Author Topic: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner  (Read 13482 times)

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CluelessBride

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #60 on: August 07, 2010, 10:14:50 PM »
But what about the other guest who only orders a cheap entree?

The letter writer says that instead of ordering a low priced meal and hoping everyone else follows suit, he orders high so that at least he gets his fair share.  But if he's with a large group, he's still contributing to the screwing over of the person that orders the cheap meal.  Ironically, enough of this behavior will lead to more and more people ordering more expensive entrees in order to not be the one getting screwed. 

There is no indication anywhere that he is always the last or even one of the last to order.  And that's why I just can't bring myself to feel sorry for him.  His behavior is passive aggressive at best.  (Not that the people he dines with will necessarily recognize it so long as he doesn't voice his motives - they may just think he likes the baked Alaska - but he did voice those motives in the article).


June24

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #61 on: August 07, 2010, 10:21:55 PM »
But what about the other guest who only orders a cheap entree?

The letter writer says that instead of ordering a low priced meal and hoping everyone else follows suit, he orders high so that at least he gets his fair share.  But if he's with a large group, he's still contributing to the screwing over of the person that orders the cheap meal.  Ironically, enough of this behavior will lead to more and more people ordering more expensive entrees in order to not be the one getting screwed. 

There is no indication anywhere that he is always the last or even one of the last to order.  And that's why I just can't bring myself to feel sorry for him.  His behavior is passive aggressive at best.  (Not that the people he dines with will necessarily recognize it so long as he doesn't voice his motives - they may just think he likes the baked Alaska - but he did voice those motives in the article).



He's just ordering enough that whatever he contributes covers his own share. So if he orders $140 of food, he pays $160 of the bill. That's not "screwing over" anyone. The other people who were ordering high priced meals were at fault because they were ordering more like $300 of food and paying only $160.

Nurvingiel

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #62 on: August 07, 2010, 10:34:47 PM »
I was at a dinner like that once. But I still go to birthday dinners. Just not birthday dinners with 30 people at a fancy restaurant.

If this author were my friend, I would save him the trouble.  I wouldn't invite him to begin with - he sounds like a real stick in the mud.
I think he'd be fun at a game of dictionary. (The one where you look up words in the dictionary and make up fake definitions for it. Then you try to trick people into thinking your fake one is the real definition). ;D
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CluelessBride

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #63 on: August 07, 2010, 10:38:17 PM »
But he doesn't say that anywhere - that he is ordering less that other people.  The phrase he actually uses is "order offensively"  

And lets say you have 10 people with the following orders

1 (Writer): $140
2: $140
3: $140
4: $140
5: $140
6: $160
7: $160
8: $160
9: $160
10: $40

Total: $1380 per person = $138 Meaning the poor $40 person is subsidisizing everyone a bit - even the writer.

Even if the distribution means the writer ends up overpaying for his meal, the person paying $160 for his $40 meal is screwed more than the writer - and screwed more by the writer. Example:

1 (Writer): $140
2: $160
3: $160
4: $160
5: $160
6: $160
7: $160
8: $160
9: $160
10: $40

Total: $1460, per person = $146 So the writer overpays by $6 while the cheap eater overpays by nearly $100.  If the writer ordered his normal meal, then this would go down.  If the writer was ordering what he would normally order (even if it's $140), then he is no worse than the "sybaritic corporate lawyer" who just has expensive taste and isn't concerned with cost.  But it's the selfish mindset of "I'll order more expensively than I normally would so that I don't get screwed" which makes me not have any sympathy for him.

ETA:  And I realize that depending on how you cut the numbers, you can get totally different scenarios.  But part of my point is that we don't know how the numbers were cut for his situation.  For all we know, with his "offensive ordering" he had one of the highest or even the highest share.  I don't fault him for ordering the baked Alaska, I fault him for the concept of "offensive ordering"  (which ironically could either be the opposite of defensive ordering, or actually be intended to be offending people - ah the English language)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2010, 10:43:53 PM by CluelessBride »

mj

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #64 on: August 07, 2010, 10:38:23 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.  

I agree.  I don't think many people know the level of detail they're asking when requesting to split a check.  

Also, I do think it's something to be aware of before you get to the restaurant.  Whoever hosted should scope out and check with restaurants to see who will/will not split checks if it is that important to the party.  Otherwise, it's like dining any other time, order what you can pay for.

CluelessBride

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #65 on: August 07, 2010, 10:47:04 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.  

I agree.  I don't think many people know the level of detail they're asking when requesting to split a check.  

Also, I do think it's something to be aware of before you get to the restaurant.  Whoever hosted should scope out and check with restaurants to see who will/will not split checks if it is that important to the party.  Otherwise, it's like dining any other time, order what you can pay for.

I get why it's complicated now, but I don't understand why it has to be.  With all of the advances in computers and technology, one would think this could be solved by a computer programmer with a free afternoon. 

I really think the restaurants count on people ordering more with unsplit checks - and that's why there isn't yet a simpler solution - but I'll admit that is an unfounded hunch  ;)

DangerMouth

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #66 on: August 07, 2010, 11:21:22 PM »
I agree.  I don't think many people know the level of detail they're asking when requesting to split a check.  

Also, I do think it's something to be aware of before you get to the restaurant.  Whoever hosted should scope out and check with restaurants to see who will/will not split checks if it is that important to the party.  Otherwise, it's like dining any other time, order what you can pay for.

I think that's part of the problem- there is no 'host' for affairs like these. It's just someone saying "oh, we should go to dinner for Soandsos birthday", and people show up, but no one is actually "hosting" the event.

CluelessBride

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #67 on: August 07, 2010, 11:37:25 PM »
If I had taken it upon myself to invite my friends out to dinner, I wouldn't for one second expect them to pay for a thing!

For any occasion, for my birthday or theirs, if I extended the invitation, it's 100% my treat!!!

This is interesting - because it's not really the case in my social circle.  There are two distinct types of invitation: "let me take you out to dinner" and "let's meet up for dinner"  I use the first if I plan on paying, and the second if I'm organizing a group outing and expect it to be pay your own way.   

If someone said, "do you want to go out to _____ Friday", I'd consider it an invitation, but I wouldn't ever assume they were planning on paying.

I can't afford to take all my friends out, but it's nice to all meet up sometimes.  And someone has to start the organizational ball rolling! 

shhh its me

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #68 on: August 07, 2010, 11:53:10 PM »
I agree.  I don't think many people know the level of detail they're asking when requesting to split a check.  

Also, I do think it's something to be aware of before you get to the restaurant.  Whoever hosted should scope out and check with restaurants to see who will/will not split checks if it is that important to the party.  Otherwise, it's like dining any other time, order what you can pay for.

I think that's part of the problem- there is no 'host' for affairs like these. It's just someone saying "oh, we should go to dinner for Soandsos birthday", and people show up, but no one is actually "hosting" the event.

I think in the authors case the Bday is either the sole organizer or at least adding to the group of people who says " Oh we should get together for Simons Bday, Simon where do you want to go"   " tres chic and my college friend should come too"

there was a thread about hosting your own Bday party and it was very heated.

Amava

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #69 on: August 07, 2010, 11:58:41 PM »
I also think people who are about to get stuck w/ a bill they don't deserve should speak up, and quite loudly. "Wait--I didn't order all the expensive wine, and appetizers, and I didn't eat them. I ordered a sandwich, and dessert, then there's tip and tax, and my share if $35. Here it is." Plonk--onto the table go your bills.

I like this.
Especially the sound effect "plonk".  ;D (Sorry. I just got out of bed, and I'm easily amused when I'm still waking up.)
No seriously, I think this is the right way to go. It's simple, it's straightforward, nobody gets taken advantage of, and nobody has to begrudge others for eating too much / too expensive.
In other words, yes people should speak up for themselves already.

June24

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #70 on: August 08, 2010, 12:03:53 AM »
But he doesn't say that anywhere - that he is ordering less that other people.  The phrase he actually uses is "order offensively"  

And lets say you have 10 people with the following orders

1 (Writer): $140
2: $140
3: $140
4: $140
5: $140
6: $160
7: $160
8: $160
9: $160
10: $40

Total: $1380 per person = $138 Meaning the poor $40 person is subsidisizing everyone a bit - even the writer.

Even if the distribution means the writer ends up overpaying for his meal, the person paying $160 for his $40 meal is screwed more than the writer - and screwed more by the writer. Example:

1 (Writer): $140
2: $160
3: $160
4: $160
5: $160
6: $160
7: $160
8: $160
9: $160
10: $40

Total: $1460, per person = $146 So the writer overpays by $6 while the cheap eater overpays by nearly $100.  If the writer ordered his normal meal, then this would go down.  If the writer was ordering what he would normally order (even if it's $140), then he is no worse than the "sybaritic corporate lawyer" who just has expensive taste and isn't concerned with cost.  But it's the selfish mindset of "I'll order more expensively than I normally would so that I don't get screwed" which makes me not have any sympathy for him.

ETA:  And I realize that depending on how you cut the numbers, you can get totally different scenarios.  But part of my point is that we don't know how the numbers were cut for his situation.  For all we know, with his "offensive ordering" he had one of the highest or even the highest share.  I don't fault him for ordering the baked Alaska, I fault him for the concept of "offensive ordering"  (which ironically could either be the opposite of defensive ordering, or actually be intended to be offending people - ah the English language)

I just don't blame him at all for ordering close to the amount that he will be paying for. It's not his responsibility to make sure that other people aren't screwed - since he feels like he can't change the situation, he's ordering on par with what he's going to be paying. The other people can either order "offensively" themselves, or speak up and say that they'll only pay for their portion. The writer isn't required to stay in the victim role so that other people won't have to pay more. That's requiring way too much of him, IMO.

In your scenario, if the writer just took a separate check and paid for his own meal of $140, then it would break down like this:
People 2-9) $160
Person 10) $40

So each person would pay $146.67 - that's the SAME (actually a little more) as it would be if the writer hadn't taken the separate check. So the person who ordered the cheapest meal would pay the same amount regardless of whether the writer paid with the group or paid on his own. So the writer isn't causing any additional financial burden to this person. Sure, it would be cheaper for the other person if the writer ordered a $40 meal - in fact, it would be even cheaper if the writer didn't eat at all and still chipped in for the bill. I just don't see how you can expect that kind of financial self-sacrifice, though.

If you really think that the writer was rude, then you must think that the person who seceded from the bill was also rude - after all, it would've been cheaper for everyone else if he had paid with the rest of the group rather than getting his own check.

I just don't see how you can ask that someone overpay for their bill so that others don't have to. It's up to those others to either order offensively, or speak up. I sure wouldn't eat a $40 meal while subsidizing someone else's $160 meal - everyone likes good food, and if I'm going to be paying for it, I'd better be eating it.

CluelessBride

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #71 on: August 08, 2010, 12:43:46 AM »
I just don't blame him at all for ordering close to the amount that he will be paying for. It's not his responsibility to make sure that other people aren't screwed - since he feels like he can't change the situation, he's ordering on par with what he's going to be paying. The other people can either order "offensively" themselves, or speak up and say that they'll only pay for their portion. The writer isn't required to stay in the victim role so that other people won't have to pay more. That's requiring way too much of him, IMO.

In your scenario, if the writer just took a separate check and paid for his own meal of $140, then it would break down like this:
People 2-9) $160
Person 10) $40

So each person would pay $146.67 - that's the SAME (actually a little more) as it would be if the writer hadn't taken the separate check. So the person who ordered the cheapest meal would pay the same amount regardless of whether the writer paid with the group or paid on his own. So the writer isn't causing any additional financial burden to this person. Sure, it would be cheaper for the other person if the writer ordered a $40 meal - in fact, it would be even cheaper if the writer didn't eat at all and still chipped in for the bill. I just don't see how you can expect that kind of financial self-sacrifice, though.

If you really think that the writer was rude, then you must think that the person who seceded from the bill was also rude - after all, it would've been cheaper for everyone else if he had paid with the rest of the group rather than getting his own check.


I just don't see how you can ask that someone overpay for their bill so that others don't have to. It's up to those others to either order offensively, or speak up. I sure wouldn't eat a $40 meal while subsidizing someone else's $160 meal - everyone likes good food, and if I'm going to be paying for it, I'd better be eating it.

I trimmed the quote tree. 

Re: the bolded. The reason I think the writer is rude is *not* because he ordered an expensive meal.  It's because he is complaining about other people ordering an expensive meal that he will have to help pay for (unless of course he does the mature, responsible thing and actually deal with it - by asking for a separate check or addressing the overpayment issue), while he is doing the exact same thing  But he's not just doing it because he happens to want the expensive meal.  And honestly, his "strategy" is more likely to exacerbate the problem for himself in the future.  Because if everyone thinks like him, then everyone will keep ordering more and more expensive things each dinner out.  And the only one who wins will be the restaurant. 

And again, there is absolutely nothing to indicate that his expensive meal was cheaper than everyone elses.  It still could have been the most expensive. 

But it's the attitude, not the specific action I take issue with anyhow.  I know a lot of people think that the thought behind an action can't be rude, only the action itself - but when you publish articles about your thoughts, I think that changes a bit. 

I guess I just see his strategy as taking advantage of the system - and I don't think that you get to take advantage of a situation and then whine about it. 

Raintree

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #72 on: August 08, 2010, 01:09:43 AM »
LOL, I had to laugh a bit at the writer's strategy of ordering more expensive stuff on the grounds that he was going to be paying for everyone else's anyway.

Reminds me of a situation I found myself in:

I was new at work, and someone there invited me to go for sushi Friday night. Now, I couldn't really afford to eat out, but sushi joints are a dime a dozen in this town and you can usually eat well for about $15-$20 at them. And not wanting to be standoffish at the new workplace, I agreed to go.

So I show up Friday night and it turns out to be a super high-end Japanese restaurant in the trendiest part of town (not just a casual sushi joint). Lots of specialty foods I'd never tried. The group was just ordering a bunch of stuff to put in the middle of the table and share, willy-nilly and continuously throughout the evening. There would have been no real way to get a separate check as I was participating in shared food. They were also ordering all kinds of fancy mixed drinks. I knew that come time to pay, the check would be split equally, so I just went ahead and ordered those fancy mixed drinks too, my rationale being that I was going to be paying for everyone else's anyway so I might as well have them too.

In the end this meal cost me my entire food budget for that paycheque (two week period) and I learned to inquire a little more closely in future before accepting invitations to restaurants.

noexitwounds

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #73 on: August 08, 2010, 05:35:32 AM »
Re: the bolded. The reason I think the writer is rude is *not* because he ordered an expensive meal.  It's because he is complaining about other people ordering an expensive meal that he will have to help pay for (unless of course he does the mature, responsible thing and actually deal with it - by asking for a separate check or addressing the overpayment issue), while he is doing the exact same thing  But he's not just doing it because he happens to want the expensive meal.  And honestly, his "strategy" is more likely to exacerbate the problem for himself in the future.  Because if everyone thinks like him, then everyone will keep ordering more and more expensive things each dinner out.  And the only one who wins will be the restaurant. 
 

The author explicitly states that he used to order on the lower end of the scale but, being unable to change the attitude of the group -- the majority of which were ordering on the high end -- he decided to stop subsidizing their meals while he goes without on his own.

"I developed this system after too many birthday dinners where I went home poor and hungry. This way, at least, you get the food you want."

Honestly, I can't blame him. Would you want to order $30 worth of food only to be expected to contribute $170 to the meal? That's nearly SIX times the amount you ordered. Meanwhile, you get only a small dish or maybe just an appetizer and drink water, so you're not completely full (unless you're a very small eater to begin with), don't get the drink you wanted, and have to eat Ramen for a *week* at the end of the month because the extra $140 has to come from somewhere in you're budget and if you're on a tight one (as many grad students are -- I seriously don't know a single one, who doesn't have a trust fund or very generous parents, who hasn't overdrawn on their bank account at least once to cover basic necessities) it probably means skipping on a bill or skimping on groceries.

Can you decline the invite? Yes, to the risk of you're friend feeling very hurt and like you're not as close as s/he thought you were.

Can you insist on only paying your portion? Yes, but you come across as a cheapskate and jerk because you're begrudging others. This can also impact your relationship with your birthday having friend.  (And, honestly, I don't think anyone can argue that people aren't looked down upon if everyone else agrees to split the check evenly and they insist on splitting their portion only. People who go against the grain with money in such a way they're trying to pay less aren't looked upon fondly. It's more "I'm splitting the check evenly and I only ordered $150 dollars worth of food, so what's wrong with you that you won't suck it up for the group?")

At which point the only halfway reasonable option is to order food enough that you'll not be paying six times your own bill.

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CluelessBride

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #74 on: August 08, 2010, 06:14:09 AM »

The author explicitly states that he used to order on the lower end of the scale but, being unable to change the attitude of the group -- the majority of which were ordering on the high end -- he decided to stop subsidizing their meals while he goes without on his own.

"I developed this system after too many birthday dinners where I went home poor and hungry. This way, at least, you get the food you want."

Honestly, I can't blame him. Would you want to order $30 worth of food only to be expected to contribute $170 to the meal? That's nearly SIX times the amount you ordered. Meanwhile, you get only a small dish or maybe just an appetizer and drink water, so you're not completely full (unless you're a very small eater to begin with), don't get the drink you wanted, and have to eat Ramen for a *week* at the end of the month because the extra $140 has to come from somewhere in you're budget and if you're on a tight one (as many grad students are -- I seriously don't know a single one, who doesn't have a trust fund or very generous parents, who hasn't overdrawn on their bank account at least once to cover basic necessities) it probably means skipping on a bill or skimping on groceries.

Can you decline the invite? Yes, to the risk of you're friend feeling very hurt and like you're not as close as s/he thought you were.

Can you insist on only paying your portion? Yes, but you come across as a cheapskate and jerk because you're begrudging others. This can also impact your rel@tionship with your birthday having friend.  (And, honestly, I don't think anyone can argue that people aren't looked down upon if everyone else agrees to split the check evenly and they insist on splitting their portion only. People who go against the grain with money in such a way they're trying to pay less aren't looked upon fondly. It's more "I'm splitting the check evenly and I only ordered $150 dollars worth of food, so what's wrong with you that you won't suck it up for the group?")

At which point the only halfway reasonable option is to order food enough that you'll not be paying six times your own bill.



Again, I guess one of the issues I have with this is that if everyone acts like the author, the only winner is the restaurant - because everyone will just order more and more. It's like avoiding the issue instead of dealing with it. I think that there are ways to pay for only your portion without sending the message of begrudging others - because in fact you are indulging their desire to want to order lots of expensive things.  But most people would understand this.  

One tactic is to be pre-emptive, and actually excuse yourself before the check comes.  If you know what you've ordered, do a little math for the tax and auto-grat, and pull out what you know you owe while headed to the restroom and say "Excuse me, I need to use the restroom, this should cover my meal and drinks"  Be explicit - there is a really good chance others will follow suit.  In large group situations people aren't always aware that one person has significantly under (or over) ordered - and because people are lazy they opt for the split X number of ways.  If you wait to say, "I'm only paying $Y" until after someone has announced how much everyone owes - people will be annoyed because they've already figured it out and now they have to do more math.  If you address the issue head on, it's less likely to be an issue.  As I said up-thread, I've never been in a situation where the check was just split evenly if people hadn't all ordered the same thing.  That's not just luck, its also being upfront about expectations.

In terms of declining an invite, if someone doesn't learn to politely decline invites, they are going to be in a world of hurt later in life.  

Re: bolded  As a grad student, I know many grad students who have never overdrawn their bank account (necessities or not) without the help of mom, dad or a trust fund - myself included.  It's not necessarily an easy thing to do, but plenty of grad students do it.  Perhaps not the ones that haven't learned to say no to $140 dinners though...  Honestly though, I understand that money can be tight.  Which is why the writer's approach is so awful to me - it's not addressing the issue.  He's still blowing his budget on one meal out.  But then (unlike the rich lawyers he complains about), he has the nerve to gripe about how much it sucks that people order expensively - when he is doing the same thing.  Except without the plausible deniability that he was just ordering what he wanted to eat that the rich lawyer has.  

And I'd like to reiterate that for me it's about the attitude that he has in his article and his rationale.  If he went out and ordered with reckless abandon because it was going to be his one night out that month and he was going to have a good time, well then darn it, I'm with him 100%!  Just like I'm with the grad student that eats ramen for 11 months straight and doesn't turn the lights on so they can afford afford a fun vacation that year.  It's the "offensive ordering", while complaining about the whole practice and having to pay a large amount of money because he's basically forced to order the expensive thing because he's too immature to deal with the issue head on that bothers me.  And I'd also be bothered by the grad student who complained about the fact that they ate ramen for 11 months in the dark to afford to go on the cruise with a bunch of their lawyer friends who had more money. 
« Last Edit: August 08, 2010, 06:20:35 AM by CluelessBride »