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Used voucher in restaurant for 'group meal' and took the cash/change - was this wrong??

122 replies

NormaSnorks · 22/11/2011 10:07

I am a bit stunned by this, so would appreciate some perspectives...

I was lucky enough recently to win a £50 restaurant voucher in a local town event raffle Smile.

By coincidence our class 'mums night out' was at this restaurant on Sat night.
When the bill came we divided the total (including tip) by the ten of us, and it came out as £22 each.

I put in my £50 voucher plus a £2 coin, and took back £30 in cash (several people had paid cash).
This seemed fine and fair to me, and I was grateful to have the cash back as change, as it will be much more useful in the run up to Christmas.

However I heard this morning at school that after I left the restaurant (I had to get a taxi) that some of the mums were saying that I'd been rather 'mean', and since I'd had a voucher that I should have 'thrown it in the kitty' first and then we should have divided the remainder between us.

Really? Is having a £50 voucher different from having a £50 note for example?

I'm rather upset and shocked by this. I don't consider myself a 'mean' person, but I can't really afford to contribute £65 to a group meal Shock (which is what it would be if we'd done it 'their way')


OP posts:
Hullygully · 22/11/2011 12:29

As long as each individual has paid their fair share, who gives a fuck about vouchers/cash/cards etc?

sheeplikessleep · 22/11/2011 12:29

Eggrules Shock. They made the difference up, so in effect your tip paid part of their meal? Unbelievable. If that were me, I would have said something.

MrsVoltar · 22/11/2011 12:33

I agree with Sugar

I wouldn't have used the voucher, or would have asked beforehand if they minded me using it then taking cash back. It isn't cash & you cant use it anywhere.

But, I suppose its similar to someone having a storecard & saying I'll pay by my storecard for whole bill & take your cash for your part, which would be fine.

So, IMO, looking at it that way, its fine & they were wrong.

Ponders · 22/11/2011 12:34

Myself and another friend put cash in with tip. Another paid by card but only the difference and so they paid less (and ate/drank more) and a tip was not left

god that's mean Angry

NormaSnorks · 22/11/2011 12:35

Eggrules - in your case there wasn't parity though... you DID pay more for the meal, by including the tip in your share (and that's another whole series of MN threads in the archive I fear...)

OP posts:
NormaSnorks · 22/11/2011 12:38

MrsVoltar - ahh - therein you raise another interesting moral debate! Grin

So if everyone pays by cash, but I then say 'OK, I'll put it the whole lot on my credit card (for which I get 3% cashback) and take the cash on the table... is that all right?? Grin


OP posts:
StealthPolarBear · 22/11/2011 12:41

eggrules that's theft! They stole the money you had left as a tip!

ASuitableGirl · 22/11/2011 12:41

NormaSnorks (do you have NormaSnorks by the way? Am jealous if you do) I would have had no problem with you paying the way you did. You paid £22, everyone paid £22 and the restaurant got the voucher. Why on earth should you have used the £50 voucher to subsidise everyone else? And as the restaurant would have given you a credit note for the balance (although I would have taken the cash) then there was absolutely no problem. And the suggestion that you should have given the voucher and paid an extra £17 is daft.

Eggrules · 22/11/2011 12:43

Yep Sheep that is exactly what happened. It wasn't obvious at the time as they didn't pay at the table. The OHs talked about it later and it came out in a 'wow weren't we lucky with the bill' kind of way - erm no, they didn't/don't get it. They said they never leave a tip.

Ponders I was Blush not to leave a tip. Not sure I would arrange anything socially again but if we do I will make sure things are equal.

Sorry for high jack Norma. People have different expectations. I think this is worse when people have an idea that something is free - even if this isn't the case i.e. my tip; a 'free' bar; vouchers.

sheeplikessleep · 22/11/2011 12:43

But you are getting cash back, in an instance where without the others, you would have got a credit voucher (which isn't the same as cash).

It is a very grey area and I certainly wouldn't expect you to subsidise others meals, but to me it doesn't seem the right situation to take the cash back, particularly without checking.

sheeplikessleep · 22/11/2011 12:44

right situation to use the voucher to take the cash back.

Fayrazzled · 22/11/2011 12:45

I wouldn't have done what you did. It does seem a little mean to me I'm afraid to have paid for your share, and taken change in cash, with your voucher. You had won the voucher so to my mind that's not the same as cash- it was a prize you got for presumably a small stake. If I wasn't prepared to share it with my friends/acquaintances, then I would have used it on another occasion.

Logically, you haven't done anything wrong since you haven't profitted from anyone and no-one was left out of pocket, but if a friend of mine had done as you did I would think it was a little mean. I don't think they should be talking about you though.

AyeBelieve · 22/11/2011 12:49

It would have been much easier all round if the whingers had decided to be "generous" in "allowing" you to convert your voucher to cash rather than be miserable about it. If they had to notice the transaction at all.

Some people have very bizarre interpretations of fair play.

NormaSnorks · 22/11/2011 13:26

I'm really interested in the idea that a voucher is 'worth less' than cash (of the same value)... How can that be? It may be less easily used, yes, but the 'opportunity cost' is exactly the same i.e. £20 spent via a voucher has the same monetary value as a £20 note.

Does the concept of 'how hard it is to earn' affect people's perception of value?
Is a £5 note I earn from scrubbing toilets for an hour (not my real job btw... Wink) worth more than the £5 note I find on the street outside?
Do I have a greater obligation to share the second £5 note, because I didn't 'earn' it in the same way?
I find this stuff really interesting - especially when you start drilling down and trying to explain what people mean when they say they 'just feel' it is right or wrong somehow?

I probably have a very atypical view, as I have a degree in Economics, and I see monetary value as a very black/white numerical thing Blush...

OP posts:
cornflakegirl · 22/11/2011 13:34

It's no skin off their noses really, but I still would have checked no-one minded before doing it. Same as I would check if I wanted to swipe the cash and put the bill on my credit card to save having to go to the cash point.

cornflakegirl · 22/11/2011 13:36

A voucher is worth less than cash because you have to factor in the probability that you will use it (and for something that you would have spent cash on anyway).

Hullygully · 22/11/2011 13:38

I just can't believe that anyone would give a shit unless they were losing out.

sheeplikessleep · 22/11/2011 13:38

To me it is 'worth less' because yes it is less easily used.
The opportunity cost is the same, but if someone offered me £10 in cash or a £20 restaurant voucher, I'd opt for the cash.

AyeBelieve · 22/11/2011 13:41

But what's their arseache? They got to do a good turn (converting the voucher to cash for someone) at zero cost to them. Did they expect something in return?

sheeplikessleep · 22/11/2011 13:42

Sometimes you see threads where you think 'how could anyone even think that!' in AIBU and the like. I disagree that (a) they should have talked about it (b) expected you to subsidise the others meals BUT, I personally wouldn't have just put the voucher in taken the money out without any conversation about it with a group of mums I know 'lightly'. But to me, vouchers are a pain in the arse, you never spend the full amount, you get credit vouchers back, they stick in your purse forever etc. I do think this is one of those threads where I can see both 'sides' though. Although on paper you've not done anything untoward, it just doesn't sit right and I can't really articulate why!

sheeplikessleep · 22/11/2011 13:45

I don't think they should have got anything 'in return'.

DamselInDisarray · 22/11/2011 13:47

The way I'd see it is that working it this way would make absolutely no difference to me, but might prevent the OP having annoying vouchers lying about (I have 5p left on an HMV gift card that's never going to be used, for example). So, in complaining, I'd only be difficult and a bit of a social jobsworth.

AyeBelieve · 22/11/2011 13:49

Then what? She shouldn't have used the voucher?

lborolass · 22/11/2011 13:50

Logically the others have no right to whinge as they paid £22 for a £22 meal but I can see why they may be disgruntled.

You paid £1 for a raffle ticket and were lucky enough to win a prize which ended up being a free £22 meal and £28 in cash, the others are jealous of your good fortune and are showing that jealousy by being annoyed that (in their eyes) the cash element came from them.

I'm not saying that you did anything wrong, I think it would have been better to have checked with everyone first, but I can see why some of the others were annoyed.

A £50 restuarant voucher isn't the same as a £50 note simply because of the restrictions on how you can use it - I'm surprised you don't see that. If I said to you that I'd give you a £50 note or a voucher you wouldn't pick the voucher would you ? I wouldn't pick the vocuher even if it was for £75 against £50 cash as they just aren't the same.

cjbartlett · 22/11/2011 13:57

tbh I think it does cme across as a bit mean

I wold have said 'hey guys look what I won in a raffle the other week, lets use this to keep the cost down'

or I would have saved it for me and dh

I can see there point tbh, it just looks a bit mean of you, sorry Grin

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