To cap off an evening of fun and adventure you and your friends head to a restaurant that comes highly recommended by the Food Network, Trip Advisor, your coworkers and your girlfriend’s mother. The food is almost as good as the conversation, and everyone is having a fantastic time. It’s one of those nights that you will talk about for years to come. The gangs all here, you say to yourself. Everyone went to college together, and some of you were high school classmates. Everyone is knocking on 30’s door, but stories of success fill every seat, so whatever complaints there may be about age are quieted by thoughts of accomplishment.
Man, life is great, and you are spending it with the people that mean the most to you. Eventually, the night comes to a close and waitress brings out the bill. Someone notices that the amount includes everyone’s food and he asks the waitress to please split the bill. The server replies that she cannot because it is against restaurant policy and points to the sign that agrees with her. The table gets a little quiet; except for the side conversation going on at the end of the table. Your boy from college is trying his hardest to rekindle an old college flame that has long since burned out. He didn’t realize what the waitress had said, but when he does, he looks up in shock, horror and disbelief.
Now the restaurant is entirely quiet because your party is the last one there. Finally, you take the initiative and say who has cash? Four people raise their hands. Alright, who has debit? Five more people raise their hands? You ask lover boy what he has, and he replies, my wallet must have fallen out in the car – can you get me, bro? You answer, yes. Okay, that’s ten people with a couple of different methods of payment. The waitress comes back and states they only take one method of payment while pointing to another sign; however, they have an ATM in the front. The debit group goes to make withdrawals. The bill came up to $320.
A handful of people ask to see the bill. It changes hands a few times after a careful analysis by each. You can tell that they were getting a sense of how much they individually owed. Then another person says, “Let’s just split in 10 ways.” Makes sense to you and just when you are about to reply, somebody else says, I’m not paying $32! I only had a salad. Another person agrees, they had wings and a beer and they can’t possibly believe that their meal is anywhere close to the proposed amount. The other side of the room is a little quiet. You can still see the remnants of their New York Strip, and they haven’t quite finished the red wine that they paired. Their meal was well over $32, right along with Mr. Old Fashion. No drink specials today, so his drinks alone came up to $25.
You know what happens next. That’s right; it’s arguing time!
“If you want to lose a friend, ask them to split a bill evenly.”
“Like I said, I’m not paying that much for a salad.”
“It’s just easier for everybody if we split.”
“Does anybody have any extra cash?”
“Bro, you still got me?”
“Who uses Cash App?”
“I use Venmo.”
You now have everyone’s attention. You’re respected, maybe not enough to come out an extra $10 for somebody else’s meal, but enough to let you talk.
I get it, some of us are going to be paying a little bit more than we should; others, a little less. I just don’t want us to let $10 ruin this fantastic night. We can all make the money back, and none of us are hurting for it.
“Bro, you still got me?” – “Yes, man.”
Like I was saying, I hear both sides, but it is my opinion that we should split the bill evenly for convenience sake. Y’all acting like you’re hurting for it.
“It’s the principle!” – “There is no principle; we got caught in a less than convenient situation and life happens.”
Everybody is tripping over a few dollars. You’re going to spend more than that on coffee over the next two days. It’s late; they’re closed, let’s just split it evenly so we can go home.
After a few silent seconds of pondering, “I hear what you are saying, but…. No.”
So, everybody is going to pay for what they consumed. You get off you pedestal of defeat, sit down and watch the savant mathematicians start Dear Aunt Sallying the bill down to the penny. You know for a fact that half of this table hasn’t taken a math class since freshman year of college, and they barely passed. Five minutes later they get it, and everybody seems happy with the solution.
The cash is put on the table, and what do you know. Short. How could this be? Well, there are these things called sales tax and automatic gratuity that people never factor in when splitting bills using stingy calculus, and now you know why they barely passed college algebra. After more arguing and a couple of people sneaking out, somebody finally pulls out $15 in crumpled ones and throws them on the table and storms out! You feel their frustration.
Why does it have to be like this? Why doesn’t generosity prevail among friends who are more than capable than covering? Lack of love? Lack of trust? Worked too hard for my money to give it up? You’re not getting over on me? Just don’t feel like it? Value system not setup that way? I would agree on all of the above and more. These things happen and will continue to happen. Friends are going to be friends. My advice, sit at another table by yourself. There is no cure for the dreaded single split bill.
I know this has happened to you. How did you handle it? How should it be handled? Did you lose any friends or respect for friends in the process? Which person are you? Let’s talk about it.
Disclaimer: If you know the guy in the GIF, he wanted me to tell you he is not the cheap lover boy.