can handle the rest, right?"

You better believe I shit-talked them all over the friend group. Keep it classy! I sort of stopped hanging out with that friend group shortly after because that kind of stuff just happened all the time, and ugh no. Stop it.

Scandyhoovian

@S. Elizabeth How did you not just stare at them right there in the restaurant and make a scene? I feel like the only thing to do there is laugh at them or say "How about no."

@Scandyhoovian Mostly because the whole dinner was sort of a shit show. The friends were super into the BDSM/kink community, and the other couple was too, and I was there mostly hanging out with my friends and we all wanted to go to the same restaurant. So the other couple started... doing some really inappropriate stuff at the table and I almost left, but didn't want to be rude or come across as "unaccepting." (Ugh it was awful, basically they made dinner into a scene, insert rant about not including people in your sex life without their consent here!) So by the time dinner ended I was a bit triggered and emotional and just wanting to GTFO. There were some really inappropriate undertones to it.

San Francisco!

dk
dk

@S. Elizabeth I like that you use "San Francisco!" like "The Aristocrats!"

@dk I wish there were a tiny text I could write this in, but something told me that the other couple's dominant half was kind of getting off on making my friends and I foot the bill, and it made me sort of hate her a whole lot. Chickypoo, you are not doing yourself any favors, and for a huge sex-positive activist type, you are not making your cause look good.

Scandyhoovian

@S. Elizabeth Goodness. I can totally understand "I just need to GTFO" feelings! (Also, I feel like I'm likely 100% agreed on the 'don't include people in your sex life without their consent!' rant you did not insert).

dk
dk

@Scandyhoovian Seriously DO NOT INCLUDE ME. Someone was once telling me about her best scene ever when her boyfriend & a friend pretend kidnapped & raped her. Which, hey, whatever. But apparently they drove her around town blindfolded and she was screaming her head off out the window, and it fucking infuriated me. If a car drove by me with a woman screaming for help, I would have spent the rest of the night trying to somehow track her down and call the cops, totally traumatized. But hey, as long as you got off on it.

San Francisco!

Mira

@S. Elizabeth That seriously sounds like the worst dinner imaginable.

Blushingflwr

@dk No, not okay. Save your fantasy kidnappings for places where they are to be expected! Do not frighten random strangers on the street.

Girl Named Jack

I recently realized that I hate going out to dinner in a group. It is like anti-fun for me. The waiting for people to show up, the hassle for the servers who inevitably get stiffed, the not being able to talk to everyone, that one friend who is always a PITA with their food order, and then polish off the evening with complicated arithmetic and hard feelings. Yeah. Not so much.

Unfortunately I am at the prime age for "birthday dinners". I have started being mysteriously busy for these.

@Girl Named Jack I've been doing the "can I join you for a drink? I would love to wish The Birthday Girl a happy day, but unfortunately I need to dash at 8:30!" And then I order from the bar, pay for one drink, sip it for a while, and leave. This is helpful if it's at a restaurant/bar that's fairly open.

Girl Named Jack

@S. Elizabeth Yes, exactly!

ATF@twitter

And this is why my friend and I have developed a very good system for check splitting in a big group. We lump tax and tip for the entire bill together, divide by the table, and then everyone puts in for their individual items. It *always* works out and there are never any hard feelings. And no one is ever that person that stiffs the group on a few bucks.

And also I have no problem being a grownup (asshole?) and asking each person at the table what they had and what they put in if we do wind up a few bucks short. And saying 'so then you still owe for tax/tip' if they have neglected to account for that. But that is how we came to the system we use now. It saves a lot of time and potential hard feelings.

But we're also fairly honest with each other and no one ever feels bad about saying I'm broke or whatever. "I'd love to but I can't afford it" is all that needs to be said ever. No one has a problem going to a cheaper place or just grabbing a burger at a pub or something.

Beatrix Kiddo

@ATF@twitter See, for me, when people try to split the tax and tip evenly even if orders were drastically different, I have VERY hard feelings about it. How is that much better than splitting the whole bill evenly? If you ordered something more expensive, you should pay the correspondingly larger amount for tax and tip. It's really not that hard to calculate individually. (Sorry for the rant-- this just really bugs me.)

@Beatrix Kiddo Yes, this.

If everyone ordered roughly the same amount, that's fine. But I would not be cool with ordering $25 of food and being expected to pay $20 in tax and tip because a few people got the steak, and an appetizer, and dessert, and a few martinis each. No. That's not how this works.

ATF@twitter

@Beatrix Kiddo Because how often are orders drastically different? That is the basic point of it. 20% tip on a $200 bill split 5 ways is only $8 a person. Even if your part of that $200 was only $20, you'd still be paying $4 on your own for tip. Next time you go out, it might be you that spent a bit more than the total group. It basically boils down to the fact that tip is a relatively small percentage of the overall bill, especially once you split it up several ways. A few bucks here and there washes out over time.

But in all honesty, it's never all that different. Entrees at most establishments run about the same. If you're paying for the individual items you ordered and you order four expensive cocktails, you're paying for four expensive cocktails, not the rest of the group. You wind up getting stiffed or paying more than your fair share when you split the entire bill evenly. That's never cool.

No one person is ever going to order so much more than the group that they drive the total tip up on every one by a lot and no one person is ever going to order so little compared to the group that they wind up paying a lot more than is fair. And in the rare cases where that does happen, in my group of friends at least, the ones that spent a ton always go "I'll throw in some extra for the tip because I did have three bottles of wine and flambe for dessert".

@ATF@twitter It works out fine if everyone orders the same amount. But if there's disparity, it becomes an issue. I mean, if everyone in your friend group orders the way you say, it works perfectly, but if one person is really spendy and another person is watching what they spend, it might look like this:

Caesar salad, $14. Glass of wine, $9. Total: $23, and 15% Tax + 20% Tip (not on top of tax) is $8.05

Steak and potato entree, $31. Manhattan, $12.50 x 2. Tiramisu, $10. Total: $66, and tax/tip is $23.10

Under your system, both people would pay $15.56 in tax/tip.

purefog

@S. Elizabeth
Your example uses only a party of two. A party of two (even lit majors) should be able to figure things out more accurately without resort to a "method." When you have a party of , say, 8, however, the discrepancy gets spread around among more people and goes down to a Monopoly-money-round-it-off-close-enough-for-government-work level.

Vicky

Man, I have to stop paying for other people and saying "oh, you get me next time!" because they never get me the next time.

Also: one of my best friends is an accountant, when a group of us goes out she grabs the check and calculates exactly what everyone owes. She likes doing it and it has put an end to any discussion over who owes what. She's a godsend. Befriend accountants, everyone.

Anabel@twitter

@Vicky my college group of friends consisted on two accountants, a finance guy, an economist and an international relations major. We would always end up $10 short. Every. Single. Time. We had trouble carrying the one or something. And then cellphones came and the townspeople rejoiced.

LilRedCorvette

To everyone on this thread who's said some variation of "I just calculate exactly what I owe and put it in exactly and Disapperate the fuck out of there": You have not come up with a unique solution; you have just explained what it means to pay a bill. At best, you are leaving some other poor soul to do the collecting, the counting, the confronting the under-payers, and the overpaying to make up the tip. I am frequently that poor soul, and I've noticed that the people who do the exaggerated money-down-hands-up-as-they-back-away-from-the-table are often the ones shorting the bill, whether by accident or design. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM

Titania

@AitchBee Except if I do cover my portion of the bill. And I don't disappear, I just sit there and let other people who spent more figure out how they're going to divide it. Is it really better to have every single soul at a table participating in a discussion whether or not it pertains to them? How could having fewer variables not make things easier? Generally what happens with my friends is that some people put in cash (usually the poor ones, to whom the extra $7 you spent on an appetizer they didn't touch is the difference between having lunch tomorrow or not) and everyone else (for whom those matters are not as pressing) splits on their cards. It's quite simple and involves little heartache.

LilRedCorvette

@Titania [I accidentally deleted my response correcting a typo. VANITY]

I have groups of friends where that works very well (love them!), and others where it...doesn't (love them...in a different, perhaps lesser, way). I'm thinking of people who put their cash on the table, without mentioning that they're not throwing in for the appetizer they didn't touch (so everyone else can adjust their contributions accordingly), and refuse to reconsider or justify their calculations (mistakes happen!), or to throw in a couple bucks if the total is short (forcing someone else to overpay substantially or confront each diner individually).

But as long as you're not disappearing (cash on the table and going for a cigarette, for example, seems like poor form), you're fine! We can totally go to dinner.

Titania

@AitchBee Nonsmoker-4-lyfe! And actually I am thankful to currently be in an economic position where I can regularly say "just split it" or throw in an extra $5, $10, $20 as needed. But I have been a broke freelancer before and probably will be again, so I feel like it's important to spread the gospel about how to contribute to a meal when you're not splitting without making it awkward. I am terrible at math so I regularly consult with whoever seems like they're the one leading the charge to figure out how much I owe. Frankly, if I have one tip, it's really CASH, CASH, CASH because almost everyone I know uses cards pretty much exclusively--it's much easier to be precise about what you're paying (without cheaping out or skimping on anything) if you have it. Hairpin dins for sure.

karenb

when i started dating my SO, who is older than i am, going out to dinner with him and his friends was sort of a dilemma. they make more money than i do, and have great taste in food, but i had to budget for these dinners. i didn't want to drag the night down, or not socialise with his friends, or seem 'too young' - and i didn't really know them yet. so i made it work -- cheaper lunches during the week, skipping on something else i wanted to do, or working extra hours. because i wanted to go out to eat, and it was more money than i had budgeted for that, but that was my problem to deal with, it was not theirs. so while i sympathize with LW, she handled it in all the wrong ways. if you don't want special treatment, you either don't go, or you make it work on your end.

TinaBelcher

YOU GUYS - I finally made a Hairpin account just to comment on this story because I am STILL stewing about my worst bill-splitting story ever. My brother's gf celebrated her 21st and her sisters(who I had never met)came. They ordered a shit ton of food and drinks, and then acted super casual about splitting the bill evenly. I ended up paying 80 bucks for two drinks and a CUP OF SOUP. If it was friends of mine I would have told them to fuck off, but my crippling social anxiety meant that I stayed quiet then went home and cried. Fun!

up cubed

@TinaBelcher This sounds miserable!
If it was my brother, I'd write him a note "happy early wedding present! P.S. don't ever do that to me again. Love you!"

RNL
RNL

@TinaBelcher One time I put $150 on my credit card at my birthday dinner. After everyone insisted that I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY. Well, that's nice, but someone's got to.

In college we had a friend who would get drunk with us and leave before the bill every. single. time. We all talked about it, but somehow he remaiend a part of the group?

It all got WAY better after 25.

supernintendochalmers

@TinaBelcher This is why I've started ordering more food at these birthday dinners.

Jinxie

@supernintendochalmers If you're gonna pay for it, you might as well eat it, right?

celeec4@twitter

@TinaBelcher ...aaand this is why I've started just, treating the entire table on my birthdays. Easier than soothing the ruffled feelings.

dk
dk

My husband went out to dinner with a group of friends for a birthday, and ate 2 pieces of a pizza. Everyone else ordered appetizers, wine, cocktails, etc. Then they decided to split the bill evenly, which was SEVENTY DOLLARS A PERSON. Good god. A few months later it was the prior birthday girl's boyfriend's birthday, and they invited us to dinner. We spent awhile preparing a carefully worded email that said, basically: "We'd love to, but want to make sure in advance that we can order on our own check since finances are tight - hope that's cool." The response? "Sorry you can't make it."

........yeah.

rosaline

@dk Those people are the worst. I don't know when the practice of inviting all your friends to your birthday dinner so they could pay for it became so widespread, but I do not approve!

supernintendochalmers

@dk Ugh! Ugh! I'm outraged!

dk
dk

@rosaline Seriously. I was 8 months pregnant at the time and our budget was CRAZY tight, and he texted me from the restaurant "I have to pay $70 for dinner" and I nearly lost my mind. I don't see how someone can sit there and watch all her friends throw down $70 each so she can eat for free. And then uninvite us when we warn in advance that we can't foot her boyfriend's future bill.

par_parenthese

@dk YE GODS and WHAT THE HELL. I seriously cannot. It is NOT OK to do that kind of shit. $70!?! That's a good chunk of my GROCERY BUDGET, man. Seriously those guys: LERN 2 FRIEND.

Ophelia

@dk UGH. I actually just got a bunch of people together for my husband's birthday (what he wanted for his birthday was a dinner, so that was his gift from me). I bought the wine and appetizers, and basically picked a place where we *could* pick up the whole check. Most people offered to toss in $20, which was really nice of them (and which I really appreciated), but I don't think that, at this point in life (it was his 35th) we can expect to "host" a "party" that makes other people pay.

par_parenthese

@Ophelia I mean. My last milestone birthday, my bestie called and said, "Hey, we're taking you out for drinks and dinner and you aren't paying," so they all split my probably <$40 tab. That is one thing. But expecting everybody to come and drop what, to most people in the universe, is pretty serious bank for everyone else's extravagance is just completely bonkers bonkers insane ridiculous and I cannot even get my head around that kind of douchebaggery.

(ETA: saying to a bartender, "I'll get this round; it's her birthday!" is a fast way to get your friend a free drink, in my experience. So bonus?)

dk
dk

@par_parenthese Exactly. Inviting the birthday girl out and telling her you're paying is one thing. Your boyfriend inviting your friends, and then telling them at the end of the table that everyone else is splitting your meal is another. Our grocery budget for the 2 of us is $150/week, so when my husband had to pay $70 for one meal, that was equal to the amount he would spend on himself for a week. Rude.

They could have at least warned him before he passed on all the appetizers, desserts and wine, thinking he was keeping his individual cost down by not sharing!

Demelza

@dk I feel just sick for you. How could anyone be so incredibly... rude doesn't even cover it. I cannot imagine. Sorry they were so shitty to you. But kudos to them for essentially labeling themselves with a big sign saying "We are terrible people--don't be our friends." It would be so much simpler if everyone did that. I guess consider it a public service.

MaxBraverman

When I'm broke and my friend wants to meet dinner I say yes, but suggest the Whole Foods hot bar. The food is healthy and delicious (I live near a flagship Whole Foods in Dedham, MA and they don't mess around there) and you can buy a bottle of wine and sip it out of plastic cups. It's cheap, fun and I still get to see my friend.

Valley Girl

@MaxBraverman I just last night suggested the fancy grocery hot bar during a group debate on picking an affordable dinner choice but got shot down in favor of more debate, but I didn't know about the wine selling point! I will use that next time.

Demelza

I belong to an amazing supper club that has recently grown to at least 10 people every time we go out. Until recently one fearless lady took the check and calculated the amount everyone owed with tax and tip, and it was almost always perfect. (There was a French restaurant that must have been using bistromath, but we don't hold it against her because she got it perfect for like two whole years.) Then she had a baby and skipped a couple of dinners. So, dude, we just downloaded an app. It divides things people shared among the humans who shared them. It adds that to the total for the meal each person ordered, and calculates the tax and tip. Most people round up, because if we overtip we figure we were enough trouble as a large group that the waitstaff deserves it.

I have to go thank my friends for not involving me in this whole morass of evil. Love you, friends!

Homestar Runner

@Demelza what is this magical app you speak of? That could seriously save some thin-ice friendships

Drawn7979

@Homestar Runner
would wanna know that as well...

Demelza

@Homestar Runner It's called Bill Splitter. But there are several good ones on the Android market. I'm sure the ones for iPhone are just as good. I like Bill Splitter because it lets you enter names (the pro version is $1 and let's you save lists of people, like the people in my dinner club, but also introduces a weirdly nonfunctional quantity feature) and is good at allowing us to split some things without splitting everything. So when two people split a bottle of wine, not everyone has to pay. The down side is that someone has to enter all the line items of the bill. If you abbreviate creatively, it doesn't actually take that long. I was able to split a bill where different people split different family style small plates in a couple of minutes. It's easily less time consuming than having each person figure it out on their own and dealing with the resulting issues.

Homestar Runner

@Demelza thank you!

Minx

I just...this is a thing? I have lived my whole life with checks being separated, no problem. Never have I ever pooled irregular amounts of money with my friends to cover the total of our irregular meal costs. Always it was separate bills and separate tips. Am I just too poor for this world of non-split checks? Probably. In that case, I will stay poor. This all sounds way too complicated and stressful.

Ames

@Minx That's what I thought, too! Unless we're doing, like, pizza or something, I never go to dinner where everyone doesn't just pay for their own meal. People might toss in a few bucks if there's a shared appetizer or a pitcher, I guess.

redheaded&crazy

I'm probably too late to this thread to get any advice but ... I have a weird situation coming up today that I'm not sure how to deal with. So this past week a friend took me out to a show and in return I paid for her dinner, but it was kind of more than I could afford, but I knew it was gonna be expensive. I'm working from a monthly budget now that I'm not working at my old job anymore and this took up like ... almost a quarter of that. Anyway, it just means not going out at other times, and the night was worth it.

So then today - st patrick's day which can always get out of control spending-wise, and also a couple friends' bdays. The plans are very reasonably to go to a bar downtown. Last night I had a thought like, I could just go to the predrink and save money, and still see the birthday people. Especially since I know people will want to cab to the bar. I guess I could just take the bus down by myself while everybody else cabs. So I told this to my friend (same one who we went out for dinner and everything), it's her close friend whose birthday it is. And she was like "just get in my cab and I'll cover you and I'll buy you a drink! I want you to come!"

ughhhhhhh I hate accepting charity from people though. So yeah, I basically feel uncomfortable doing that. So I should just not go and stay firm right?

nobody is even going to see this :\

Demelza

@redheaded&crazy I wouldn't feel bad about the cab. Basically she's just paying the same amount she'd pay if you weren't there, right? As for the rest, I wouldn't think of it as charity. She's your friend and she knows you won't abuse her generosity. But if it makes you uncomfortable, cab over, have one drink, switch to club soda (they sometimes don't even charge for that) and then head home.

My concern would be sticking to my guns. But you can do it!

lovelettersinhell

@redheaded&crazy let her pay! She'd clearly rather hang out with you than save her money, and as someone who will cover poorer friend, sometimes you just really want to be with the people. You love.

This is my new username

@redheaded&crazy I know this is late, but I would say if your friend offers I would take her up on it. I have friends who occasionally say stuff like this because they are broke and I occasionally make similar offers if I really want them there. I don't do it every time and they certainly don't expect me too, but every once in awhile I just really want to be able to do a certain thing with my friend that is a student or that had a baby or is unemployed or whatever life situation that has them with a lack of funds.

Drawn7979

@Homestar Runner
would wanna know that as well...

Loved_Addiction

Okay, so here's what bugs me. Does anyone else go out to dinner with couples? I'll go out, just the three of us and at the end they'll say, "Oh, don't worry, we'll get this one. You can get ours next time." So they get my $10-$20 meal (I'm usually on a budget and also don't drink). Next time rolls around and they'll order wine, meals, etc and suddenly I'm out $60-80. HOW DOES THIS WORK OUT?

Happened to me at a sushi place recently with another set of friends. They got my $8 of sushi and said I could get them a margarita at the mexican place we'd planned to go to the following week. THEN THEY ORDER A $35 JUG OF MARGARITAS. WTF?

I'm still learning to just say, "Oh no that's okay, I can get mine!" and tossing money on the table without feeling rude.

srsly

HI I'M YOUR WAITRESS PLEASE DON'T DO THIS SHIT ITS FRUSTRATING FOR ME AS WELL.

janejanejane

I know I'm really late to the party but this struck such a chord with me that I have to write a likely to be unread response so that I can let it go and move on. For those who say split the cheque, it's no big deal, it all comes out in the wash; you're wrong. And you are most likely benefiting from this arrangement at someone else's expense, which is rude or thoughtless. I believe in tipping well for good service but I don't see why wanting a seperate check makes a person ungenerous. Being cheap or not paying your fair share is one thing, having to pay for somebody else's food and alcohol is something else. For those who can afford to be casual about splitting the check, be thankful that you can be generous and be sensitive to the fact that others may not be in the same financial position. It is quite stressful to discover that your portion of the bill is $32.00 when all you had was one bacon wrapped scallop and a coke and you're not sure if you have enough cash to pay for what is mostly other people's wine and appetizers. Asking for a seperate check makes the math easy, avoids the kind of bad feelings other people have talked about, and makes it fair for everyone. If the restaurant or bar won't do separate checks there is always the cell phone calculator or app to do the work for you. Splitting the check always screws someone so why risk bad feelings when you have other alternatives? Thus endeth the unseen rant.

cminor

@janejanejane I posted my check splitting nightmare up thread; As long as I'm out with friends, splitting the check is never a big deal, we're all poor undergrads, so we're not going to stick someone else with our bill, and we don't mind doing the little extra math it takes sometimes to figure it out.

Anyways I read your rant, and I'm glad I've never been out with people who wanted to "Split it evenly"

janejanejane

@cminor thanks for reading my rant. The reason "splitting evenly" makes me so crazy is that the worst offenders have been close friends and otherwise lovely people with expensive tastes and the chronic offenders are my husband's female relatives where the relationships were already fraught. For years it ruined what should have been happy occasions. Then my mother-in-law died (very generous woman, not an offender) and we quite doing it. Now we've sort of started again and it is separate bills but the drama trauma clearly lingers. So I am airing old grievances in the hopes of helping others avoid the drama. I must admit your story made quite an impression on me. Thank goodness she was an acquaintance?

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