Author Topic: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner  (Read 13491 times)

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Squeaks

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2010, 05:58:31 PM »
Getting a credit card up front might go a long way to people not doing this in the first place, but it can still lead to debates of who owes what.    

And to be honest your reason for them doing it this way is actually in deed laziness. . . i.e. trying to do less work.  It may be more work to co-ordinate, but it still can be done, I also don't see why they can't still add on the tip on separate bills.    Do I want the waitress to get stiffed?  No, not at all,  but if some cheep skate does not pony up and i get stiffed because the restaurant will not do separate checks, im sure not going to tip more than a penny more than the mandatory cuz i am already paying too much.  Had i had my own check, i would have been far more generous.

I've always assumed it was a limit of whatever software the restaurant used to manage the checks. I've eaten at places that would not split the bill. I've also eaten at places that would not provide more than 4 separate bills for the table.

If they can do separate checks for each table in the restaurant they can do separate checks.  That sounds like a convenient excuse.

WillyNilly

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2010, 06:01:30 PM »
Quote

Guess I am just more stubborn and patient I guess.


I did have another idea as to how to possibly convince them to do separate checks.   Say "Ohh well in that case ill just not order,  if i get thirsty i'll go to the bar and pay directly there for a drink"  Seeing their tip not only evaporate but go to someone else, might cause people to pause.  

And again, I'm stubborn, I would have no issue with this.  Nor do I find it rude.


Again might be regional but in NYC many places will charge you for just sitting at the table.  Lots of restaurants have discreet signs or notes on their menus saying that even if you don't order if you are sitting there, there will be a plate charge.  Many have plate sharing fees too.

This is their business and every seat is their real estate that should be making them money.  Its not a public atrium - if you want to sit you are welcome to find an atrium, there are lots throughout the city, but in a restaurant you are expected to buy something... or barring that, at least pay something.

So you could sit there and only order drinks, or even only order an appetizer, but if you are sitting at their table, especially if its busy night, you will get a check even if you order nothing (and in reality the person who orders nothing probably eats the table bread, and partakes in having their water glass filled numerous times, and the flatware and glass and napkin still need to be cleared and cleaned, etc, so its not like "oh its free for me to sit here!" because its not, its costing the them the seat which could go to a paying customer, an its costing them in they are still serving you and providing for you).

Depending on the plate charge there is a good change id just ask "so can i get that on a separate check?"  And yes, there is a good chance i would pay it.  Also, i did mention going to the bar to buy drinks directly, hence they are getting money from me and i am indeed a paying customer.  No i would not eat the bread in this circumstance it would not feel right.  I promise you I am not all evil.  

Also, the seat could not go to a paying customer if it is already at that table.  If they give me crap about a plate charge ill happily leave if that is really what they want.  It is not like they are going to fill the seat at a group table.  In fact id likely push for the entire group to leave then they really have lost money.  I just would not feel comfortable in many cases with the joint check. If that means walking out, I walk out.  If they really want to say "we won't let you pay but you have to leave if you will not order" I'll leave.  I am not going to be bullied, and i just don't see having an empty chair at a table being good for them.  

Or, they can just split the check make money and keep a customer happy.   This is not a case of not wanting to buy something, it is a case of wanting to pay for only my order on my credit card.  If it is really too much work to accommodate that ill grab something on the way home and the caveman's "I don't have much of an appetite thank you" line.  Heck id likely toss out the line "If i agree to an automatic tip of (higher than the group charge) will you give me a separate check?"  Not not to be snarky, but to acknowledge that it is additional work, and work I am actually willing to pay for.  

Another thing i might try is to see if they would waive the sit fee if i purchased a gift certificate on my own card of a greater value. Which would seem fair and reasonable to them.  Then they are guaranteed at least the cost of the plate fee and may end up with more as we all know people tend to spend more than is on a gift certificate.  

IDK - seems to me if you are going to these lengths... you should just do as the author, and myself and others do, and just avoid these types of get togethers (or ony stick to places you know for a fact will gladly split your check).  Your proposed senarios are exhausting me just reading them. :)

Squeaks

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2010, 06:06:05 PM »
Quote

Guess I am just more stubborn and patient I guess.


I did have another idea as to how to possibly convince them to do separate checks.   Say "Ohh well in that case ill just not order,  if i get thirsty i'll go to the bar and pay directly there for a drink"  Seeing their tip not only evaporate but go to someone else, might cause people to pause.  

And again, I'm stubborn, I would have no issue with this.  Nor do I find it rude.


Again might be regional but in NYC many places will charge you for just sitting at the table.  Lots of restaurants have discreet signs or notes on their menus saying that even if you don't order if you are sitting there, there will be a plate charge.  Many have plate sharing fees too.

This is their business and every seat is their real estate that should be making them money.  Its not a public atrium - if you want to sit you are welcome to find an atrium, there are lots throughout the city, but in a restaurant you are expected to buy something... or barring that, at least pay something.

So you could sit there and only order drinks, or even only order an appetizer, but if you are sitting at their table, especially if its busy night, you will get a check even if you order nothing (and in reality the person who orders nothing probably eats the table bread, and partakes in having their water glass filled numerous times, and the flatware and glass and napkin still need to be cleared and cleaned, etc, so its not like "oh its free for me to sit here!" because its not, its costing the them the seat which could go to a paying customer, an its costing them in they are still serving you and providing for you).

Depending on the plate charge there is a good change id just ask "so can i get that on a separate check?"  And yes, there is a good chance i would pay it.  Also, i did mention going to the bar to buy drinks directly, hence they are getting money from me and i am indeed a paying customer.  No i would not eat the bread in this circumstance it would not feel right.  I promise you I am not all evil.  

Also, the seat could not go to a paying customer if it is already at that table.  If they give me crap about a plate charge ill happily leave if that is really what they want.  It is not like they are going to fill the seat at a group table.  In fact id likely push for the entire group to leave then they really have lost money.  I just would not feel comfortable in many cases with the joint check. If that means walking out, I walk out.  If they really want to say "we won't let you pay but you have to leave if you will not order" I'll leave.  I am not going to be bullied, and i just don't see having an empty chair at a table being good for them.  

Or, they can just split the check make money and keep a customer happy.   This is not a case of not wanting to buy something, it is a case of wanting to pay for only my order on my credit card.  If it is really too much work to accommodate that ill grab something on the way home and the caveman's "I don't have much of an appetite thank you" line.  Heck id likely toss out the line "If i agree to an automatic tip of (higher than the group charge) will you give me a separate check?"  Not not to be snarky, but to acknowledge that it is additional work, and work I am actually willing to pay for.  

Another thing i might try is to see if they would waive the sit fee if i purchased a gift certificate on my own card of a greater value. Which would seem fair and reasonable to them.  Then they are guaranteed at least the cost of the plate fee and may end up with more as we all know people tend to spend more than is on a gift certificate.  

IDK - seems to me if you are going to these lengths... you should just do as the author, and myself and others do, and just avoid these types of get togethers (or ony stick to places you know for a fact will gladly split your check).  Your proposed senarios are exhausting me just reading them. :)


If you are not the organizer it can be hard to know if they will or wont.  I suspect it may also be a case by case basis as well at times.
And it really is not that big a deal for me, it seems easy and obvious. 

For the record I would be ok with a small (I belie you mentioned $2.50) fee for a separate check $20.00 and i would walk.  I do think it is part of the restaurant's job to  ..  . well do what i have talked about, but that may be just a difference of opinion.  I also would be ok with food coming out at different times.


Surianne

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2010, 06:25:46 PM »
I'm 100% with you on this one, Speaks.  I won't eat at a restaurant that won't do separate cheques, unless it's with friends who I trust and we agree in advance to each pay our own way.  If the restaurant thinks it's too much trouble and won't let me order water or order at the bar, that's fine--they clearly don't want my business.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2010, 06:29:50 PM »
I'm also one of those that was glad when the birthday dinner fell out of favor with our friends.  Often, you'd end up in a mixed crowd sitting with people you didn't know well and stuck supplementing other peoples drinks or expensive taste in wine.  After abou 5 or 6 of them, I quit going unless it was a small group of 4 or 5 people.  

On the split check, I would never ask a waiter to split the check for a group of 12 or more ordering multiple courses over many hours.  Just think of the logistics.  Normally, a waiter has a computer system that he pulls up a table number and places orders for them.  If he has 8 tables he's working, having 12 separate checks just increased his complexity by more than 100%.  So let's say, he's name your table table number 2.  He now has ticketing for 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e, 2f, 2g, 2h, 2i, 2j, 2k, & 2l.  You each order your first round of drinks, so he now brings up 12 separate tickets and enters them in.  5 of you decide to order apps.  He now has to remember which of you is 2a, 2d, 2e, 2i, & 2j... and just hope two of you haven't asked him to split the cost between two of you because your going to share.  Another round of drinks are ordered by 6 and again he's submitting 6 separate orders and trying to remember who is who.  You then get to the entree round and another 12 orders to place and againing remembering who is who.  More drinks, some desserts, coffee ordered and maybe another round of night caps.  I'm exhausted just thinking of the logistics of trying to keep up with these hungry and thirsty 12 individuals and their separate requests.

Also, in my experience, I think more people would be bothered by food arriving at different times than not.  I've always been trained to wait until everyone gets served before starting my meal, especially the entree course.  

Coruscation

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #35 on: August 06, 2010, 06:43:08 PM »
I'm surprised that NY restaurants can't split checks. I live in a tiny town and although we order as a group, we just list what we ordered and the server rings it up on the cash register/calculator. Drinks are paid for as you go, so just food. Maybe they should ditch the fancy software.

Master_Edward

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #36 on: August 06, 2010, 07:09:13 PM »
Oh for crying out loud if it's that bad and he hates these things so much then don't go! I'm sure no one put a gun to his head and forced him to go to this dinner. He sounds like a whiner. If you're invited and you don't want to go say no and be done with it.

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #37 on: August 06, 2010, 07:25:51 PM »

I am not getting the whole, "birthday parties suck," theme in the article. I've even enjoyed birthday dinners.

I didn't get a "birthday parties suck" vibe from the writer. I got an "I hate subsidizing other people's restaurant excesses" vibe from him. And I can't blame him much - if I can be allowed to pay just for what I ordered and a portion of the birthday person's meal, fine. If I have to fork over more than I can afford so that other people can order shrimp, lobster, and bubbly, then no. I'm not particularly interested.

Suze

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #38 on: August 06, 2010, 07:33:28 PM »
really - I can relate

I am not a "big eater" (most times an appitizer could be my meal)

I have been with friends to pizza places - I am one - they are a family of 4

it took awhile to get the nerve to say no I wll not go halves on the dinner but here is part of it.

most times I will order just for myself.
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merryns

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #39 on: August 06, 2010, 07:56:50 PM »
I'm also one of those that was glad when the birthday dinner fell out of favor with our friends.  Often, you'd end up in a mixed crowd sitting with people you didn't know well and stuck supplementing other peoples drinks or expensive taste in wine.  After abou 5 or 6 of them, I quit going unless it was a small group of 4 or 5 people.  

On the split check, I would never ask a waiter to split the check for a group of 12 or more ordering multiple courses over many hours.  Just think of the logistics.  Normally, a waiter has a computer system that he pulls up a table number and places orders for them.  If he has 8 tables he's working, having 12 separate checks just increased his complexity by more than 100%.  So let's say, he's name your table table number 2.  He now has ticketing for 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e, 2f, 2g, 2h, 2i, 2j, 2k, & 2l.  You each order your first round of drinks, so he now brings up 12 separate tickets and enters them in.  5 of you decide to order apps.  He now has to remember which of you is 2a, 2d, 2e, 2i, & 2j... and just hope two of you haven't asked him to split the cost between two of you because your going to share.  Another round of drinks are ordered by 6 and again he's submitting 6 separate orders and trying to remember who is who.  You then get to the entree round and another 12 orders to place and againing remembering who is who.  More drinks, some desserts, coffee ordered and maybe another round of night caps.  I'm exhausted just thinking of the logistics of trying to keep up with these hungry and thirsty 12 individuals and their separate requests.

Also, in my experience, I think more people would be bothered by food arriving at different times than not.  I've always been trained to wait until everyone gets served before starting my meal, especially the entree course.  

And someone orders a bottle of wine 'for the table' with the understanding that a subset of the other people are contributing to the cost, and people move around to different seats, and 2e want to buy a cocktail for 2f, and 2c didn't like their dessert and gave it to 2g.

penelope2017

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #40 on: August 06, 2010, 08:28:00 PM »
Quote

Guess I am just more stubborn and patient I guess.


I did have another idea as to how to possibly convince them to do separate checks.   Say "Ohh well in that case ill just not order,  if i get thirsty i'll go to the bar and pay directly there for a drink"  Seeing their tip not only evaporate but go to someone else, might cause people to pause.  

And again, I'm stubborn, I would have no issue with this.  Nor do I find it rude.


Again might be regional but in NYC many places will charge you for just sitting at the table.  Lots of restaurants have discreet signs or notes on their menus saying that even if you don't order if you are sitting there, there will be a plate charge.  Many have plate sharing fees too.

This is their business and every seat is their real estate that should be making them money.  Its not a public atrium - if you want to sit you are welcome to find an atrium, there are lots throughout the city, but in a restaurant you are expected to buy something... or barring that, at least pay something.

So you could sit there and only order drinks, or even only order an appetizer, but if you are sitting at their table, especially if its busy night, you will get a check even if you order nothing (and in reality the person who orders nothing probably eats the table bread, and partakes in having their water glass filled numerous times, and the flatware and glass and napkin still need to be cleared and cleaned, etc, so its not like "oh its free for me to sit here!" because its not, its costing the them the seat which could go to a paying customer, an its costing them in they are still serving you and providing for you).

Depending on the plate charge there is a good change id just ask "so can i get that on a separate check?"  And yes, there is a good chance i would pay it.  Also, i did mention going to the bar to buy drinks directly, hence they are getting money from me and i am indeed a paying customer.  No i would not eat the bread in this circumstance it would not feel right.  I promise you I am not all evil.  

Also, the seat could not go to a paying customer if it is already at that table.  If they give me crap about a plate charge ill happily leave if that is really what they want.  It is not like they are going to fill the seat at a group table.  In fact id likely push for the entire group to leave then they really have lost money.  I just would not feel comfortable in many cases with the joint check. If that means walking out, I walk out.  If they really want to say "we won't let you pay but you have to leave if you will not order" I'll leave.  I am not going to be bullied, and i just don't see having an empty chair at a table being good for them.  

Or, they can just split the check make money and keep a customer happy.   This is not a case of not wanting to buy something, it is a case of wanting to pay for only my order on my credit card.  If it is really too much work to accommodate that ill grab something on the way home and the caveman's "I don't have much of an appetite thank you" line.  Heck id likely toss out the line "If i agree to an automatic tip of (higher than the group charge) will you give me a separate check?"  Not not to be snarky, but to acknowledge that it is additional work, and work I am actually willing to pay for.  

Another thing i might try is to see if they would waive the sit fee if i purchased a gift certificate on my own card of a greater value. Which would seem fair and reasonable to them.  Then they are guaranteed at least the cost of the plate fee and may end up with more as we all know people tend to spend more than is on a gift certificate.  

IDK - seems to me if you are going to these lengths... you should just do as the author, and myself and others do, and just avoid these types of get togethers (or ony stick to places you know for a fact will gladly split your check).  Your proposed senarios are exhausting me just reading them. :)


Holy cow. I can't possibly agree more Willy Nilly. I stress out splitting the check if we are out with one other couple, forget the above scenario. I personally find splitting the check to be beyond stressful to everyone involved. I prefer small parties and taking turns.

The above to me sounds so complicated that I don't know what benefit is acheived in terms of enjoyment or relaxation in going out to dinner.

TylerBelle

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2010, 08:41:25 PM »
Perhaps I'm somewhat naive with wondering this, but don't the host(s), or the guest of honor, or which ever one announces the bill splitting, notice the difference in the diners' ordering? I wish they would and be mindful of it. This of course would be easier with the smaller parties, though I don't think it'd be difficult to take note of the person who had the broiled chicken dinner with an iced tea and the other who had a couple of apps, prime rib and have knocked back several glasses of wine.

It could be all they've seen is everyone's had a meal period and so it should all be split evenly in the end, or actually did notice the meal differences, but don't care, everyone's still going to pay the same amount at the end regardless of what was had.

It's just a heartbreaking scenario of someone who has carefully budgeted enough for their meal, tax, tip, to spend a nice night out with a group only to be expected to throw in two / three times that amount to support others' indulgences.
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Venus193

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2010, 08:56:08 PM »
I'm going to one of these next weekend.  Fortunately, this is with a familiar group and Sean will be paying for his two boys.  We typically go to the same restaurant and most of us order seafood (the place's specialty).

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #43 on: August 06, 2010, 08:56:55 PM »
It's just a heartbreaking scenario of someone who has carefully budgeted enough for their meal, tax, tip, to spend a nice night out with a group only to be expected to throw in two / three times that amount to support others' indulgences.

I've had to get up from the table and run outside the restaurant to find a cashpoint before, for precisely that reason. :-\

(Before someone points out that I should have been prepared...the first couple of times, I'd been under the impression [had made an assumption :P] that we'd be paying our own way, and nothing more; the next couple, that my expected contribution wouldn't be quite so much more than the cost of my meal plus tip.)

kareng57

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #44 on: August 06, 2010, 09:52:46 PM »
I sure wouldn't have been thrilled at suddenly being expected to kick in for the Girlfriend's portion as well as Friend's.  Is it somehow her birthday, too?  Sure, it's easy to say that the columnist should have spoken up, but who wants to be the Grinch saying "uh, why do we need to pay for her dinner, too?"

While I've never worked at a restaurant (the dining-public should be thankful, I'm sure I'd have been a disaster) I can understand the reluctance re separate checks for large groups.  Time really is money - though of course that time can be cancelled-out  if one person spends a half-hour figuring out what each individual dining-party owes.  And even with the designated service-charge, the wait-person likely loses overall.  Five tables of two would have turned-over much more than one table of 10 during the evening.