Author Topic: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner  (Read 12841 times)

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siamesecat2965

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #90 on: August 09, 2010, 09:28:40 AM »
I find it interesting that so many restaurants still claim their technology won't allow for split checks.  14 years ago I worked for a popular TX seafood restaurant that had computerized checks (POS system).  One of the basic functions was how to split a check.  With a large group you simply asked discreetly if it was separate or together.  Then if it was separate, you asked who was on which check and went from there.  It all went into the computer on 1 ticket and the server used any downtime to breakdown the check into the separate tickets (abcde...).  It really wasn't very hard at all.  And for shared items, I would ask whose bill they went on.  

I do think that in restaurants that allow splitting checks doing so *IS* an essential part of the server's job.  Management has determined that their restaurant will provide this service.  The server should be trained on how to do it and expected to do so without objection.

My mom eats out about once a month with several social groups; lunch and dinner.  They go to a variety of restaurants, and in each and every one they are able to get separate checks.  I do know if they can't, they don't go back, as its too much trouble that no one in the group wants to deal with.

I've actually declined to go out for birthday's etc. when I know there will be people in the group I don't know to avoid the situation described in the letter writer's story.  I don't really drink, and generlaly can't afford to split a huge check which includes everyone else's drinks.  My friends and I will go out and take out whoever's birthday it is, but there are 4 of us, and we will simply split the bill as we all usually order about the same amount.

I do remember being very irritated at one friend, who sent out an email, saying hey, we should all get together for dinner, letís try the new Melting Pot restaurant, how about this date?  We all agreed, but she then said, in another email, itís Susieís birthday, so we can take her out!!!! The reason I was mad was that I had looked at the menu, and knew it was pricy, but as Susie was included in that email, there wasnít any way to politely say, hey, itís a little expensive, how about we just pay for ourselves?  

 I was fine with taking Susie out for her birthday, just not there!  So we went, and she had no clue it was so pricy, but I think she learned her lesson when the bill, split 3 ways, came to 80-95 for each of the three of us!  She was amazed it was so expensive, and that was with no alcohol!  I did tell her later on that I wish she hadnít said weíd take Susie there, and she said yeah, I see your point.
 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 09:30:33 AM by siamesecat2965 »

Ambrosia Hino

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #91 on: August 09, 2010, 11:54:54 AM »
makes me glad that my friends still prefer to have their fabulous drinking parties at their homes to celebrate any and all occasions. I have, can, and will take my friends out for their birthdays but its usually one-on-one or as a double date (me, DH, friend, and friend's SO). My friends cannot do the same for me, financially, and I know and understand that. My birthday rotates between being an at-home party and something private with DH (our birthdays are 2 weeks apart; every year one of us gets a party, the other gets private dinner/event and we rotate every year)

Most recently, DH and I met up with FIL, SMIL, step-bro, and step-sis for SMIL's birthday. We knew we were going to dinner, but only as of lunchtime that same day. DH and I covered SMIL's meal, leaving FIL to only need to cover his own and his step-children.  This still falls into what I'm willing to do - cover my food and that of the person we're celebrating. If someone else wants to help cover the celebrant's bill, I'll split it with them, but I am NOT just going to split the entire bill among people.

Hushabye

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #92 on: August 09, 2010, 12:16:32 PM »
The whole thing is really interesting to me because it's something I haven't run into too often.  Among friends, we paid for what we ordered if we couldn't get separate checks and split the GOH's (But never GOH's SO.  Seriously?!).  Most of the time, going out with coworkers in DC, we paid for what we ordered, especially as we usually went out for Happy Hour, and drink costs vary widely. 

It's always been among more distant coworkers or newly-met individuals (I'm thinking specifically of when I was an intern and went out with the other interns a time or two here) that the "split it equally" meme has emerged -- and I've generally made it a point not to go out again with those individuals precisely because I almost invariably ended up paying at least a little more than I had planned and over what I had actually ordered.

Now I think I have enough of a backbone to say, if someone wanted to split things evenly, "I'm sorry, but I only ordered X.  Here is $YY to cover it and the tip, and $Z to contribute to GOH's meal."

hobish

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #93 on: August 09, 2010, 01:03:12 PM »
Quote
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.

It's not laziness, believe me, there is nothing lazy about waiting on 12 half drunk 30 year old that are all trying look posh and don't really know how to do it.

The problem comes with the ordering. Trying to keep track while 12 people are all randomly ordering, or people ordering for other people causes a mess. And then trying to figure out mistakes, "I didn't order the salad, she did- well, yeah I ordered it, but it was for her. Oh she already paid and left? well too bad I'm not paying for it." Happens way more than you'd ever think.

It also makes it easier for people to walk out on a check. You think those polite talking mild mannered middle aged people won't ask for a split check and then duck out without paying? Think again. I am so tired of hearing how restaurants are lazy for not splitting checks and so glad i am not a server anymore.
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Orisha

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #94 on: August 09, 2010, 01:06:26 PM »

$168.51/person for a dinner out?!?

I've never spent that much for a dinner in my life. Doing so as a grad student would have been impossible - that was about 1/3 of my monthly rent, or about 3 weeks of groceries.

I don't mind going out for someone's birthday within reason. Within reason means that there is the option for someone on a tight budget to order separately, or that the venue is chosen with the budget of the most cash strapped member of the party taken into account. In general, graduate students don't go to upscale steak houses unless someone else is paying. Graduate students also rarely order from a wine list.




As a grad student, I agree.  I don't have a problem with going out to dinner to celebrate someone's birthday in principle, even if everyone is paying their own way.  I do think that the restaurant selection should be reasonably priced.  I also think people who order 3x what everyone else has and then expect to split the check evenly are selfish and rude.  The person who ordered a $15 dish and a glass of wine shouldn't be stuck helping to foot the bill for the person who ordered the $30 lobster, multiple mixed drinks and an appetizer.  

abbyas

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #95 on: August 09, 2010, 01:54:01 PM »
Hello,

Long time-lurker, first time poster.

I'm also in New York City, and had a very similar situation happen.  Large group of people out to dinner with boyfriend and I on very limited budgets.  We ordered no appetizers and stuck to soda, but at the end of the meal was asked to pay for everyone else's appetizers, deserts, limoncellos and champagne.  None of which was offered to be shared.  After we stuck to our guns regarding budget (gently, nicely), we got a lengthy email telling us we had to pony up for everyone and were selfish.

Next year, when the same group sent out invites, we suggested a less expensive restaurant and again were called cheap.  And this isn't the first time this has happened.  It's an epidemic in New York.  I'm with the author 100%.  People just don't think about the situation of everyone around them.  And between 25 and kids, there are these social rules and mores built by people that either never have to worry about money or have eating out much higher on their budget importance than most of everyone else.

kingsrings

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #96 on: August 09, 2010, 02:22:13 PM »
With my group of friends, we set standards for birthday dinner outings, sent in an email to the whole group after a lengthly discussion. But we all knew each other, so that was possible. A lack of communication about what is expected is the culprit here. However, this is a situation of a large group of people who donít always know each other getting together, so I donít know how communicating would work. They all have different ideas of how the dinners should be paid for, which is of course causing discord.

Do you think it would work if the invitation included how the payment process would go? Such as itís all going to be different checks, or everyoneís going to pool their money together on one check? Then nobody would be caught off guard, or order too much, or find themselves subsidizing someone elseís $$ meal when they ordered something much less $$.

wyliefool

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #97 on: August 09, 2010, 04:29:32 PM »
Hello,

Long time-lurker, first time poster.

I'm also in New York City, and had a very similar situation happen.  Large group of people out to dinner with boyfriend and I on very limited budgets.  We ordered no appetizers and stuck to soda, but at the end of the meal was asked to pay for everyone else's appetizers, deserts, limoncellos and champagne.  None of which was offered to be shared.  After we stuck to our guns regarding budget (gently, nicely), we got a lengthy email telling us we had to pony up for everyone and were selfish.

Next year, when the same group sent out invites, we suggested a less expensive restaurant and again were called cheap.  And this isn't the first time this has happened.  It's an epidemic in New York.  I'm with the author 100%.  People just don't think about the situation of everyone around them.  And between 25 and kids, there are these social rules and mores built by people that either never have to worry about money or have eating out much higher on their budget importance than most of everyone else.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.  >:(

If I were to be in this situation, I think I'd just plonk down what I owed and leave it up to everyone else to haggle. That is, I usually remember what I ordered--say, the entree was $15 and the drink $5--and just add tax and tip onto that.

But, I haven't been, luckily.

Miss Understood

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #98 on: August 09, 2010, 06:04:10 PM »
Hello,

Long time-lurker, first time poster.

I'm also in New York City, and had a very similar situation happen.  Large group of people out to dinner with boyfriend and I on very limited budgets.  We ordered no appetizers and stuck to soda, but at the end of the meal was asked to pay for everyone else's appetizers, deserts, limoncellos and champagne.  None of which was offered to be shared.  After we stuck to our guns regarding budget (gently, nicely), we got a lengthy email telling us we had to pony up for everyone and were selfish.

Next year, when the same group sent out invites, we suggested a less expensive restaurant and again were called cheap.  And this isn't the first time this has happened.  It's an epidemic in New York.  I'm with the author 100%.  People just don't think about the situation of everyone around them.  And between 25 and kids, there are these social rules and mores built by people that either never have to worry about money or have eating out much higher on their budget importance than most of everyone else.

I just cannot figure out what is going through peopleís minds who act this way.  How can someone think itís OK to order all kinds of expensive food and drink and expect others to pay for it?  Would they also think it would be OK to go on a shopping trip with a friend and insist on going to the register together and ďsplitting the billĒ even though they had picked out a mink coat and the friend was buying socks?  I know, ridiculous example, but the principle is the same, and the restaurant experiences seem just as indefensible to me.

ETA:  where are my manners?   :)  Welcome abbyas!
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 06:07:34 PM by Miss Understood »

abbyas

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #99 on: August 09, 2010, 08:49:19 PM »
Yeah, we happily bowed out of the gathering the next time around.  It really does seem to be a New York City-young folks habit.  Hence the writer's article.

But thank you for the welcome! 

blarg314

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #100 on: August 09, 2010, 09:31:07 PM »

So it is possible to spend $168 per person.  Which doesn't necessarily make it a good idea.

Exactly. I read reviews in the New York Times, so I know that at a high end restaurant this isn't unusual. It's the idea of proposing a high end restaurant for a pay-your-own-way birthday dinner for people of wildly differing incomes, and then splitting the cost equally regardless of who ordered what. For a lot of people restaurants like this are either totally off the radar, or saved for very special once in a lifetime occasions, not someone else's birthday.

For some people in this sort of situation I think that the fact that people are on budgets simply doesn't register - either they've forgotten their own tight student days, or they've never been in a position where paying an extra $100 at dinner means you don't eat for the rest of the week.



Venus193

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Re: Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner
« Reply #101 on: August 09, 2010, 11:57:14 PM »
Blarg, this inevitably places some responsibility on the organizer.  S/he should know the rest of the diners' situations well enough to have a little sense in the choice of venue.