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To not want to just divide the bill ...

(227 Posts)
GenerallyIndecisive Sat 02-Feb-13 16:43:20

Me and my DH had lunch today with some new friends. We have wanted to meet new people so have been making an effort to go to things and talk to new people so we were pleased when a couple we had been chatting to on and off for a few months suggested lunch. They picked quite a pricey pub but we had seen they did a few nice light bites and were happy to go there.

It was a nice lunch and we all got on really well but when the bill came the other couple just said to the waitress oh split the bill and handed over their card... Their food / drink was about £20 more though so we ended up paying £10 extra.

Money is really tight for us at present as I only get Maternity Allowance (was made redundant at 20 weeks pregnant and had only been there 1 year 11 months so no redundancy either).

My DH thinks I am being unreasonable to feel a bit upset and says that most people would just split the bill without giving it a second thought.

Am I being unreasonable?

HintofBream Mon 04-Feb-13 00:15:47

MrsKoala made a very good point where she says that when she has checked her DH's bills she has found lots of mistakes. I invariably check the bill, because there are indeed very frequent mistakes - and they are rarely in your favour.

soimpressed Sun 03-Feb-13 23:05:29

I think if you eat a much more expensive meal or drink wine when others are only on water then it's rude not to offer to put in a bit extra. It's also rude to just assume that others in a group will want to split the bill.

PopMusic Sun 03-Feb-13 22:52:55

I think it was a bit presumptuous of your new friends tbh, especially as you'd be too polite and a bit embarrassed to contradict them when you maybe don't know them very well. Oh well, forewarned is forearmed (is that a saying?) and you can sort it out for next time.

I don't mind splitting the bill if we have had pretty much similar priced things. But if I know the friends are a starter, steak, pudding type people (I tend to more veggie orientated and find a three course meal a bit much), I usually ask for separate bills. One thing that I always make sure is that drinks bill is separate as I don't drink.

I sound a bundle of laughs, don't I? It's no wonder I don't get invited out much for dinner.grin not true, am off out next Saturday for a meal

mirry2 Sun 03-Feb-13 22:34:17

Just entertain at home. It's easier and cheaper.

GenerallyIndecisive Sun 03-Feb-13 22:29:38

Get over myself? Way to be an arse.

I think as this thread has shown there are wildly differing opinions on eating out and bill etiquette. I did not complain about my new friends or judge them, if you look back you will see I said they are lovely and we already have made plans to meet again. I never even intimated they were greedy chancers.

My original question was about whether I was being unreasonable to raise an internal eyebrow at splitting the bill as my DH had said I was. I don't think our friends probably thought about the difference in cost or realised the true extent of our financial circumstances (although we did say me being made redundant was leaving us struggling).

While the place was pricey we were there for lunch not dinner and they had a light bites menu specifically for lunch. It's not as if we just ordered starters as mains.

Some people really need to check their attitudes before laying into people totally out of context.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 03-Feb-13 19:28:34

It's possible that the other couple thought that the OP ordered soup because she wasn't very hungry/was going to have a big meal later/is on a diet, rather than for budget reasons. I do think that when you are eating with new friends you need to a) suggest a cheaper option if you know the chosen restaurant is a bit pricey for you and/or b) say you would rather have separate bills. They may have been a bit thoughtless, but that doesn't automatically make them greedy chancers - they may just be habitual bill-splitters with all their other friends. They may have previously offered separate bills to someone else who got all arsey and offended and 'Do you think I can't afford to eat out or what?' with them.
OP, I would suggest you just get over yourself this time, and make up your mind about your new friends on subsequent behaviour.

simplesusan Sun 03-Feb-13 17:14:54

Freddie- I wonder if your friend will continue to have extravagant tastes or will choose more carefully knowing that she might have to pay for her own food bill.

Pinkerl Sun 03-Feb-13 17:00:27

Was it two steaks and two soups, or were the two "less extreme" meals more evenly matched?

Doing the maths - "The bill was £70 including tip so £20 was quite a big percentage"

This would mean one couple ordered food for £25 and the other for £45. That is quite a big difference (nearly double), and the other couple were a bit rude just to assume it was ok to split the bill at that level of difference

MerylStrop Sun 03-Feb-13 16:21:00

The couple you were with were perhaps a bit thoughtless, but to be fair they were assuming you could afford to go out to lunch with them, you having accepted the invitation without caveat.

It would have been sensible to be upfront about money and invited them to yours for cake and coffee instead, perhaps?

freddiefrog Sun 03-Feb-13 16:20:31

It depends on what group of friends I'm out with whether or not we split the bill.

One group we just split, we all have similar tastes and we eat out together fairly regularly so it generally works out fairly over time.

I was out a couple of weeks ago with a friend who always expects other people to subsidise her tastes and I'm getting a bit fed up with it, so I put my foot down this time. I'm at the end of a horrible cold, I'm all blocked up, can't taste anything and have no appetite, so I ordered a starter instead of a main course and had a diet coke. When the bill came it was £50 and she wanted to split it £25 each. My actual share was £7.50 so I bunged in a tenner and refused to pay any more

countrykitten Sun 03-Feb-13 16:10:51

Am I missing something here? I am a veggie and very often people around me order is not like it's hundreds of pounds or anything! Even in our local gastro pub (Michelin starred dontcha know) steak is only about £20 or something similar. There are more expensive things that you could order....confused.

Viviennemary Sun 03-Feb-13 15:29:56

I'm almost sure it said they ordered steak and the OP had soup. I don't think it matters if it's people you know and are comfortable with and go out with regularly but I think it is cheeky when it's people you haven't been out with before. To expect them to subsidise your meal. At least they should have offered to pay the extra it was only good manners.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 03-Feb-13 15:17:14

Yes it does... it's heightened sensibilities and perhaps a feeling of awkwardness that is exaggerated a bit when we're not in our individual comfort zones. What you say about ordering when you're with your nct group is probably what I'd do too - not making yourself 'stand out' in any way, perhaps? My mother and her family also talk endlessly about this kind of thing and actually, they make things even more awkward and uncomfortable for everyone although they'd be mortified if they knew that.

You fight for your steak when you're with your friends though, MrsK - order a bottle of something for everyone to make up the difference. Nobody will think anything of it but you'll get to eat something you really like and the gesture will be appreciated.

MrsKoala Sun 03-Feb-13 15:09:40

Oh god, it certainly isn't never I did say sometimes because I can't help but make a mental note of what we had the last time and the time before. But it's not just with dh. If I go out with my nct group I order something cheap because they do and I don't want any awkwardness. Dh always tries to pay for everyone else as we'll and he would want me to have what I want, it's only my paranoia! I grew up with extended family who talked about people endlessly about stuff like this so now I am a bit uptight, I don't notice what anyone else has but only stress about me. Not sure if that makes sense. smile

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 03-Feb-13 14:59:12

No, MrsK, you need MORE nice meals now you have your DS! grin

I just think you should have what's fair and your husband should reign it in a bit if you're never getting to have what you want. Does he understand your feelings on this?

Pondering... what about if you told your friends that you wanted to buy some wine for the table yourself - would that make it easier for you? I understand about new friends and not wanting to cause ripples.

Sorry to keep posting back... it looks like I'm singling you out for comment but I just want you to feel that you should have nice meals out too!

diddl Sun 03-Feb-13 14:55:02

Unless you are going to be regularly eating out with a set of people so that it "evens out", I really can´t see the problem with paying for what you order tbh.

MrsKoala Sun 03-Feb-13 14:50:43

Also sorry to hijack, Lying, we are new to an area and are making new friends so it's more of a minefield I think, than with good mates, you can just say no piss off I'm paying more!

MrsKoala Sun 03-Feb-13 14:48:43

Well we are greedy pigs and usually/used to eat out 3or4 times a week. Sadly not so much of an issue any more since ds arrived.

When I got pregnant I started caring about food more and ordering what I wanted. But I can't help but feel like a bastard if no one else is having a pudding! I think it's more my problem than anyone else. I'm a people pleaser so tend to want to make sure everyone else has what they want/isn't unhappy. But I'm slowly learning not to martyr myself - it really isn't a good look! Thanks for your concern tho (tbf I could do with skipping a few meals since ds). ;)

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 03-Feb-13 14:38:59

MrsKoala... I wouldn't know about your husband's spending but I still wouldn't put up with this because eating out would be an occasion to me. I'd rather waste my calories on something I loved than something I was indifferent too.

I think, in your position, assuming that my dining partners were friends, I'd just say - "Look, we'll split the bill but I'm putting in the 'extra', no arguments, capische?".

Or, I'd have a word with my husband and say - I'm not comfortable with this arraangement; you know what the bill usually is and we split it so you will have £x to choose what you want - and I'll have the same amount."

I don't know about the drinks or how your bill stacks up but I just don't like the thought of your husband blithely ordering masses of exactly what he wants - and you can't. That's not fair.

MrsKoala Sun 03-Feb-13 14:31:39

Ha! Well yes, alibaba a although that's a lot more sorted now, I was going to do an update about it.

But no, that isn't the main reason, i meant I order things I wouldn't like if I had a pick, ie would rather have the expensive sea bass but think if I had that AND dh has steak we would piss off the people we were with so I have a pasta or something I'm not fussed on (there isn't really a food I massively dislike and I doubt dh would notice what I ate). Because they WON'T let us pay for our own. That was my point. They say don't be silly. But if you are eating out with veggies, it doesn't seem fair- whatever they say. And I'd rather have an extra glass of wine smile

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 03-Feb-13 14:24:14

Lying MrsKoala's DH has dreadful spending habits and doesn't accept that he should alter them. She is trying to stop them burning through their savings. In a nutshell.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 03-Feb-13 14:01:10

MrsKoala... Just WHY would you order things that you don't even like just because your husband has steak? Assuming you could afford for both of you to eat what you want, why wouldn't you just make a mental not and chuck in extra so that nobody subsidises? You're running the risk of your friends not even noticing that you'd ordered 'down' anyway so they might talk about your ordering as a couple anyway if your husband orders so much.

Does your husband not comment on the fact that you order things you don't like as you feel you have to subsidise his expensive ordering? If you can't afford it then he shouldn't really be seeing to his own wants all the time over yours.

Why not just order what you want, make a mental note of how much it will cost when the bill comes and chuck in the extra to make it 'right' once the bill is 'split'?

TotallyBS Sun 03-Feb-13 11:59:09

At one place I worked I would regularly go out for lunch with one of the PA's. She was a veggie (religious reasons). I didn't go OTT and ordered lobster but I do love my food so I didn't order of the (cheap) fixed price lunch menu. The first time I offered to chuck in more money but she waved it off with a "don't be silly". Thereafter the compromise was that we would split 50/50 but that I would take care of the tip.

BadLad Sun 03-Feb-13 11:53:48

I only had soup and some crusty bread and one of them had steak

TotallyBS Sun 03-Feb-13 11:50:40

Vivienne - confused where does the OP say that the other couple ordered steak? Even if they did, sirloin steak is about £4 more expensive than the risotto or the pasta at my local. So if they did order steak it's hardly 'crass entitlement'.

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