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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:
cjbartlett · 22/11/2011 14:35

Grin at thought of paying with sexual favours at table

booboobeedoo · 22/11/2011 14:36

cross posts, aee

AyeBelieve · 22/11/2011 14:37

Ah, there's masses of people who dislike others getting something for nothing, that's true. They aren't very nice, are they?

cjbartlett · 22/11/2011 14:43

I was a bit Hmm at my friend once
we went out for dinner as a group

she drank water so no drinks bill, fair enough, then complained about her meal, got a new meal brought to her and not chargeed for it

so when bill came she didn't pay anything at all - basically a free niht out

if it had been me I would have split the bill between everyone including me to make it a bit cheaper for everyone, I'd have been so embarassed not paying anything all night

I know not quite the same situation but just thought I'd share

CountingDown321 · 22/11/2011 14:46

I think I'd have checked first with the group and then put down the voucher and taken change. They'd look very mean and petty to complain then!

I certainly wouldn't say anything if someone did what you did though OP. It's not like they are losing out in any way.

yellowvan · 22/11/2011 14:48

I'd have thought you were tight, sorry. Think the exchange is v. cheeky, esp with people you don't know well. Also, in effect the resturant have 'given' you £28, instead, when what they were intending to give was the value of food.(ie the food costs them relatively less because they add value by cooking/serving it, so it could be said you 'ripped them off').

GwendolineMaryLacey · 22/11/2011 14:51

How have they given her £28?? That's completely laughable. If she hadn't spent it on that night, she would have used it at a different time. It was a voucher for £50, there was £50 spent.

omgomgomg · 22/11/2011 14:54

You are very lucky,

firstly to win the voucher, although it does depend on how much you spent on the raffle tickets as to the degree of luck.

secondly you were lucky to have the opportunity to convert £30 of the voucher into cash. Some people may see this as being cheeky but as it cost them nothing for you to do this, it's just sour grapes.

Perhaps, if the raffle tickets were very cheap you may have considered the opportunity to convert some of it to cash was worth paying £5 or so for and only taken £25 back.

The idea that you should have subbed everyone assumes that you are a generous soul who can afford to do so. People shouldn't be so presumptious but some are, they see an easy win as money to be frittered away. To others it may have been a much needed boost to family funds. To sub everyone and still have to pay a split of the balance is beyond belief. They clearly wouldn't see it as you forgoing something (i.e. a funded night out with your dh) in order for them to have a cheaper meal but there are people out there who only consider themselves just as you did when you won and seized the opportunity to convert part of it into cash but your deprived no-one of anything, just took an opportunity to make your prize even more valuable. The difference being you saw your money/prize as yours and they saw your voucher as a bonus which they hoped to participate in.

NormaSnorks · 22/11/2011 14:56

Katz - brilliant solution!

I don't want this to be a 'reveal by stealth', but just to answer some of the questions people have asked...

It was a group of 10 mums. I am pretty friendly with about 4 of them, and we were all sitting at one end of the table. I know the others, but not so well.

When we got the bill one of the mums in the middle totted it up, and said it was £22 each, including a tip, and then everyone started chucking cash and cards onto the plate with the bill. When I went into my bag for my purse I remembered I had the voucher and showed it to the two mums (my friends) either side of me. They both just said something like "Oh - lucky you, yes, use it and take the change from the cash" and in fact it was one of them who took it and put it on the plate (with my £2) and passed me £30 back. There was no discussion at this point, and the mum from the middle handed over the cash & voucher, and the waitress started taking £22 off the cards.

It was only this morning that one of my friends told me that after I'd left, the mum who'd collected together the money had said that we'd probably overpaid, since I'd put £50 in. At which point my friend said no, I'd taken £30 back, so that was fine. At which point two mums at the other end had started going on about how mean that was, and how we should have taken the £50 off first, and then divided the bill between us all Hmm.
My friend who told me this was as shocked/ surprised as I was!

Anyway, on re-writing this, a couple of things strike me:

  • the complaining Mums probably didn't even see the voucher, and perhaps didn't know I'd won it
  • perhaps they thought it was a printable one (but for £50?!)

Anyway - this has been debated enough now!

And worse still - Dh's sister is staying unexpectedly this weekend (and has offered to babysit) so DH says 'shall we go out for a meal?' Angry
OP posts:
DSM · 22/11/2011 14:56

Cjbartlett - I find it so embarrassing when people make a big fuss about splitting a bill. Fine if one drinking water and one drinking copious bottles of wine, but otherwise it's a poor show IMO.

I have one friend who insists on 'paying for what we had'. Cue calculators when the bill arrives. Deeply embarrassing. Surely over the course of a friendship things even out. Plus I would rather spend an extra few quid given that I wouldn't dine out with someone if there was no pleasure aspect in it for me. I like my friends, I like to spend time with them. Worth a quid or two in my book.

I digress..

StrictlySazz · 22/11/2011 14:58

I am always the one left to calculate the bill and collect money (as i am an accountant and my friends are lazy feckers and don't want the hassle once pissed Grin)

Therefore I would have collected up all the cards, cash & vouchers and taken them to the till and 'voila'. Everyone paid their share, everyone happy Grin no-one realises about the cash exchange for voucher move executed at the till Wink

As an aside, i was recommended by a waiter friend to always retain the corks from opened bottles of wine so you can check them against the bill at the end as with a large group you may find a couple of extra bottles added on......

blackoutthesun · 22/11/2011 15:09


i really, really can't see what the problem was

SugarAndSpiceMistletoeAndWine · 22/11/2011 15:40

So OP, it could be seen as you using the voucher for your meal and part of your 2 friends', who swapped you cash for the voucher amount.

They agreed, their and your meal came to £66 - you paid between you £50 + £16 cash and they gave you the cash to make up the change for your voucher.

I would put it like this if anyone challenges you. This extra information makes the other people laughable.

Floggingmolly · 01/12/2011 19:06

You did nothing wrong, op, the silly cows logic doesn't even make any sense. Ignore.

Smellslikecatspee · 01/01/2012 18:02

I help with fund raising for a few local charities (this will become relevant in a minute).

I regularly approach several local businesses for vouchers, and they are always very generous. I once asked one of them if the local publicity was really worth it. They told me that 75% of the vouchers they gave out were never used, so it seems that a lot of people don?t see vouchers as ?real? money.

Me I?d break my neck to use the voucher; or give to someone who would.
So I?m guessing that the Mums who commented were of the same attitude. For me I see them as money, maybe money I can only spend in a certain place but still money.

I see nothing wrong in what you did and to be honest would have thought you a bit of a fool (with too much money) if you had thrown in the voucher towards the total bill.

LynetteScavo · 01/01/2012 18:10

I'd have just put in the voucher and not taken any change.

But then it's unlikely I'd have used the voucher at another time as £50 wouldnt' cover a meal for 5, or if it were just me and DH we would have had to get a baby sitter.

I would have just been happy to have a free meal. And everybody else would have been chuffed to get a little bit off their meal (I'm presuming these people are your friends). Win win situation.

Wouldn't have bothered me if someone did what you did though. I would presume they really needed the money.

Trills · 01/01/2012 18:14

They paid exactly what they would have paid if you had not had a voucher.

They were not inconvenienced in any way.

They are, as Hully says, being arses.

WWID - I might have treated friends to a bottle of wine with a voucher that I had won, but these people don't seem like very good friends and don't seem deserving of being treated.

Trills · 01/01/2012 18:14

(good use of the WWYD topic btw) :)

ImperialBlether · 04/01/2012 00:05

But if she'd wanted to share it with friends, surely it would have been better for her to treat just one friend rather than knock £3 off everyone's bill?

I think they were being very unreasonable. You'd won the prize and you could have asked the restaurant for a voucher for £28.

If they are mean enough to think you should help pay for their meal, they're certainly mean enough not to even dream of putting their own vouchers in.

GreatBallsOfFluff · 08/01/2012 22:48

Did the voucher have an expiry date at all?

Honeydragon · 08/01/2012 23:49

Those cards do have cash value as you can buy them as gifts. I know this a as we had a huge falling out at work when I used mine.

Part of my bonus structure allowed us to win from a choice of gift cards. Tesco, HMV, Arcadia and a well know Pizza place. As we were planning a team night out we decided amongst ourselves that any of us who won would claim for the restaurant vouchers. As luck would have it I was on for £25 as was another member,and another member £50.

One member who won £25 knew she couldn't go as she was away but on the basis we were covering her authorised leave (she'd ran out of holiday) she wanted to put hers in Smile

That meant 10 of us going. The meal was £15 per head, so we'd only have to pay £5.

Then as luck would have it, one of my clients submitted a purchase order a month early - winning me that months top performers prize - a £100 voucher of my choice Grin my boss said I didn't have to contribute it toward the meal but I chose to.

We were thrilled, it meant we had £50 to spend on booze Grin

About a week before another team we worked with asked if they could join us. We said fine it was a meal, and then to local tacky nightclub. So 6 came.

When we ordered the meal we basically ordered £50 worth of house wine for the table, which was shared between all 16 of us.

Bill came. We put the vouchers down, my boss had said to the other boss during the meal we had agreed they only need pay for their meals, not booze. One member of the team handed a £25 voucher and £5 for him and his friend. So that left £60.00.

The other boss, I shit you not, pulled out her phone and said " bargain, so that's £4.50 per head including tip"

We were all Shock

My boss was Angry

We then agreed that our team would pay £1 each toward the tip but the remaining three needed to pay their £15 each. Happy they weren't, two of the girls through down £15 and walked out there and then. Other boss paid but sulked the rest of the evening.

There was bad feeling from the two girls and the other boss for months. I had to train one afterwards and it was impossible as she refused to speak to me. Hmm

The fact that this was nine years ago and I am still, literally sat here cringing as I remember how horrible and uncomfortable it made the evening, shows I really out to get a grip and be over it now. But it was awful.

Their argument had been we should have used the vouchers to cover the meals and everyone pay for drinks.

Ours was it's our fucking money, be grateful we let you get pissed on it.

thepeoplesprincess · 09/01/2012 14:06

I don't think you technically wrong, but it was an embarrassingly tight thing to do. Especially as you'd struggle to use it anyway re: babysitting.

I just can't imagine doing it myself. I'd either put the whole thing in, or if I really hated everyone else there just pay cash and save it for another day.

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