If at all possible, I avoid dining in large groups ’cause come cheque time, it’s all sorts of awkward! This is especially true when some knob suggests on splitting the bill…”evenly”.
If my avoidance tactic has failed, and I can’t get out of the dinner, I usually come up with a plan of attack. Since math is not my strong suit, I have even snuck off to the washroom, called my bf to be my own personal “tip calculator”.
(Yes, somehow even with advances in technology, i.e. the tip calculator feature on my cell phone, I have managed to get screwed over on the whole group billing thing!)
One incident that I will never forget, and will hold as a lesson learned, is when B, a friend of mine invited me out for dinner with her group of friends. One of B‘s friends was celebrating a birthday.
Backstory: B was a good friend who was constantly travelling for work, so this was a rare occasion where she was back in town for a bit. At the time, I had chosen to be unemployed to focus on my writing, full-time. So needless to say, money was tight.
After doing some pre-ordering online, I knew that it wouldn’t break the bank to order a $10 sandwich, so I told B that I’d tag along!
Anyway, on the way there, we hit some traffic and since the rip-off restaurant was downtown, we had to find parking. By the time we met with the rest of the party, they had already started eating (and drinking) as we were a bit late.
Snag #1: Foiling my strategy of ordering a $10 sandwich, someone suggested we order off the tapas menu. 🙁 Btw, if you don’t know what tapas are, they are small dishes of food, like dim sum, but more expensive!
With my limited math skills, things didn’t seem to be getting that out of hand. Fast forward to the bill arriving…
Snag #2: Someone, probably the same person who suggested the tapas, shouts out, “Let’s split the bill!” Are. You. Serious? And of course, the birthday person was excluded, fine.
Snag #3: The food that was ordered before I arrived was included on this Even Steven bill. And if that wasn’t bad enough, someone, probably same person as #1 & #2, had a $40/glass of wine and never stepped forward. So as per Snag #2, I ended up paying for food I never ate and some guy’s expensive choice in spirits! Tacky.
In order to pay my portion of the bill, another friend had to spot me…under the table. How humiliating.
After the bill was settled, someone suggests that we head to Chinatown ’cause the majority of the people were still hungry. Great. Since I hitched a ride with B, I was at her mercy to rejoin everyone at yet another restaurant.
Since there was nothing left in my wallet ‘cept pocket-lint, I lied and stated that I was utterly stuffed from the limited tapas that I indulged in. So I didn’t order anything. I just sat, silently fuming, at the Chinese restaurant, growing sick and tired of the company.
When the measly $15 bill arrived at the table, $40-Wine-Guy insisted on picking up the tab ’cause he felt “bad” at the tapas restaurant. A bit late, don’t you think, bud?
So unless you enjoy getting rypped, do what you can to avoid these awkward group dinners OR ask for separate bills!