People who like to "split the tab" are no longer my friends.

by J. Money on Tuesday, July 15, 2008

splitting the checkThis whole splitting the bill business is really starting to get to me. It seems to be happening all the freakin’ time!

I know it’s easier and quicker to pay this way, but in most cases it’s never fair for all parties involved. And do you ever notice that the person who brings it up, is usually the one who ordered more than everyon else?! HAH. In case you aren’t in the mood to read about last night’s adventure, and i wouldn’t blame you, I’ll start by blabbing the moral of the story:

Always ask for separate checks. That’s it.

Many of the frugal-minded may already know this, and i *thought* i did too, but it turns out my actions don’t always correlate w/ my brain. Here’s a breakdown of how the events played out last night:

Pre-Dinner Planning
Mrs Budgetsaresexy gets an email from Doris (made-up name) asking us to meet up for dinner w/ her husband (Bob) and another couple. We say it sounds fun, and will stop by for drinks only, as we’re trying to save money w/ Grad school coming up. According to Doris, though, this is “silly” and we shoud “just eat w/ everyone” as it’s not that expensive.

Well true, but only depending on your definition of expensive. If you’re comparing a home-made meal at $7 total vs. $15 plates, without drinks, tips, and taxes – it’s expensive. To avoid the argument though, we brush it off and say we’ll play it by ear.

On the Way to Dinner
Turns out we were STARVING by the time we left work, and we realized that even if we DID hold in our hunger and go for the 2-drink idea, we’d still blow through $20 between the two of us ($5/drink x 4). So we agreed to find the cheapest, but still enjoyable, meals as well as a side of free water ;)

The Dinner
The meals were lovely, the water quenching, and we had a nice evening out for what we thought was $21 plus a little tax and tip. We were wrong.

The Check
The check comes and Bob (Doris’ spouse), who had a beer AND a $15 plate brings up the famous “let’s split it evenly” deal. All i could think was “$hit! We forgot to get the separate check”. I know he didn’t any harm by it, the guy’s pretty cool, but it’s like COME ON!

  1. We consumed 2 meals for the price of yours alone.
  2. We told you we were trying to save money!
  3. And….I dunno… but it’s really not nice.

I stood my ground, at first, and said nah I think we’ll just pay for our portion. Only problem was i had two $20, and wanted to only lay down $27 thinking i could just get change or something. Again, that didn’t fly – at least from the look on Bob’s face. The other couple didn’t seem to care one way or the other, so it was 4 faces towards me waiting for an answer.

I lost the battle.
F it. I’m not gonna cause a scene over a few bucks, ya know? I wasn’t in the mood for any more awkward moments, and i certainly didn’t want to explain WHY exactly i didn’t think it was fair to split it “evenly”. So we paid our $31.00, which was $4 more than we had signed up for, and said our goodbyes. Then, once in the car and far away from anyone, we relieved ourselves of our bitter thoughts and got it out in the air to each other ;) You gotta cope somehow!

The moral here? Again, ask for separate checks when you first arrive. It might be hard to remember at first, but I think if we can start getting used to it we’ll be happy in the long run. I’m tired of letting these lazy, not-frugal, people get away with my George Washingtons. Those guys belong in one spot, and one spot only – My pockets ;)

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