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Is this a bit mean?

(118 Posts)
upahill Thu 15-Oct-09 11:17:20

More of a ponder this one.
A week or so 8 women friends went out for a meal. Not everyone knew each other. Lots of different backgrounds. One of my friends is stoney broke but so looking forward to going out she sold some of her gold to go. Anyway, everyone was free to order whatever they wanted to drink whenever they wanted, we decided on no starters but shared popadoms and a main course. Everyone decided that we weren't going to have a sweet but some decided they wanted an Irish cofee or a ordinary coffee. Some decided they didn't want anything. No problem. Bill cameto £151 for 8 people.Someone said call it £20 each. We all got our purses out and twenty quid down. Even skint friend who said that was good, even two pregnant friends who had 1 soft drink all night. See where this is going? A well off acquantence suddenly says actually mine only came to £14.00. (she is so not broke and had plenty of cash on her) Everyone looks disgusted - she is oblivious to everyone being pissed off. I tried saying ' If you look at it as night out for £20, we have been here for 3 1/2 hours and had good service it's quite good value. Someone else said 'It's swings and roundabouts- next time your's might be more more expensive.'

Like I said no major issue but are we (the remander 7 of us) right to be a bit narked? Just a wonder. Thoughts please

LovelyDear Thu 15-Oct-09 11:19:18

yes - i think if you need to keep costs down, announce that you'd like to keep your bills separate the beginning. otherwise divvy up.

nancy75 Thu 15-Oct-09 11:21:25

i hate people that do the mine only came to... i would never go out with her again.

DuelingFANGo Thu 15-Oct-09 11:21:40

these things should be sorted out at the start IMO. I don't think there is anything wrong with a person only wanting to pay for what they have had (though I know loads of people will disagree) but there has to be some kind of agreement on it. I think it's equally rude for one person to make the decision that the bill is split too.

overmydeadbody Thu 15-Oct-09 11:22:27

I hate it when I'm nivited out for dinner and then the bill is just split equally. I avoid these nights at all costs. I would rather just pay for what I ordered, thank you very much.

If I went shopping with friends to H&M or something, I wouldn't expect to just split the bill equally between us, I would pay for what I was buying and expect others to do the same.


Hate hate hate equally splitting bills at restaurants.

DuelingFANGo Thu 15-Oct-09 11:22:32

and I am guessing that each person on the table only had to cough up another pound to pay the extra so it shouldn't be a big deal IMO.

overmydeadbody Thu 15-Oct-09 11:23:19

I do think it should be agreed at the begining though what is going to happen RE the bill.

BrokkenHarted Thu 15-Oct-09 11:23:45

haha, i would just have started laughing!

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Thu 15-Oct-09 11:24:26

I don't know I can see both sides to this.
Yes £20 for a night out is good but I am the person who only ever eats one course and drinks very little. It's not swings and roundabouts for me I will alwaybe paying more than I actually spent.
I think it is always best to sort out the bill paying arrangements before you actually go out for the night because nobody in this situation is wrong. Yes it generally evens out over time but you don't know your friends sitaution inside out and you really have no idea what her cash flow is, or maybe like me she is a bit tired of eating the least and paying more.

I think YABU for being narked at her, it's her choice and good on her for speaking up most people don't and leave grumbling and puts them off going out again.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 15-Oct-09 11:25:05

Its ungracious to quibble if everyone else is happy splitting the bill - unless you're broke and deliberately chose cheap options.

Best to decide the rules at the start - if I know we're splitting I would never order something expensive whereas if its paying your share then I might.

Splitting is def easiest - avoids the fraught Bistromathics or whatever Douglas Adams called it grin

nancy75 Thu 15-Oct-09 11:25:49

allk the people that only want to pay for what they ordered always forget that restaurants charge you for things like bread and service charge, they never take that into account when totting up their bill.

Stigaloid Thu 15-Oct-09 11:26:49

Some people are just raised differently about money. My brother is a count up the pennies to reach the exact amount type of person, where as i am a split it between the lot of you gal (although it took me a while to get there - i used to count pennies too - comes from being raised by a dad who didn't have much and worked darn hard to get to where he was by counting the pennies!) Am sure you friend felt suitablly chastised and if she ended up paying the £20 she will know for next time not to pipe up. Although you should always make it clear at the beginning of a meal IMO if you want to split costs or pay for your own so as to avoid embarrasing scenes such as above.

(£20 sounds like a vey reasonable night out too - hope you had fun!)

BrokkenHarted Thu 15-Oct-09 11:29:14

So wait, did she pay the 14 or the 20 in the end?

overmydeadbody Thu 15-Oct-09 11:31:52

Nancy I always take into account service sharges and tipping and popadoms and stuff.

I'd say £20 for a curry is a bit much really, but I am a tight bastard living off value beans grin

MaryBS Thu 15-Oct-09 11:32:21

TBH You should have sorted it out before, saves on arguments. Think you are being a little unfair on her.

I prefer to pay for what I've had, to me that is fair. Nothing to do with being stingy, and I usually round it up to the nearest £5 or so.

islandofsodor Thu 15-Oct-09 11:35:26

I personally would not pay £20 for a night out and I never go anywhere where the bill is split on that basis unless it is a set menu and I nkow this in advance.

I would probably budget about £15 for a night out including a meal. I don't eat starters and don't drink.

Did the poeple splitting the bill state at the start of the night that is what would be happening. if not she proabbly assumed that everyone would be paying for what they ordered. I always do.

Nancy66 Thu 15-Oct-09 11:37:34

If it's a one off night out then she should have just coughed the £20 and kept quiet.

Have to admit there's been a few occasions when bills have been split and i've thought 'hang on a minute, i've not done very well out of this.' Big drinkers and big eaters will always benefit from the bill being divided equally - and there are some people that will often take advantage of that.

When I wasn't drinking I would sometimes speak up and say that I was going to put in less, if the others had notched up six bottles of wine between them - especially when I was usually lumbered with driving everyone home. I think that's fair enough - booze really drives a bill up.

TheDemonicButDandyLioness Thu 15-Oct-09 11:40:44

I agree that it's best to announce beforehand how the bill will be divvied up, but those of you who do that, how?

In group situations I tend to expect that the bill will be shared equally. This has meant that when I was pregnant, I paid a fair bit more than I should have for a couple of group meals because I wasn't drinking. But I was happy to do so because of who I was with - generous, good friends.
If I know that someone in our party didn't drink/have a starter/whatever, I always point this out to the group, saying that X should pay less. It is embarrassing to have to pipe up yourself.

upahill Thu 15-Oct-09 11:43:34

In the end she paid £14.00. It turned out that the friend who arranged the night out put in an extra £6 in. I only found this out yesterday.

One of the girls who was pregnant, her bill came to less than £14.00 but immediately said 'it's lovely here £20 including tip is excellent'
Everyone is right saying that it should have been sorted out before hand but all the other 7 people assumed that it would be split and some people only met for the first time once we got in the restaurant.

I know that you can't speculate on people's circumstance but we are talking about two large income family no kids and a designer clothes habit. and £6.00!

islandofsodor Thu 15-Oct-09 11:46:05

This is why I no longer go out in a group for meals!

upahill Thu 15-Oct-09 11:48:04

Overmydeadbody - It wasn't just a curry though, It was a nice restaraunt, drinks, a few hours out. All of which she had!
I've been a bit of a beans of toast girl lately so had put £40 away to budget for the night as I hadn't been out with friends for ages.

emsyj Thu 15-Oct-09 11:49:19

I think in these situations it's always easiest (as others have said) to decide in advance what you're going to do about the bill. If e.g. there's one person who doesn't drink and everyone else is downing gallons of wine, it would be nice for one of the drinkers (I often do this) to say, 'X hasn't been drinking the wine, so she should pay less'. I wouldn't expect X to say anything but would expect someone else to stand up for them on their behalf IYSWIM.

Generally when going out with a group I find the bill does get evenly split and I expect that sometimes I will do well, other times I will get a bit ripped off. Such is life.

I did once go out for a birthday dinner when I was a student with my then-boyfriend and a group of his friends (students also). One girl said at the start that she only had £10 and was a bit concerned about budget. It was one of those £5 early doors pizza & pasta places, so it shouldn't have been a problem if everyone had just ordered a main course, and sure enough everyone did that (and bought their drinks straight from the bar) with the exception of the boyfriend of one of the guests who was the only non-student there (working full time) who ordered starter, steak, 3 pints to the table and a dessert and then suggested splitting the bill. Despite having never met most of the guests (or perhaps because I didn't know them and therefore had no shame/worry about offending the girlfriend) I did an involuntary hollow laugh and said, 'absolutely not'. He paid up in the end - and had a right cob on. Typical.

MagNacarta Thu 15-Oct-09 11:50:34

Hmm, when I've been on nights out like this locally someone usually will say somethink like 'well I had wine and Sarah didn't, so I think I ought to pay more' so that the higher eater/drinkers raise it rather than the other way around. That way we still break it down roughly, but might say well the non drinkers pay £5 less or something like that.

LovelyDear Thu 15-Oct-09 11:51:17

it's a shame not to go out for meals just this reason surely? i've never been in a group where i wouldn't have felt able to say - i'm skint, can i just pay my bit tonight or equally, to say is everyone happy to split evenly or shall we chuck in what we think we had and divide up anything left over? that's what we usually do at work in fact. we all plonk down roughly our own cost, and if there's something missing we divvy that up.

Poohbearsmom Thu 15-Oct-09 11:53:44

Would not like the splitting the bill thing it either means u dont really order what u really want cause u dont want to splash out & av ever1 givin out about ya after or u dont order much but end up forkin out a heap load & feelin sour after it & then da whole night is ruined...

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