To not order what I want to eat when a group meal out

(194 Posts)
rookiemere Mon 11-Apr-16 11:56:49

I've been stewing on this slightly since Friday.

Went out with a group of ex work friends - about 12 of us - to a well known mid priced chain restaurant. We've been there before, but usually in smaller numbers, and it worked out well. Everyone had pizza/pasta, we shared some appetizers and split bill equally.

This time I assumed the format would be the same. Someone at my end suggested sharing some bready things - I'm not a great lover of loads of bread followed by pasta - but in these situations I always try to go with the flow, so I said sure.

All good except when the food arrived - at the other end 3 of the blokes had ordered expensive starters. Then when the main courses arrived rather than ordering the mid range meals they had the expensive meat options, oh and desserts as well.

To be fair when the bill came one of them suggested putting in more because of what they had - but it was only a couple of quid more rather than actually reflecting the cost differential in their meals. Working it out I paid a few quid more than it what it should have been even with tip and drinks included, but not hugely out of pocket.

I guess the reason I'm posting this is that actually I would have preferred having the seafood starter rather than the stodgy bread myself and would have been happy to pay the cost difference, but have always been brought up to order mid-range in a group situation. AIBU?

DropYourSword Mon 11-Apr-16 11:58:47

A little. If you'd really wanted it, why not order it. It's not really going with the flow if you sit and stew about it later.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 11-Apr-16 11:59:08

I think if you are going to order an expensive option when Bill splitting will occur unless you arange for yours to be billed seperatly or the entire group is going expensive then it's piss poor conduct.

Imnotaslimjim Mon 11-Apr-16 11:59:36

People (especially on MN) think that I'm odd, but this is why I pay my own way when going out for dinner. I don't eat a lot and don't always have funds for high end dinners so I can temper the meal to suit. I'd begrudge having to pay more for someone to have the most expensive item when I've bought one of the cheaper!

Whisky2014 Mon 11-Apr-16 12:00:20

Stop being a people pleaser and order what you want. There's always one colleague that grumbles the next day about having to pay more when they only had a starter and salad or some crap. You snooze you lose!

KaraokeQueenOfTheNorth Mon 11-Apr-16 12:03:13

Ugh, this is why I hate going out for meals in a group. I don't know if you are being unreasonable or not, the whole thing scrambles my head and makes me all very anxious. If I'm organising a meal out with friends I always suggest a bar or pub where we order and pay separately!

PPie10 Mon 11-Apr-16 12:03:45

You should have ordered what you want. Tbh I think going out with group meals and a very tight budget just doesn't work. I hate sitting at the end of the meal calculating who owes what and squabbling over pennies. Next time don't feel bad, just order what you want.

allegretto Mon 11-Apr-16 12:04:41

I am usually for splitting the bill but on a recent trip out with Dh's aunt and boyfriend, they ordered four courses each. We had three kids who ate one Half portion each and dh and I had 2 courses. They then split the bill seven ways with us paying 5/7. We ended up paying 70 euros more than we had actually spent on our food! In the future I suggest deciding at the outset what to do to avoid these problems

RandyMagnum Mon 11-Apr-16 12:06:29

I only pay for what I have, I wouldn't split the bill, if people want to split the bill I'd ask them to do it after I took mine off, even if it means I would be better off by splitting the cost of what I ordered. I just keep track of the cost of what I ordered either in my head or on my phone.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Mon 11-Apr-16 12:08:13

Order what you want and say you'll pay the extra, what's the problem?

starfishmummy Mon 11-Apr-16 12:10:03

I would order what I wanted but would say something upfront "I'm having x, I know its dearer but I'll make sure to put in for it" and would also make a mental note of how much it was so I could make sure that I do pay.

sonlypuppyfat Mon 11-Apr-16 12:11:13

Who on earth thinks splitting the bill is a good idea? Last time I went out in a large group I had a burger and salad, when the bill came I ended up paying towards everyone else's starters desserts and drinks. Never again

rookiemere Mon 11-Apr-16 12:11:28

I wasn't on a tight budget as such, but I just object to paying for more than I have consumed. However I don't want to be the spoilsport in the corner with their calculator working out what 1/5 of a bottle of wine comes to, so I have reconciled myself to paying a bit more when out with friends as a sort of "sociability tax".

I guess it was just the flagrant nature of it. The guy who offered to put in a bit more is a nice guy, a decent sort. The others who had ordered more were a bit snorty about it, whereas if it was just a genuine oversight, you'd think they'd be keen to ensure that others weren't overpaying for their choices.

Mind you I can see DH doing this at a group meal. He just doesn't do pasta or pizza. Thankfully he isn't invited out much except to the pub.

MyKingdomForBrie Mon 11-Apr-16 12:11:31

I do think this depends on how much money you have. I generally think that I don't mind paying a bit more if it's for an enjoyable evening, no one is taking the piss etc, but I'm not on a tight budget at the moment. I think if I was I might avoid these dinners if i wasn't sure of the format or the people going.

I wouldn't stew about it, it doesn't sound like anyone was deliberately out of line, just other people have less worries about ordering what they want so they probably assume everyone ordered what they wanted too.

honeysucklejasmine Mon 11-Apr-16 12:11:50

allegreto why on earth did you do that?! The blooming cheek of them! shock

SheHasAWildHeart Mon 11-Apr-16 12:12:39

I don't eat meat or drink at all. I do as RandyMagnum suggests. I keep track of what my food costs and put that down plus tip at the end and leave it for the others to decide what they'll do. I won't be made to feel bad about it by people who've decided to have three courses and lots of bottles of wine.

rookiemere Mon 11-Apr-16 12:15:52

I think I was just a bit disappointed as it's always worked out so well before and seemed so fair, so I was looking forward to the evening being like that.

I'm not upset and I would still go out with the same group of people, I just wanted to know that in future if I wanted the expensive options that it would be ok for me to order them provided I put in the right amount for them as I just couldn't sit there and split the bill evenly if I'd had say prawn cocktail and steak whilst everyone else had pasta carbonara.

SheHasAWildHeart Mon 11-Apr-16 12:18:55

Well I had a colleague who somehow always had an important phone call to take when the bill arrived and he wandered off outside for ages, and his share got covered by everyone else at the table. He is also a wine snob so orders lots of fancy wine.

SmarterThanTheAverageBear16 Mon 11-Apr-16 12:21:39

You should order what you want, and keep a note of the cost. Then when the bill arrives, you either pay for your own, or if the bill is split you add the rough difference between the split price and your own total.

Wanderingwondering Mon 11-Apr-16 12:26:23

I know what you mean. I am all for splitting the bill but do tend to chose what I'm having based on the group I'm with and their budgets.

SirChenjin Mon 11-Apr-16 12:26:48

I'm totally with you - hate this idea of splitting the bill when it's anything other than a set menu. Unless you're completely stupid, it doesn't take that much to work out that if you're eating 3 expensive courses and wine, and others are eating 2 cheaper courses and soft drinks, then splitting the bill equally means other people are subsidising you. Which makes you a bit of a selfish git really.

The only thing you can do is not to make a big deal of it, say that you'll just be paying your own when the bill arrives (or before, whatever suits you best), throw in what your meal cost you, and go back to talking to the people next to you.

airside Mon 11-Apr-16 12:26:53

Order what you want. If everyone does it, split the bill. If yours was clearly a fiver dearer put in the extra fiver.
Or go to places with a set menu.

carefreeeee Mon 11-Apr-16 12:27:45

These things are always slightly awkward. I accept on these occasions that I'll end up paying a bit more than what I had, whilst large men who are keen on beer will probably end up paying a bit less. If you are being deliberately abstemious because of being on a low budget you shouldn't feel bad about putting in what you owe but I would add another 10% to avoid looking tight.

The problem with everyone paying what they think they owe, is that you always end up short because people forget a drink or something (or forgot to include the 10% service charge). You sometimes end up paying more to cover the extra than if you just split the bill in the first place.

I prefer to work out what everyone would owe if the bill was split, and then for those who've had significantly more to say 'well I had steak and a bottle of wine so I'll add a tenner' leaving those who had only a single starrter to quietly put in a bit less

Seeyounearertime Mon 11-Apr-16 12:30:12

I think the idea of "Bill Splitting" is ridiculous and you should all order what you want and pay for what you have. That way you can round up what you have, say you order £19 of food, round it up to £20 and all those round ups make up the tip.

It's the fairest system because invariably someone will have a more expensive option than someone else and that makes the system unfair.

SirChenjin Mon 11-Apr-16 12:31:45

We never end up short when people pay what they owe - and it's always on the bill if you're not sure. Why should anyone add another 10% to avoid looking tight? confused

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