Author Topic: Who buys lunch?  (Read 4966 times)

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Owly

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2014, 07:20:36 PM »
At first I thought he was being a bit critical...after all they made the effort to come to see him so he could buy lunch....but then I could see his point, they made the call and the plans they expected him to pay for it.  I can see both sides so I wanted some other points of view on this.

I think all of this is irrelevant actually, because your family's established system is that they take turns paying when they come to see each other. It sounds like everyone involved - including your dad - understands and agrees with this system, since you've said that splitting the bill isn't an option, and neither is assuming the invitee always pays (since your dad doesn't reciprocate invitations). This means the only question is whether or not it actually was your dad's turn to pay. So, was it? Here's what you've told us:

-Cousin claimed that it was your dad's turn to pay.
-Dad never actually said that it wasn't.
-Dad's only rebuttal seems to be that Cousin just bought a new car and can therefore afford to buy him lunch.
-Cousin isn't normally the type to expect his elders to pay for him, and requesting that someone else cover the tab is unusual behavior.
So...

So ehellions...who should have paid for the lunch? And wording to avoid a situation like this in the future?

Without more information, my best guess it that it sounds like it was in fact dad's turn to pay, and he just didn't want to because Cousin has money. Since the request is out of character for Cousin, I have to wonder if he may have picked up on some reluctance or resentment on your dad's end, and be pushing back a bit?

You did speculate that your aunt may have visited earlier with a different cousin and dad may have covered the bill that time. If that did happen it would most likely change my answer, but I'd need more info before I could factor it in.

For the future - is the issue that he resents taking turns, or that he honestly thought he had paid last time? My answer would depend on what his goal here is... whether he wants to change the system or just find a better way to keep track of it. Honestly I think he should tell them that taking turns is too complicated and confusing for him and he'd like to split the bill from now on, but you've already said that isn't an option.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 07:22:41 PM by Owly »

sammycat

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2014, 07:27:42 PM »
Visit one  Aunt and son Spence visit, Aunt pays
Visit two Aunt and son Bob visit, Dad pays
Visit three Aunt and son Spence visit and Dad assumes it is their turn to pay and Spence thinks dad should pay since aunt paid last time he was there.

Assuming this is accurate, then it was aunt's turn to pay and she should have spoken up at the time the bill came, not let her son push it onto your dad.

Is it possible there was another visit in between that your dad forgot about, in which case it was his turn to pay? Even so, cousin's actions still irk me for some reason. For all he knew, your dad had every intention of paying but just wasn't going to look at the bill right that very second.

I'm curious as to why splitting the bill isn't an option? I think it would solve an awful lot of problems if each person/unit paid for themselves from here on in.

lkdrymom

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2014, 07:32:59 PM »
He doesn't resent paying. For some reason he thought they were buying this time and when the bill was presented to him he blurted something out before thinking and now he thinks he offended them.  If he had been a little more quick witted he would have kept his mouth shut and paid but he wasn't and now worries that he offended them.


FYI Aunt is in her late  70s so she may not have remembered who's turn it was either.

GreenBird

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #33 on: February 09, 2014, 07:47:21 PM »
He doesn't visit them because it is a 50 mile drive one way and he is 86 years old.  He also just gave up his car.  He doesn't invite them up because he knows the work would be on them so he doesn't want to 'bother' them asking for a visit. He waits for them to suggest a visit.  He does pick up the tab.

Visit one  Aunt and son Spence visit, Aunt pays
Visit two Aunt and son Bob visit, Dad pays
Visit three Aunt and son Spence visit and Dad assumes it is their turn to pay and Spence thinks dad should pay since aunt paid last time he was there.

Actually it sounds to me like it could just as easily have been Spence's turn to pay.  He is an adult, after all, and someone bought lunch for him the first time. 

If Aunt and Dad are the only ones who ever pay, then really it's not Spence's place to speak up about it at all.  It's between Aunt and Dad.  You know the personalities involved, but it sounds entirely possible that Spence just took it upon himself to interject, and Aunt has no problem at all with their longstanding arrangement. 

If it happens again, Dad could say, "It's okay Spence, Aunt and I are taking turns, and you weren't here last time." 

Owly

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2014, 08:04:28 PM »
He doesn't resent paying. For some reason he thought they were buying this time and when the bill was presented to him he blurted something out before thinking and now he thinks he offended them.  If he had been a little more quick witted he would have kept his mouth shut and paid but he wasn't and now worries that he offended them.

FYI Aunt is in her late  70s so she may not have remembered who's turn it was either.

Ah, ok. So, trying to keep track better, then. The comment about the car made me unsure.

In that case, I think something like "my mistake, it's so hard to keep track!" would cover it if he thinks he's just forgotten whose turn it was. If cousin was mistaken, he can gently let him know that he did cover Aunt's last visit, as someone else suggested.

TootsNYC

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2014, 08:06:45 PM »
Thanks for all the extra info.

And poor Dad, with his anxieties about offending people.

I love Green Bird's, "It's OK, Spence, aunt and I are taking turns; you weren't here the last time."

And if he's pitching in for buying lunch with some frequency, then he's in the clear, I think.

purple

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2014, 08:45:28 PM »
It's a family situation and obviously they have a pretty good relationship, or they wouldn't be getting together for lunch I assume!  So, I don't think your Dad should worry at all  :)

Generally, if I extend an invite to anybody, then you (general) can take that as a signal that I intend to pay.  I pretty much expect the same if I'm the invitee - however, I usually do offer to at least pay for myself and allow them to turn me down if they want to.

I must say though that I have a rule of "if you are not paying, then don't look at the account".  I just think it's so rude!  I don't know if this is an actual official etiquette rule or not, but I don't pick up an account and read it if I have no intention of paying it (or towards it) and I absolutely can't stand when others grab for the account when it has been made very clear and agreed upon beforehand that I will pay. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2014, 08:50:07 PM »
Yeah, that's like asking "how much did you pay for my present?"

sammycat

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2014, 09:53:01 PM »
It's a family situation and obviously they have a pretty good relationship, or they wouldn't be getting together for lunch I assume!  So, I don't think your Dad should worry at all  :)

I think this is a good point. This might be a case where dad is really worrying over nothing, and it'd be a shame for a long term rel@tionship/get together situation to fall apart over what is basically a minor incident.

Brisvegasgal

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2014, 02:20:11 AM »
I'm not sure who should have bought lunch, but, if this is culturally applicable, perhaps your Dad could suggest paying for their own meal for all future lunches. That way no one has to keep track and this icky situation doesn't happen again.

If he's still concerned, he make a call apologise to check he didn't offend your Aunt/Cousin and suggest the splitting bill idea.

hopeful4

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #40 on: February 10, 2014, 08:53:21 AM »
I also think that, as they made the plans, the aunt and/or cousin should have paid.   A visit to the OP's father doesn't require a lunch, that was the choice of the aunt and cousin. 

What also occurs to me is, while the aunt paid for one more lunch last time (the fathers), the father paid for two (aunt and cousin).  Not a big deal for one time (or maybe it is, depending upon how expensive the resturant chosen was or how well any of the parties can afford eating out) but a little unequal. 

TurtleDove

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #41 on: February 10, 2014, 09:20:01 AM »
I think this is very much a pick your battles situation.  This is lunch - how much money are we talking about - $10 per person?  $20? It seems silly to make waves in an otherwise healthy relationship over such a piddly amount of money, especially when money is not scarce among the group.  Yes, the guy demanding the OP's dad pay was "rude," but unless the OP's dad wants to have awkwardness, it would seem easiest to just laugh and suck up the $20-40 "loss" in paying for lunch for two additional people once in a while.

TootsNYC

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2014, 09:30:07 AM »
I also think that, as they made the plans, the aunt and/or cousin should have paid.   A visit to the OP's father doesn't require a lunch, that was the choice of the aunt and cousin. 

What also occurs to me is, while the aunt paid for one more lunch last time (the fathers), the father paid for two (aunt and cousin).  Not a big deal for one time (or maybe it is, depending upon how expensive the resturant chosen was or how well any of the parties can afford eating out) but a little unequal.


If they're driving from a distance, it sort of does. In fact, the OP said that her first instinct was that her dad should host, and that would be mine as well.
   If someone came from out of town to visit me, I'd prepare lunch in my home for them. OP's dad can't do that easily, I'm assuming, so they go out. In his shoes, I'd feel I needed to host.
   Of course, in the aunt's shoes, I'd feel he didn't need to host *every* time.

To address TurtleDove's point about "making waves over such a piddly amount of money, esp. when money is not scarce": Even if I'm a millionaire, I'm not going to feel good in the relationship if I feel taken advantage of. It's not the amount of the cash; it's the assumptions behind it. That's exactly why Dad is so worried about this.
   But the "money not being tight" also means that he can assuage his worries by always treating; he can say, "Oh, but you have the expense of traveling, the last I can do it host," and insist upon it always, and then feel confident that he's not accidentally making someone upset. He's got a lot of power here, in terms of assuaging his worries and managing his reputation.

Dindrane

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2014, 09:44:57 AM »
He can also just assume he's hosting, take steps towards actually paying the bill, and then be pleasantly surprised if his sister-in-law offers to pay instead. If he's not wiling to do that, I think having a more explicit arrangement with your aunt about just the two of them taking turns (or whatever arrangement they want to have) might be in order, so that your dad can use the language posted earlier about the arrangement being between him and your aunt.

Also, in looking back, I realized that I said whoever reaches for the bill first is indicating they intend to pay for it, and I realize that's not really what I meant (or what I think). I think just plain reaching for the (generally closed) folder that contains the check means nothing more than that somebody has to touch it first. But I do think opening it up and perusing it indicates that, at the very least, you intend to pay for yourself.

So it wouldn't be weird of someone picks up the check, looks it over, and then hands it to me and says "Here's the check so you can figure out what you owe - my share is $X.XX." But it would be pretty weird of someone picked up the check, looked it over, and then handed it to me with the expectation that I'd pay for all of it.

Because basically, if you aren't intending to pay for even your own meal, you don't need to see the check. It's kind of intrusive when someone is hosting you.


TurtleDove

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Re: Who buys lunch?
« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2014, 09:50:15 AM »
To address TurtleDove's point about "making waves over such a piddly amount of money, esp. when money is not scarce": Even if I'm a millionaire, I'm not going to feel good in the relationship if I feel taken advantage of. It's not the amount of the cash; it's the assumptions behind it. That's exactly why Dad is so worried about this.
   But the "money not being tight" also means that he can assuage his worries by always treating; he can say, "Oh, but you have the expense of traveling, the last I can do it host," and insist upon it always, and then feel confident that he's not accidentally making someone upset. He's got a lot of power here, in terms of assuaging his worries and managing his reputation.

Yes, my earlier post in this thread was this: "I think this was a very awkward situation, but since no one is hurting for money and presumably these people like each, I see this as a "awkward...moving on" thing. If I were the dad, I would just chuckle and be the bigger person - expect to pay for everyone and be pleasantly surprised if someone else offers. If he doesn't want to do this, and this really bothers him, I would skip going out with these people."