"no, I WILL PAY" song and dance routine

I almost hijacked another thread with this, but decided to be polite. The other thread discussed something about asian people feeling compelled to refuse a gift when initially offered, but ultimately accepting it. This reminds me of “who will pay for dinner” nuttiness of my parents’ generation.

As a child/teenager, I’d often be dragged along to a restaurant, amongst many adults. At the end of the evening, the waiter would present the bill to the table. LET THE GAMES BEGIN. All adults at the table would rush to their wallets/purses, and the quickest draw would produce a credit card. Other assembled adults would throw cash at and credit cards at the alpha credit carder, and the inevitable “no LET ME PAY FOR THIS” “no, PUT YOUR MONEY AWAY” crap would begin. eventually, this whole song and dance would go on until everyone assembled vowed to pay “next time”.

Anyway, as a teenager I relished in being able to ridicule the adults during this whole nonsensical exercise. but they were too pre-occupied with trying to throw money at each other to notice.

The alarming thing is, that lately, i’ve caught myself doing the same thing. We all know the bill thing is coming, and we all know the “who pays” song and dance routine will be played out.

I don’t know where I’m going with this… but, someone, somewhere must have a solution. I don’t want to turn into my father :frowning:

“Oh no! I must have left my wallet at home. I’ll get it next time.”


Last month, eight of us were at a table in a pub. One of my friends excused herself shortly before the cheque was expected. Everyone thought she was just visiting the ladie’s room, but she had actually sneaked away to pay the bill.

Screw all of that. Mrs Chance and I make a fortune more than our slacker, no-account, Gen X pals. So I always pay by saying something like, “I can afford it, you can’t, shut up” or some such rude thing.

Is that too over the top?

I don’t think there’s any way to avoid it. I have a small group of friends that I go out with at least once or twice a week. We have always gone through this song and dance, without fail. We talked about it the other day, and best we can figure, it all seems to sort of even out in the long run. I have no idea where I’m going with this post, but I’m on the home stretch to 100 posts, and I need all the help I can get. Maybe I should do one line per post. Hmmm…

Split the check. Works for me.

I get tired of hearing people bicker and whine about paying the friggin check.

So when faced with the 2 cheapskates of the group who want to complain about the tip, or the food, or argue how many drinks they had, I simply pull out my credit card, collect cash fromt he honest people, and pay the damned bill.

Sometimes, when I have dinner with my mother and grandmother it drives me nuts with the split checks and tax tabulations! ARGH! Bah!

WHat’s a 30 or 40 bucks? I mean really.



I am always prepared to pay my share and then some, but if someone else offers, my response is “Thank you.”

My friends and I ususally don’t play this game. Either one person pays or we all chip in for our portion of the bill. We don’t try to take advantage of each other and get a free meal. It usually evens out.

Now my parents on the other hand… you get my dad and my Uncle Gene together at a restaurant and let the fight begin!! Usually Gene wins because he’s got quicker reflexes than my dad and he gets to the check first but Dad always say, “Gene, you’re our guests, you let me pay that.” and then Gene says, “No. Now we came out here to spend time with you guys and we’re staying at your house so we’re gonna pay this.” It just goes on and on until Dad finally gives in a says, “I’ll get the next one.” Luckily we only see Gene every 2-3 years so it doesn’t happen often.

My friends and I have a silent agreement. When the bill comes, someone says, “I’ll get it” and he gets it. Everyone contributes equally, so it evens out. If someone starts slacking off and not paying, they get their ass kicked.

Years ago my wife was looking through a specialty leather shop a few days before her birthday and found a really nice purse. At the register, as she started to get out her money, I reached over her shoulder with my credit card, extending it to the cashier.

I was surprised to see the young cashier retreat from my card with a look of utter terror on her face. Still holding out my card, I said to my wife, “Happy Birthday, I’ll get this.” As my wife put away her wallet, the cashier relaxed and took my card.

I asked her what had been the problem and she related that the previous week, two guys had come in to buy their mother a gift. One had extended his card just as the other started to get out his wallet. They had then gotten into a real fistfight, rolling around on the floor, knocking over displays, each insisting that he would be the one to pay. My gesture had triggered the memory and she was afraid my wife and I might start brawling over who got to pay.

No it’s not. I frequently do the same thing. I have to admit i’ve never experience the behavior in the OP. we always come to a general agreement to split the bill. Unless it’s someone’s birthday, in which case everyone but the birthday person splits the bill.

I’ll take the check as often as I can afford it. It makes me feel good.

My problem is all my friends think I’m a chronic “overtipper.” They say I make them feel cheap.

Last meal I had with my parents and their friends(all very well off) was one of the funniest things I had seen. There were a total of about 20 people at the table, and at least 8 of them did sneak off and hand the waitress a card to take care off the bill. I don’t think I have ever seen a more confused waitress in my life, people just kept walking by her while she was at a different table and throwing a card at her. I saw her talk to the manager about what to do, so eventually they split it up across all of the cards(which of course made nobody happy).

One of my unnofficial litmus tests about the quality of the friends I’m with is how the collection goes. Nobody tries to pay for the whole meal usually, everybody just kind of guesses and throws money into a pile, then somebody counts it. If you are 20% or more under the group usually turns out to be a group of annoying people. If you are between 20% and the exact bill, then the group isn’t a lot of fun. So on and so forth, the more everybody estimated, the better the group of people. I think the record was once we had 340 bucks collected on a 200 dollar check, and not surprisingly it was with all the people who I thought were the coolest.

I also hate the “itemizers”, don’t figure out how much I owe, I already have a good idea, and I’m going to throw in alot more than that anyway, and , Visa willing, help make up for any shortfall from your cheap ass.

My sister and I (both of us are married, she has two kids) have devised a plan for dealing with our Mum and Dad over bills. They will not accept others’ payment for a meal, even at the cost of a scene.

One of us distracts a parent, the other takes wallet and inserts money. No more “You are not paying for your own birthday” scenes for Sian and I.


Then they probably are. If they feel guilty for you leaving to much money, they have a reason for that. I usually try to tip between 20 to 20 percent.

It’s normal human behavior. Scary thought, huh? There are two factors at work here:[ul]1) Everyone wants emotional credit for “feeding the tribe”.[/ul]
Before there was civilization, all the males would go out on the savanna and stab whatever it was they planned on having for dinner with their spears. Everyone felt like they had contributed to the feast that followed.

Nowadays, there’s no hunt prior to the feast (looking for a place to park doesn’t count). Other people kill the prey, prepare it, and drag it to your table. The only way to get credit for being the great hunter is to pay for the meal. Everyone struggles to be the one to pay.

This is primarily a man thing, as I’ve noticed that women don’t do this as often. They’re more prone to view food acquisition as a cooperative effort, and have fewer problems splitting the tab. I’ve seen men who don’t mind splitting the tab, and admit that when I’m not very flush with funds, I don’t mind splitting the bill either, as long as the idea to go grab some grub was arrived at by consensus.[ul]2) Nobody wants to be seen as a deadbeat.[/ul]
Since everybody (most males, anyhow) know that someone must pay the bill, they don’t want to be seen as a freeloader. They struggle to be seen as trying hard to pay the bill, while intending to lose the battle to someone who can better afford to pick up the tab.

It’s actually similar to dominance struggles amongst wolves. In human society, however, it’s considered rude to throw your fellow diner to the floor, grabbing him by the throat with your teeth. Instead, we grab our wallets by the throat and struggle to be the one to pay. Think about it – who usually wins these contests? I’ll bet it’s the socially dominant person.

Of course, always insisting on paying the bill, no matter what, is also considered somewhat rude, since it forces the others into a sumbissive role, so it isn’t always the socially agressive one who pays, but sometimes someone who can point out that “You got it the last three times. What are ya tryin’ to do, make me look like a bum?”


Baloo, what a brilliant way to describe it. I never thought of it quite like that before.

Guess that’s why my husband always puffs up his chest a little bit whenever he actually has enough cash to buy dinner, huh? :wink:

I come from a family of ‘it’s-on-me’ addicts. My parents are the worst. It’s never meant as a show of financial superiority–although some are more superior in those respects than others. And it’s ALWAYS discussed before the meal so everyone knows. (I like this, I just don’t order big if I’m not paying.)
My mom always says, ‘Let me. Take the money you’d have used and buy something for the kids.’
My sister always says, ‘You do so much for me that I can’t repay. Let me do this little thing for you.’
My other sister says, ‘Don’t be stupid. I pay or I kick your ass.’
The all-time, universal, most successful method of picking up the tab was instigated by my son,
who said, ‘Please let our family take your family this time. It would mean a lot to us. And we finally have the money to do it!’
From the mouths of babes…

It’s not usually a fight. I’m often broke, and I know it; however, I have had a few nice opportunities lately to make up for my constant “starving student” status:

On the day before Father’s Day, my grandparents came down for a visit, and we all went out to dinner at their favorite barbecue place near my house. When the waitress arrived, I collected the check so casually, they almost didn’t notice. When he did notice, my grandfather started to put up a fuss, but then I said, “You may not be aware of this, but there is a holiday coming up . . .” It took a second, but when the dime dropped, he smiled all over his face and graciously accepted my paying. He did try to insist that he be allowed to leave the tip, but I told him that I’d already included it on my card, and that put an end to that argument. It was most satisfying, since I’ve spent most of my life letting them pay for me.

I did the same thing on Mother’s Day. It was a little bit bigger deal because the whole fam damily was there, so the check was a bit bigger. Everyone was surprised, and I got to make a nice gesture for all the Moms in the family at once (my grandmother, mother, and sister). It feels pretty good to finally be able to do that for them every now and then. :slight_smile:

Also, I recently paid for dinner for one of my roommates who makes astronomically more than I do. He often ends up paying the difference if there’s shortfall on anyone’s part in our regular group of friends, and I don’t know that it’s ever worked out that any of us have treated him, so I was thrilled to have the means and opportunity to do so. It was especially satisfying because it wasn’t until the end of the meal that it came out that I was going to pay, so he just ordered whatever he wanted. Too many times, because everyone knows my financial state, they will “under-order” in order to go easier on me. I like to be able to get them whatever they would order, regardless of whose paying.

None of these people protested too much, they were actually quite gracious in accepting my largesse, probably because my attempts to usurp the ticket are too irregular an occurrance. Maybe after I’ve gotten a real job, this conflict will occur more often. It would be nice to have a game plan for the first time I sit down to dinner with a table full of financial “equals.”