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dinner out with friends - paying the bill?
Old 09-02-2009, 06:04 PM   #1
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dinner out with friends - paying the bill?

I'm curious how others feel/handle paying for dinner when you go out with a group of friends (say, 3-4 couples). We would prefer to just ask for separate checks (if the restaurant will do that), or, afterwards everyone just chip in what their bill came to (approximately). One of our friends seems really uncomfortable with this and just wants to "split it 3 ways on our cards" (i.e. if 3 couples)

This isn't fair if you are like us - we rarely get an appetizer or a dessert, and often don't order expensive drinks. Yet, we don't want to look cheap, so we just go along with the flow.

So how do you handle these social situations?
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:08 PM   #2
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We ask for a separate check. The others are big kids, let them figure out what they want to do.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:10 PM   #3
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Just add it up or split the checks.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:10 PM   #4
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We chip in what our orders cost, plus a generous tip. There's always enough money for the bill when we dine out with our close friends.

Of course, having generous friends helps -- nobody stints, everyone's happy.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:11 PM   #5
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We always try to pay for everybody, but sometimes they ask for separate checks.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:25 PM   #6
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90% of the time we just split. In the unusual case where we are way off, I will just say I'm gonna pick up the extra for whatever we had that they didn't (maybe a bottle of wine or a very pricey special).

But basically, we hand the server the two credit cards and say split it.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:29 PM   #7
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Usually everyone gets separate checks in the rare event that the restaurant will go along with that. Otherwise, each pays for approximately what they owe (give or take two or three dollars, plus tip).

It all works out nicely. If there isn't enough left for a good sized tip once all the money has been collected in the middle of the table, then everyone chips in another dollar or two.

So, we don't split it exactly to the very penny, but those who spent more pay more. Usually someone is short on cash, and that person ends up charging all of it and taking cash from the others and leaving a cash tip.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:30 PM   #8
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I want to go to dinner with LOL!. I generally split the bill. Or if I am in Vegas with friends we take turns paying for meals.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:39 PM   #9
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I want to go to dinner with LOL!. I generally split the bill. Or if I am in Vegas with friends we take turns paying for meals.
Me too!

Ahhh Vegas. I haven't been there in three years...I'm gettin' the itch.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:40 PM   #10
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We almost always split it down the middle. Sometimes it isn't fair to one or the other but it probably averages out over time.

It is hard when you're with a couple who gets a couple of mixed drinks, appetizers, bottle of wine, and dessert, if you don't--I would hope they would realize they should be picking up more than 50%, but if they don't, you can just speak up.

Also, most restaurants have let us put $50 on our card and $40 on the other person's--you just have to tell the waiter how to split it.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:48 PM   #11
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There are VERY few restaurants around here that won't do separate checks....so that's the norm for us. There are a few cases where we go out for dinner with friends fairly regularly, and we all just take turns paying.

A friend of mine from Chicago came down a few weeks ago, and I'd cyphered out that it was her turn to buy this time. So we head out to dinner at a nice joint.....and me being a cheap-skate thrifty, we went in time for the 'early-bird' specials.

After dinner the waitress brings the bill to the table, and I aim it toward my friend, who says "Oh noooooo! It's YOUR turn. Remember, I came to town last month and we did breakfast...and I bought...remember??"

Dang!!! I forgot! She'd bought breakfast at the greasy-spoon, and I have to buy dinner at this swanky joint! Foiled again! Next time it's gonna be prime-rib, doggone it!!!
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:55 PM   #12
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Ahhh Vegas. I haven't been there in three years...I'm gettin' the itch.
Just got a consulting request and will probably be there in October for the first time in 5 years or so. Should be fun and the worst of the heat should be gone.

Maybe I'll stay downtown for a change of pace from the strip.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:56 PM   #13
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Separate checks always.
The exception is if we are all ordering dishes for everyone to sample from, like appetizers or pizza and wings served family style.
When only one bill is allowed, I truly dislike the money figuring part at the end. I can do the math quickly in my head, but I have found folks like to add up their own bills. And are often wrong, forgetting tax or the bottle of wine we didn't share or whatever.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:18 PM   #14
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I always speak up and ask for a separate check. I think it is more relaxing to do it this way and also much easier when it comes to paying the bill. I put the meal on my cc most of the time and leave the tip in cash. Of course, if I have invited someone, say for lunch, or they have driven a distance to visit me, I pick up the tab especially if I have chosen a pricey dining spot. In the latter case, I think of them as my guest and the meal out in lieu of what I should have been furnishing to them in my home as a hostess.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:22 PM   #15
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Just got a consulting request and will probably be there in October for the first time in 5 years or so. Should be fun and the worst of the heat should be gone.

Maybe I'll stay downtown for a change of pace from the strip.
Hey...maybe I'll go then too! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...right?

btw, I stayed at the Golden Nugget years ago and I loved it. Hopefully it is still a fine hotel...
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:28 PM   #16
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We regularly go out with a three other couples and get separate checks . We do take turns buying appetizers ,wine or dessert for the table .
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:40 PM   #17
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We ask for a separate check. The others are big kids, let them figure out what they want to do.
Not a couple here but I would do the same. I have dinner and drinks with an old buddy every few weeks and we just rotate the check each time. Works out the same. But that's a pretty simple situation.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:43 PM   #18
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My husband usually tries to sneak away and pay the bill, but some friends have caught on and either ask for separate checks or sneak away some other time and pay the bill. It's become kind of a game which is fun!

Obviously our eating out budget is a little more generous than our friends.

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Old 09-02-2009, 07:50 PM   #19
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We always just split the checks when out with friends. If there is a huge obvious difference, one party might insist on kicking in something extra. But I'm not concerned about an exact split when out with friends, and fortunately I don't have any friends that I'd worry about this with (can't imagine frankly). YMMV
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:01 PM   #20
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First time with a couple we split the check. If it appears that things are really out of balance we may even split the second. Third time it is either separate checks or pay our share. If we are the one ordering extra we always insist on paying for our extras or cover the entire tip or both. I have a SIL that orders several drinks, expensive meal, and desert. She knows we are not going to let her pick up the check.
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