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Unpaid bar tab AIBU?

(77 Posts)
SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Wed 02-Mar-16 10:49:02

This is the first time I have ventured over to AIBU, please be kind grin

I do a hobby in a large group, and have done for a few years now. I am also involved in the organisation of this group. We meet once a week to do the hobby, and normally have a couple of social events throughout the year. The latest one was this weekend and was a party in a pub. It was good fun, lots of people brought their partners or friends and we all had a nice time.

Throughout the evening I was vaguely aware that some people had a group bar tab going, but I didn't think much of it, and I wasn't involved in any way (I paid for each of my drinks as I ordered them). However towards the end of the night the barman pointed out to me that a lot of people had already gone home, but the tab was still pretty high. I had to do an announcement anyway that the bar was closing so it was last orders, and I also asked everyone to remember to pay off what they owed. A few more people did, but when everyone had gone home there was still £50 odd that hadn't been paid. I paid it, assuming that for most people it would have been an honest mistake and I could ask at our next meeting for those that had forgotten to pay me back.

We have now had our next meeting and no one has come forward. I know it is only £50, and I am not going to starve because of it, but I am not exactly swimming in cash and honestly I am a bit annoyed to lose it.
So would I BU to make a bit more of a fuss? Or should I just chalk it up to experience and let it go?

RattusRattus Wed 02-Mar-16 10:50:48

Chalk it up to experience and when you next have a social tell the barstaff not to operate a tab for the group.

DoBananasWearPajamas Wed 02-Mar-16 10:52:04

Did you tell them specifically you had paid it ?

SweetieDrops Wed 02-Mar-16 10:52:25

Why did you pay it, surely you should have pointed out to the barman you were paying individually and the tab wasn't yours?

momb Wed 02-Mar-16 10:53:00

I think that if you have mentioned it to everyone and no-one has coughed up then there isn't much you can do except approach the committee and ask for the money from club funds. It is not your responsibility to cover other people's drinks tab.
They may say no, at which point I would let it go....but, as an organiser of the group events I would take pains to ensure no-one sets up a tab at a venue again.

ZiggyFartdust Wed 02-Mar-16 10:55:04

You shouldn't have paid it. The bar set up a group bar tab without first finding out who had ultimate responsibility for paying it, or taking a credit card? Then it was their fault it wasn't paid, and they should have accepted the loss. Unless you as the organiser had previously agreed to bar tabs and to paying any charged drinks unpaid for.

But you did pay it, and you don't know who actually owes it, so there really isn't much you can do about it now.

misskatamari Wed 02-Mar-16 10:55:25

That is so rude and cheeky! Personally I would want to make a fuss about it. Whether that will result in you getting your money back or not I don't know, but I would want people to know that some people in the group had completely taken the piss, and now weren't even owning up to it. So out of order. For future events I would make it very clear to bar staff not to allow tabs to be set up. Some people are so flipping cheeky!

RumAppleGinger Wed 02-Mar-16 10:56:08

Sorry, I wouldn't have paid it. If the bar operates a tab system it's down to them to ensure they are paid by the people who have opened them.

However, you have paid it so yes, by all means kick up a fuss and get your cash back. And make it clear to the bar staff next time that if they choose allow tabs it is entirely at their own liability.


blindsider Wed 02-Mar-16 10:57:42

The receiving payment of the bar tab is the bars responsibility they should have ensured they had a CC to cover it. You shouldn't have taken responsibility for it.

TheOddity Wed 02-Mar-16 10:58:01

I would be asking which fucker agreed to a tab and they can redeem you the £50!

Gazelda Wed 02-Mar-16 10:58:13

Usually the bar staff will keep a credit card of someone running up the tab. Did they not do this?

And no, I wouldn't chalk it up to experience. I'd send a very firm email to everyone in the group, explaining that the bar tab hadn't been fully settled and that you'd had to settle it as you were one of the last to leave. Ask everyone in the group to check with whoever they brought to the event whether or not they had been involved in the tab and whether they'd paid their share. Say that you unless you are reimbursed, you will have to put a claim in for the club to pay you back (if there is such a group expenses set up) as you don't see why you shoul be left out of pocket by this not inconsiderable sum.

Aeroflotgirl Wed 02-Mar-16 10:59:43

Yes it is rude and cheeky, next time you meet in the group, tell them exactly what happened, and that you had to settle somebodies tab which came to £50 (do you have the reciept?), that somebody owes you that money, if they do not, you are not organising any social events until its paid. It is silly of the bar staff though, to not take somebodies card until the tab is settled. I know that when my friends go out, the bar staff ask to keep back somebodies card as a gurantee, before a tab is allowed.

BarefootAcrossHotLegoPieces Wed 02-Mar-16 10:59:53

Another one very surprised no credit card was taken.

Did you actually ask at the group meeting or were you just hoping people would come forward?

DeccaMitfordsEntryVisa Wed 02-Mar-16 11:01:22

If ever I have been at a bar and a tab is organised, the bar staff will ask to hold onto a credit/debit card or occasionally something like a phone/car keys whatever. I can see that this isn't infallible, but shouldn't the bar staff have ensured that whoever was using the tab paid their way?

The people who have let you pay for their drinks are bad though.

Can you recoup through club funds? You shouldn't be out of pocket

Aeroflotgirl Wed 02-Mar-16 11:01:40

Next time do not pay the tab, it is between the bar staff and the person who opened it, it is up to them to redeem that from them. If they walk out, they have to call the Police. Not your responsibility, they are grown adults, not kids fgs, why do the bar staff expect you to pay. Their fault for not getting a CC off them.

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Wed 02-Mar-16 11:02:04

The barman was aware that I wasn't involved in the tab and they weren't my drinks, but we couldn't exactly leave it unpaid. We go there as a group a few times a year and we are holding a meeting in the room above the pub in a few weeks, so I didn't want to piss them off.

I didn't have anything to do with the organisation of the party, but as I do help with the group organisation I felt sort of responsible for it.

I don't think the tab should ever have been set up without taking a credit card, but sometimes we do hold events (at the pub in question) where everyone's first drink gets paid for, so this kind of set up isn't unheard of, maybe the barman thought that was what was going on.

Paddingtonthebear Wed 02-Mar-16 11:03:24

You shouldn't have paid it. And the barman shouldn't have assumed it was your responsibility. Saying that, I would actually make a point of bringing this up with your group. Just because you organise activities it doesn't mean people can take the piss. And effectively steal drinks! So I would make it known you had to pay and you are not happy about it. Cheeky fuckers!

Artioo2 Wed 02-Mar-16 11:03:28

I would have done the same as you and paid it, but I would have made an announcement at the next club meeting about what had happened, made it clear I was unfairly out of pocket and asked people to pay if they knew they owed money. If I didn't get all the money back I would take it from the club kitty. I'm in a similar hobby club, and this would be completely the way we would handle something like this.

plantsitter Wed 02-Mar-16 11:04:52

I would be making a fuss about this! It is probably an accident but if I were one of the ones who'd been on the tab I'd be mortified you'd picked it up if you weren't even on it!

Tell the group you bailed them out to the tune of £50 and although you're sure it was an accident perhaps they could club together and pay you back.

Aeroflotgirl Wed 02-Mar-16 11:04:53

Dont let that happen again, hold a meeting, explain what happened, and also highlight the responsibility of members to pay their tabs, that you will not be responsible. I would also contact the pub before hand to reiterate this, that they should hold a CC before taking a tab.

MinnieF1 Wed 02-Mar-16 11:06:32

Just make an announcement at the next meeting telling everyone what has happened. Can you suggest that people don't set up tabs in future if they aren't prepared to pay for them!

mouldycheesefan Wed 02-Mar-16 11:07:03

So at the next meeting you need to say' folks, a tab was run up of £50 and I paid it. I do need the £50 back from those who had the tab please.
Have you actually told the club members this? Or are you just hoping they will remember?
You need to be more assertive.

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Wed 02-Mar-16 11:07:47

The "leader" of our group made an announcement at our meeting this week about it, saying that I had ended up paying the tab for the people who left without paying, and could they pay me back.

I know I probably shouldn't have paid at the time, but it was late and I was tired and I thought I would get the money back, we are generally a nice lot of people!

BabyGanoush Wed 02-Mar-16 11:10:51

Well, that was learning money...

Even "nice" people can try to get away with not paying for drinks. Sadly.

The bar should have requested a credit card behind the bar. It was THEIR mistake, and YOU paid for it.

Can it come out of the kitty from this "hobby"?

Artioo2 Wed 02-Mar-16 11:11:22

I think you did the right thing in paying, especially at a venue you have an ongoing relationship with. I would be asking the club leader to make a stronger announcement next meeting, making it clear it's very unfair that you've paid this and that the people who were in the bar tab arrangement (who must surely know who they are, even if they've forgotten drinks they didn't pay for) need to sort this out between them. Do you have any club funds?

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