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Wednesday, July 24

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Andrew / June 24, 2007 9:15 PM

Question suggested by Tracie.

We usually pay what we owe, plus tax and a generous tip -- unless the meal itself was communal, like pizza. Then it makes sense to split it evenly.

Leah / June 24, 2007 9:38 PM

I prefer to split evenly, unless someone in the group isn't working or is really trying to save money. But if everyone drinks and eats about the same, then I split evenly. One of the joys of being over 23 and gainfully employed.

Carlotta / June 24, 2007 11:17 PM

If it's a cheaper place and everyone's eating about the same price-wise, then we split the bill evenly.

But if it's an upscale place with a somewhat wider range of price points (e.g. $15 for chicken and $23 for beef), then we individually pay for what was consumed.

kleinstadt / June 24, 2007 11:49 PM

Gothamist had this discussion not too long ago, and I was amazed at the number of people who expected/were expected to split the bill evenly, even when everyone was drankin' it up, and one didn't drink.

This just doesn't fit with my Middle West sensibilities.

I usually wind up with some stupidly expensive after-dinner drink, and get my own drinks if the table is drinking red, so I pay my fair share (meaning, more).

But yeah, something like pizza? Just split it. Who cares if one person got a salad too?

maardvark / June 25, 2007 12:17 AM

Our rule ("our" being "the people I tend to hang out with"): Split it evenly if the mathematics would otherwise be too burdensome. Otherwise, pay what you owe.

The other problem we run into is the "yuppie food stamp" (aka the $20 bill): where everyone has only a 20, but everyone owes less than that, so you either have to ask the waiter to break twenties into complicated fractions (which results in higer math, and therefore we tend to avoid this option), or else someone winds up owing someone else a (usually vague) amount of money, just because they were carrying too much cash.

Oh, and if more than one person needs to pay with a credit card, we always just split it evenly. There's no call for making the waitress work out who owed what just so it can wind up on the right plastic.

Hey, it all comes out in the wash the next time you go out together. Also, friends, by definition, owe each other money.

C-Note / June 25, 2007 6:29 AM

Not sure how to answer that question - I eat out with other people under a lot of different circumstances.

But generally it's considered the height of bad form to ask for contributions, or try to split a check, so we've got a "you can get the next one" system going, where one person usually gets the tab.

And who that person is depends on who made the invitation, who's senior, who paid last time, etc.

The reasoning is that it's vulgar to have to discuss money at the table and if one person just covers it, no discussion is necessary. That's part of why they give you that black leather book to put the check and the money in.

charlie / June 25, 2007 6:57 AM

Split? Oh yes........ Shortly after the check arrives,I usually excuse myself politely and proclaim my need to use the bathroom. Then I SPLIT out the back door.

robyn / June 25, 2007 8:23 AM

I don't drink alcohol, so I usually end up with the least to owe on a bill. I get crazy vocal when someone sugggests that the bill be split evenly, as it means that I will definitely be paying more of my share. Beware people who suggest the even split, as it usually works only in their favor.

robyn / June 25, 2007 8:23 AM

I don't drink alcohol, so I usually end up with the least to owe on a bill. I get crazy vocal when someone suggests that the bill be split evenly, as it means that I will definitely be paying more of my share. Beware people who suggest the even split, as it usually works only in their favor.

mary / June 25, 2007 8:28 AM

everyone gets their own unless its a "communal meal" (pizza, family style, etc). when its 3 or less people, i dont mind footing the bill and having someone "get me" the next time we go out, so that i can avoid making change out of the inevitable $20 that each person has... this usually works out pretty well. no one knows who "owes" anyone else, so whoever has more $ on that day usually tends to treat. whats a couple bucks between friends anyway?

mary / June 25, 2007 8:32 AM

also, when splitting it evenly, i am not afraid to be the one to point out if theres an unfair advantage of someone having a couple beers while i had none. i suppose when im older this wont make much difference to me, but my income is still that of a 23 yr old.

SR / June 25, 2007 8:33 AM

split the food bill evenly (unless someone was particularly extravagent) and have everyone pay for their own drinks. No reason for the lightweights and teatotalers to pay for the drinks.

Ramsin / June 25, 2007 8:51 AM

I always thought the general rule was unless somebody got something significantly cheaper (just a drink, or a small appetizer) then everybody should just split the food and pay for their own alcohol.

christian / June 25, 2007 9:07 AM

I usually pay what I owe, plus tax and tip, this tends to be a bit over whatever I got so I don't fret about it. My boss tells me stories about how she and her husband go out after martial arts class with other students and someone always stiffs the bill, essentially leaving the rest to pay more than there fair share. One pint of Guinness shouldn't cost fifteen bucks.

Naz / June 25, 2007 9:24 AM

I prefer to pay what I owe. As a vegetarian, and one who doesn't drink wine, my portion tends to be less -- I don't feel that I should be paying for 4 other apps + 3 bottles of wine or a big steak dinner that I didn't have.

This issue usually only comes up with bigger groups (more than 4 or 6) - if I feel it was relatively even, as in, I had some kind of beverage and there was a bottle of wine shared between 3-4 people, then I'm a-ok with an even split but when there's a definite skew then, I'll be vocal about it. Also, usually at find dining when the entrees range quite a bit.

This doesn't happen often and sometimes I don't always speak up but I do prefer that you pay what you owe.

If I'm short, I'll put it on my card or I'll put in what I have and owe the person dessert or get them next time.

Elsa / June 25, 2007 9:39 AM

I am also a veggie and rarely drink. If I'm out with folks who get $15 entrees and $25 worth of drinks, why should my $8 portabello sandwich cost more?

Jane / June 25, 2007 9:42 AM

I've had the occasion where I order pizza with a bunch of guy friends and we split the bill evenly. And then I end up only getting one piece of pizza (either that's all I manage to get my hands on, or one piece fills me up.)
That never seems fair to me.

madachode / June 25, 2007 9:44 AM

Well most of you have your parents pay your rent and bills so you can afford not to be cheap and split the bill evenly

skafiend / June 25, 2007 9:47 AM

Depends. If I or someone else CLEARLY did not have as expensive a meal as someone else or the rest of the group, I don't think they should be asked to foot at least half the bill for someone else's massive meal ("Let's see, you had the small garden salad and water with lemon, and I had the lobster and steak a half a carafe of vino. Yeah, let's just split it down the middle to make it easy.")

But then again, I'm lousy at math and can be tricked easily, so splitting it would probably seem OK to me in mostly any circumstances.

Pedro / June 25, 2007 9:52 AM

This may come across wrong, but I make it a point not to dine with people who make a big deal about the check.

It was probably different when I was younger, but it ruins a good time to get into petty disagreements over $5 - $10 bucks. Generosity comes back to you in the long run.

amb / June 25, 2007 9:52 AM

Unless someone had a side of something and water, and the rest of the table had appetizers and entrees and drinks, of course it should be split evenly.

I hate cheap people.

editorkid / June 25, 2007 9:59 AM

When it's just friends going out for beer, we each get a round.

In larger groups enjoying a meal, I usually end up putting in too much because there's always someone who thinks they should be able to get a break for some reason. As far as I'm concerned, it's a social situation. It's appropriate to shave off a buck or two for the people who just had a salad and add on a buck or two for whoever had the prime strip steak. Beyond that, it's a split. If someone has financial issues that prevent them from sharing, they should decline the invite.

In smaller situations I'd much rather go with "I'll get this one." Abusers are hunted down like mangy dogs and crossed off the invite list.

miss casual / June 25, 2007 10:04 AM

i tend to split evenly cause its easier than everyone whipping out calculators and getting tense over 2$... unless someone is not drinking or there is some other gross discrepency in what people owe. in that case i fully understand wanting to adjust the bottom line for those people.

im with pedro. it really comes down to - i dont want to eat with people who are couting change at check time. its annoying and chances are i wont bother eating with them again.

jo / June 25, 2007 10:12 AM

i agree with splitting if the cost for each meal is similiar. i was just at the dinner where i paid almost $20 xtra for people's wine drinks when i didnt have any.

i think both sides need to be considerate. i don't want to pick up substantial tab for someone and i wouldn't want them to do it for me either. i like fairness.
unless of course it's a small group, drinks, pizza etc.

Mo / June 25, 2007 10:21 AM

If no alcohol is consumed and I'm with friends I see on a regular basis, then I'm all for splitting evenly, and usually I even round up if needed. I've learned to avoid eating out with friends who take advantage, though. You know, the guy who pays what he ate minus tip and often tax... But I'm ok paying a la carte if someone present so chooses. It doesn't necessarily make them stingy, maybe they just don't make enough money to hope it comes back in the future.

Now, I don't ever split alcohol, though. I'm allergic to alcohol and never ever drink it, so if I'm splitting it with the drinkers, then I'm paying more than my share each and every time, and it never comes back. The rule is suspended, though, if I get a dessert.

Judy / June 25, 2007 10:31 AM

I love how the people who say, "I hate cheap people," are usually the ones who have ordered the more expensive item.

I don't know how many times I have shelled out extra bucks - even in my more broke days - because of some drinkers excess.

My friends and I sometimes split the bill, sometimes one of us will pick it up that night, and other times we will work out the details. It's really not that tough to figure out what you owe. And in my experience, it's the folks who spent more that want to go for the "ease" of just splitting it evenly.

editorkid / June 25, 2007 10:49 AM

I love how judgmental people stereotype social people.

If you resent the result of going out with people who drink to excess, you shouldn't go out with people who drink to excess.

Judy / June 25, 2007 10:59 AM

"If you resent the result of going out with people who drink to excess, you shouldn't go out with people who drink to excess."

are you kidding me? This has nothing to do with 'social people vs not social people.' Obviously we are all social if we are talking about going out to dinner with others.

How is it being judgmental to not want to pay for someone else's night out?

People who drink 'to excess', or spend considerably more than their companions, should be adult enough to pay for their own.

I don't drink much and I should not have to pay for your drinks. It's not about resentment, it's about personal responsibility.

If you think it's wrong to not want to pay for someone else's night out, why don't you buy me a nice sushi dinner?

n / June 25, 2007 11:00 AM

I hate to sound cheap, but I make less money than my friends (though they may not realize it) and also care to spend less going out. I don't try to split the bill exactly by what you ordered (since people always understimate tip + tax) but do expect to base it off of what each of us actually ordered. I think it may not always be obvious to people who aren't concerned about a $20 here or there, but if I order a sandwich I probably did it to save myself $10 and want to actually save the $10 at the end.

My question is - who pays on the first (or first couple) of dates?

skafiend / June 25, 2007 11:13 AM

Surprisingly, no one one has said "If you're too cheap/can't afford to go out, then don't go out." I figured I'd hear that one by now...

Shasta / June 25, 2007 11:20 AM

All my friends and I are trying to save money, so we make it a point to try to visit places that low-cost (I can't even tell you how many times we've been to Cafe Iberico :)). When we get the bill, if it looks like we've all ordered items close in price, we split evenly. Otherwise, everyone pays for what they ordered. Seems fair to me. Then again, I don't go out to eat much simply because...well...I'm trying to save money.

From n.: "My question is - who pays on the first (or first couple) of dates?"
In my book, whomever asks is the one who pays.

eep / June 25, 2007 11:30 AM

Thankfully most of the people I go out to eat with are pretty laid back about this. We always try to pay what we owe and not stiff others, or one person will throw in more and the next time someone else will chip in some extra bucks.

I know some here have said "What's a few bucks amongst friends?" But if it gets to the point when one friend is always putting in more and the others never offer to help compensate in any way, that CAN put a strain on things. So I prefer just to either split evenly, or have an "I'll pay next time" agreement to smooth it all over.

Chef / June 25, 2007 11:33 AM

I'm glad we don't go to dinner with anyone posting here. My group of friends never have an incident with the check.

Who sits there and orders steak and drinks, and then expects the bill to be split down the middle with the salad eater who drinks water? Who does that?!?

We split a bottle of wine or two with the table. Luckily our group has the same taste in alcohol and food, so it works.

My recommendation to 90% of the people here?...get new dinner friends. You are really missing out if you have to go through this b/s when dining.

fluffy / June 25, 2007 11:40 AM

I feel most comfortable splitting the bill equally. If someone drank quite a bit more than others, then they should pay a little more. I don't like to make a big deal about finances at the table-
On a date- I don't want to be associated with expenses or $- so I always suggest we split the bill. I do like to surprise my friends every now and then and pay the whole bill.

Judy / June 25, 2007 11:41 AM

Hey Chef -
I'm more thinking about when a larger group goes out, not my weekly dinner night with friends. We are good.

Ex: This weekend, out of town at an event. A group of about 20 people went to dinner. Most folks I knew, some just met.

In this situation, we all just paid our own. The waiter was amiable and it worked out great.

Emerson Dameron / June 25, 2007 11:43 AM

Be ready to pay for what you got. Be ready to pay for everyone if dinner was your idea. If you're a leech, or if you can't have an honest conversation about money, be ready to stay home.

On the first couple of dates, unless the two of you are pretty open with each other, I'd highly recommend splitting. In my experience, some people get defensive when you even offer to pick up the entire check. I've never tried "forgetting my wallet" on a date, but I doubt that goes over well, either.

leah / June 25, 2007 12:01 PM

I think paying for what you order is best. It's not rocket science to split up a bill so I find that to be no excuse.

Just because you are on a budget doesn't mean you don't get to go to dinner ever.

Chipping in for someone's lobster when you are frugal with your salad & the lobster orderer actually allows this to happen is luh-ame.

re: dates--it makes me uncomfortable when someone else pays. I keep this running tally in my head & it stresses me out thinking of ways to repay. Letting me pay my part is in fact, less stressful than being nice & picking up the bill.

Caffeine Free / June 25, 2007 12:29 PM

This is an interesting subject. I read the Gothamist debate as well and was also surprised at the amount of people who split it evenly. They sort of specified going out to dinner for someone's birthday, but I think it delved into general dining out in groups as well.

I'd say in large groups, I feel like you should pay for what you got, but be extremely mindful of tax and tip. Don't forget the fact that you had some of that appetizer either. I'll never forget going out to dinner with a friend and her family one night in Vegas. I specifically didn't order wine to keep the cost of my steak dinner down and the bill ended up being split. Not wanting to seem rude or obnoxious, I went along with it. I also spent $60 on 2 rolls of sushi at a going away party at SushiSambaRio because most of the group simply would not cough up enough.

My boyfriend is allergic to all alcohol, so I usually try to point this out if it goes unnoticed when it comes to who pays what.

The only situation when I don't mind splitting is usually when it's just me and one other person. Typically, you spend about the same amount, so I don't feel the need to get it down to the penny.

skafiend / June 25, 2007 12:31 PM

Who sits there and orders steak and drinks, and then expects the bill to be split down the middle with the salad eater who drinks water? Who does that?!?

It was an exaggration. It wasn't meant to be taken to the letter. It was meant to convey the idea of the situation that can and does arise when someone orders a modest meal and someone orders something a bit more extravagent and is expected split the check. If everyone at the table orders steaks and one guy orders, say, a mere sandwich, he pays what his meal is worth and shouldn't have to worry about splitting it evenly just because it's "convenient" or "easier". Other than ultra swanky restaurants, most places have prices on their menus. How about using that as a guide to WHAT TO PAY!Not s0 hard to do. And I even remember how much I drank because I don't want someone else paying for my (bad) habit. And if you're going to places that don't even bother to put prices on the menu, none of this will even matter.

taJ / June 25, 2007 1:29 PM

there's a saying where i'm from it would be translated something like: clean bill, long love.
things get sticky with money. no matter friends, family so...
if some people keep taking advantage and not chipping in enough it can definitely create a strain. i have friends who make less than me and i would not want them paying for my share and vice versa

Eric / June 25, 2007 2:06 PM

Generally speaking, I believe if you can afford to be eating out at a restaurant, you can also afford to not make a fuss over a sum under, say, $5.

My friends and I, usually a pretty small bunch, just pay what we owe, drinks and food. If we end up short, it's usually because someone effed up their math. We proceed to laugh, point and call them a mouth-breather, but we're otherwise unruffled.

But if the group gets large and includes acquaintances and people I don't know, I'm all for equal parts. Plus the larger the group gets, the less it costs each person to cover that one dude who got the three Macallan 18 doubles.

Eric / June 25, 2007 2:21 PM

Lots of self-righteous attitudes up in here. Myself included.

But I think it's important not to ostracize the person who doesn't want to split but just pay more than what they ate/drank. No sense in getting indigestion over the arithmetic, and I'm happier not making a big deal about it.

Eric / June 25, 2007 2:21 PM

Lots of self-righteous attitudes up in here. Myself included.

But I think it's important not to ostracize the person who doesn't want to split but just pay for what they ate/drank. No sense in getting indigestion over the arithmetic, and I'm happier not making a big deal about it.

Eric / June 25, 2007 2:23 PM

dangit, didn't hit escape in time to catch the first typo.

MAF / June 25, 2007 3:37 PM

To hell with splitting OR paying just what you owe. Make it easy. Play credit card roulette.

dbs / June 25, 2007 4:07 PM

i'm pretty easy going and will just go with what the majority wants. however, if everyone is paying what they owe, i'm always sure to not be the one with the check at the end. i put in for my own and enough to more than cover for tax and a generous tip and then probably round up to the next five or ten - and then get out of it.

because although it never happens with friends, with work acquaintences it's surprising how often there isn't enough money at then end. either these idiots never eat out, aren't used to paying for themselves, or are cheap. i.e., dude your food and drinks add up to $27 on the menu, throwing in $30 to cover yours won't cover it - to cover tax and tip it's $37 on the low end.

cliff @ Berwyn / June 25, 2007 4:20 PM

Fortunately I've got a great group of friends and we split the bill evenly almost everytime. Every now and again one of probably has a couple of bucks more in dinner than the others, but I've found that if you just pass the bill around "honor system" style. The last person with the bill gets stuck either paying a huge difference, paying nothing, or playing accountant trying to get change back to folks. And that just sucks...

Splitting it evenly also keeps people from going insane when ordering.

Yuppie food stamp. I love it...

vit / June 25, 2007 4:26 PM

It depends on the situation. With some friends we just split it down the middle. When I eat out with my mom, we almost always just split it down the middle (because unlike some sorts around this town, my parents aren't cash machines, and I'm an adult). With other friends I just put in my share (plus tax and tip and an extra dollar or two just in case my math skills have been clouded by a couple of beers). What continues to amaze me though are the number of people I come across in their 30's (as I am) who still cannot manage to figure up how much tax and tip should be (or are just cheap).

Dutch101 / June 25, 2007 5:16 PM

It is either sad, sad commentary on some of you peoples' dining companions sense of responsibility, math skills or both.

If you can't add up what you owe at a restaurant in your head, estimate the tax, and then tip appropriately, then you've got serious problems.

My friends and I always pay what we owe, and at least for us it always works out.

For those of you who "just split it up" I absolutely guarantee that some of your friends/associates/family or whoever else you are dining with feel taken advantage of.

Oh, if it is communal food like pizza, or god forbid Bucca di Beppo or something, then sure, divvy it up.

Brandy / June 25, 2007 7:35 PM

I'm totally pay-what-you owe. I tend to just get and entree and H20, so I've learned to pay attention to the menu so I know what I'll owe later.

Sure, if my pals and I did get things that are within a couple bucks of each other, I'll split it. Or if it is truly communal food.

I *hate* when a large group of folks say, "just split it." Nah-uh, someone's gonna get a raw deal.

Sarah / June 25, 2007 8:32 PM

I'm also really surprised that so many people answered that they split the bill evenly. My friends generally pay what they owe. I usually add about 10% for the tax and 20% for the tip. I think it's really stupid to assume that if someone wants to pay what they owe it's because they are cheap or they don't make enough to go out to eat. I make enough but am also trying to make good financial decisions. So yeah, I'll skip drinks or appetizers sometimes to save some money.

Dates...I think it's classy for the guy to pay on the first date for dinner, although I've never objected to splitting if it was suggested.

Baldeesh / June 25, 2007 10:11 PM

I cover my own stuff and then throw in a couple of bucks extra. It's no big.

Though it seems every time I go out with my sister, we both try to cover our own and then half of the other's meal and then the tip. Her reasoning is that she lives with Mom, and is in a better position, and my reasoning is that I'm the big sister.

Though I'd much rather end up with $10 extra than be short because some dick decided to order a $6 appetizer and 3 drinks and then realize they only had $12.

Jag Off / June 25, 2007 10:21 PM

I am fortunate in that all my friends drink booze and make money, and none of them have some obnoxious self-imposed dietary restriction that makes things too complicated (kosher, vegan, brahman, whatever, I think it is all bull shit), so we just split it. When you pay individually, people always forget about sales tax and then their tip contribution ends up too small, and I hate haggling with someone about why their math is wrong.

Olive / June 25, 2007 11:47 PM

I personally like paying what we owe - and overall it works well with my friends.

Back in college, there would be the girlfriend who was the "human calculator" so she divvied everyone's portion up (meal + tax + tip) and she was a very generous tipper. Looking back, that worked really well, because yeah the pitfalls of "paying what you owe" is that a lot of people usually underestimate. In the times we went out with her, we were more or less satisfied with the outcome.

I can't stand when people know that they are going to go out and split the tab, whichever way, and they don't bring enough cash! How is a Korean BBQ lunch consisting of 17.95 each going to be covered with just a frickin 20? The excuse was that she only had a 20 on her. There was an ATM right next door, and in the beg. of the meal, I slipped out and took some money out because I knew I would have to pay more than 20. I know I sound like such a self-righteous prick, but c'mon people...

Other than going out with people like that, which actually only happens rarely - splitting the tab with friends is usually smooth because I go out with people who know how to calculate what they owe and if not err more on the generous side.

anna / June 26, 2007 10:36 AM

Pay what you owe. I hate spliting the check because I rarely drink as much as anyone else (not that I don't drink, just that my friends are alcoholics), and I don't usually order appetizers or desert (not that I don't eat a lot, just that my friends are gluttons). I don't see what the big deal is, just put in what you owe.

Kinda related, you know what I hate, is those parties where its $30 all-you-can-drink, and whoever invites you pressures you into doing the wristband deal so they can fill their quota. Then, you go to the bar and realize you could just buy beer for $3.50 each and pay less than the wristband thing. At least I can - I can't drink nine beers in three hours.

kleinstadt / June 26, 2007 10:39 AM

dbs- you have your calculations right. This is the formula I use as well. . .

MAF- . . .although I would LOVE to play credit card roulette, if any of my friends were up for it. Dinner, drinks, friends, AND gambling? What could be better?

How this is done on dates should be the next Fuel question.

Blagg the Axman / June 26, 2007 11:15 AM

A touchy subject to be sure, and one that has plunged many an ale-hall into fisted combat, with sometimes nothing more than a smouldering wreck left ere the morningrise. Rare is the occasion that an Axman breaks bread in a public place, and rarer still do I accept a flagon of mead that has left my sight betwixt the time of its pouring and its deposit into my waiting hand. Agents of the Dark Lord lurk everywhere, and they possess a vast knowledge of loathsome poisons; I will be damned before I keel over dead onto floorboards soaked with beer, rather than a battlefield soaked with the blood of my enemies.

JasonB / June 26, 2007 11:29 AM

We always say we'll split it evenly, though someone always winds up voluntarily paying for the entire meal.

My friends > Your friends

paul / June 26, 2007 11:29 AM

I wanna order what I wanna order, so I hate the split thing, and I drink, so the poor salad eaters (no offense) shouldn't have to get any part of my tax or tip, never mind my meal.

Most large groups I've eaten with wind up leaving some huge tip, just because everyone threw down a lot of cash. If there's extra, give it to the server, they deserve it.

I know we all run into situations where all we have is a credit card, but this is where people get stiffed, especially the server. If you're the one who goofed and didn't bring cash to a restaurant, you should pay the fine, and get the tip, and none of that 15% bull.

Spook / June 26, 2007 12:49 PM

I avoid group dinning because of the dour Cheapskates who ruin them.

I like to have an expansive good time during group meals. But I'm bad at math and donít even feel like dealing with complicated computations when Iím well fed and drunk, so I ask some one who's good at math to handle the details generously for me and leave a big fat tip for me, which I pay with out blinking an eye. Still some cheapskate always manages to ruin it for the group. When I dine with Europeans this never happens, only Americans!

A Yale Medical Journal reports a recent study were researchers found strong/direct DNA correlations between cheapskates, low tippers, and people who donít drink. It was very thought provoking.

v / June 26, 2007 12:56 PM

Two months ago, I went out to dinner with 20 other people for a prix fixe dinner. Some of us got wine as well. Our bill was around $720 including gratuity. We passed the bill around (once) and everyone paid what they thought they owed. After all was counted, we had $740. Amazing. I'm going out to dinner with them again.

My friends and I don't seem to have a problem with this just b/c we overpay what we owe more often than not. And if there is the one person who only had a salad, then no, we don't charge that person more than the person with a $20 entree.

jen / June 26, 2007 2:54 PM

all of my friends make equally little, so we split the bill up based on what we each ordered. this way those that order their $6 wine pay for it, while i only have to pay for my $2.50 beer.

however this weekend i was with a friend and some guys from out of town for a bachelor party who played credit card roulette and had the waitress pick the card. dude got to pay a $180 bill. we all threw in for tip, but still... not a fan of gambling.

sarah / June 26, 2007 8:09 PM

The key is to only be friends with people who will actually pay their share. A group of us all go out for an annual b'day dinner and one couple is known for shorting. :(

The rest of my friends are cool, though. And if your friends really expect you to pick up the slack when they order a bottle or two of wine and you don't drink (at all, ever, for medical reasons) nor can you afford to, then they aren't friends.

sarah / June 26, 2007 8:11 PM

i forgot to add that while i'm not going to pony up for your $8-12 worth of alcohol, i'm not going to quibble over a few bucks difference between entrees.

anon / June 26, 2007 10:31 PM

My mom and dad are the jerks who always short on group bills. Even birthday dinners. So lame. My sister and I have learned to do *separate checks* to combat it.

Tracie / June 26, 2007 10:53 PM

Wow. I never thought this question would get such a response! I recently went out to a large lunch with 10 other co-workers, and saw the apparent anxiety of some people over how to split the bill. Some people were like "eh, let's split it", while some I could tell were doing some extreme calculating to make sure that they were not being made to put in one penny more than they thought they should. I think a lot of people forget about tax and have differing opinions about tip. Maybe it's because I'm from the nonprofit world, and we tend to count our pennies more, because we often have less of them!

moody / June 27, 2007 9:01 AM

if it's a good friend, split the bill (or even pay for the whole thing!)

for cquaintances, pay what you owe or offer to pay the bill

moody / June 27, 2007 9:01 AM

if it's a good friend, split the bill (or even pay for the whole thing!)

for acquaintances, pay what you owe or offer to pay the bill

Judy / June 27, 2007 10:00 AM

someone posted above about their p's being stingy with group bills.

When I go out with my grandma she will only leave a 10% tip.

Drives me crazy.
But who can argue with a 95 year old woman?

I just try to slip some extra money into the tip - or directly to the waiter.

dbs / June 27, 2007 10:06 AM

for splitters bad at math:

state, city and county tax in chicago is about 12.5%. you should tip 20%. that's a total of 32.5% on top of the price on the menu. round it up to 35%.

so for every $10 you spend - menu prices - add $3.50.

That $15 salad and tap water? you owe $20.25.

wordy / June 27, 2007 12:35 PM

thank you dbs!

that's what the bad at math types like myself need, someone to say "here is the information you need" in a non-condescending or confusing way.

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