To not want to just divide the bill ...

(227 Posts)
GenerallyIndecisive Sat 02-Feb-13 16:43:20

Me and my DH had lunch today with some new friends. We have wanted to meet new people so have been making an effort to go to things and talk to new people so we were pleased when a couple we had been chatting to on and off for a few months suggested lunch. They picked quite a pricey pub but we had seen they did a few nice light bites and were happy to go there.

It was a nice lunch and we all got on really well but when the bill came the other couple just said to the waitress oh split the bill and handed over their card... Their food / drink was about £20 more though so we ended up paying £10 extra.

Money is really tight for us at present as I only get Maternity Allowance (was made redundant at 20 weeks pregnant and had only been there 1 year 11 months so no redundancy either).

My DH thinks I am being unreasonable to feel a bit upset and says that most people would just split the bill without giving it a second thought.

Am I being unreasonable?

HindsightisaMarvellousThing Sat 02-Feb-13 16:45:26

It depends how much the overall bill was really - £20 extra on £100 bill is different to £20 extra on a £45 bill.

I'd be inclined to chalk it up to experience and suggest you all go somewhere cheaper next time.

MrsMushroom Sat 02-Feb-13 16:45:46

Yanbu but you've learned a lesson. Speak up more. In future say "Oh I'd rather go to so and so" name a cheaper place. Also say "Let's pay separately."

To some people a tenner is nothing. But if you're struggling for money, it's probably best not to go out to eat...invite them back to yours or something.

HollyBerryBush Sat 02-Feb-13 16:46:19

Most would just split it - however you could have asked for separate bills.

Onlyconnect Sat 02-Feb-13 16:50:33

If I was so broke that a tenner made a difference I think I'd say something at the start of the meal. Presumably you picked cheaper things to keep the bill down which is fair enough if broke, however in my view it's a fussy pain to split the bill by what you've eaten so I woud say first. I think if someone ( not suggesting you did this) just sees after the meal the chance of paying a bit less because theirs happened to be a bit cheaper that's just being mean. It's much better just to split it evenly if everone is solvent I think.

I think if you want to do separate bills it's politer to say that up-front, it's a bit late once the bill actually arrives. Splitting the bill is the sort of default I think, when two couples have a meal out together.

Pandemoniaa Sat 02-Feb-13 16:53:53

In principle, I tend to prefer splitting the bill. There's nothing worse than going out to eat with people who want to haggle over whether their side order of broccoli was 50p cheaper than someone else's potatoes. But splitting the bill is only fair if you are all eating food that costs broadly similar.

YANBU in thinking that if you ate from the snack menu and this couple ate from the main course options then actually, it would have been fairer to pay your own bills.

I know it is harder if you don't know the people very well but it's much easier to work out how you plan to split the bill from the outset which is what I tend to do with my friends. We also always pay individually when there's a significant difference in the respective bills.

FlickeringCandle Sat 02-Feb-13 16:56:15

It is just easier to split the bill though and working how who ate or drank what.

Next time suggest the place and say - do you mind if we just pay for we've had as money is a little tight at the moment?

BackforGood Sat 02-Feb-13 16:57:26

I think in the situation you describe, most people would just split the bill. If you are in the situation where you are deliberately choosing the cheap things to keep costs down, then you need to speak up at the start - easy to just say 'money's a bit tight at the moment, so I hope it's OK if we each pay for what we have today rather than a straight spilt ?'

Hassled Sat 02-Feb-13 16:59:22

In the circumstances you describe (newish friends and no agreement up front) then you couldn't/shouldn't have said anything. But as you get to know them just tell them the truth - we love going out with you but are pretty skint and would prefer to just pay for our stuff. If they're worth knowing they won't mind.

ENormaSnob Sat 02-Feb-13 17:01:41

I perfect to pay for what we order.

Mainly because ours is usually more expensive (5 of us, plus i love wine and pudding and dh loves steak!) and I would hate for someone else to sub us iyswim.

DoJo Sat 02-Feb-13 17:04:54

I agree that you should probably mention up front if you want separate bills - they probably didn't realise that it would be a problem for you, but it's too late to say once they've already suggested splitting as it looks like you think they're taking advantage.

middleagedspread Sat 02-Feb-13 17:07:49

I agree ENorm. I think it's practical to just split it. But if someones not drinking & I am and then have had pudding I insist on paying more or offering to pay the tip.
Your new friends probably didn't realise that you'd ordered from the snack menu & would probably be horrified to think you'd somehow 'subbed them'.
Maybe next time suggest 'a quick bowl of soup & a sandwich lunch'?

TotallyBS Sat 02-Feb-13 17:16:23

When I'm out with mates we always split the bill evenly despite some being heavier drinkers than others. We also do this when eating with other couples.

If it's with kids then we have separate bills since the age and number of people in each family varies.

We are roughly all of the same income level so it's no big deal just to split the bill. I suspect that this is what your new friends are use to.

Next time just eat more smile Or just say you aren't that hungry so how about separate bills?

Tailtwister Sat 02-Feb-13 17:20:58

We usually split the bill, but if I saw we had spent significantly more than the other couple I would have asked to pay separately. IMO it was bad manners of them to expect you to subsidise their more expensive choices.

ihearsounds Sat 02-Feb-13 17:23:41

Seperate bills all the time. Its always easier and saves a lot of resentment. Make it clear from the start. I found years ago that some people do it delibratly, know they are having expensive stuff compared to others, but have no problems with the bill being split. Noticed these same people, make a fuss when others eat/ drink loads and they dont, and people mention bills split.

sleepyhead Sat 02-Feb-13 17:25:53

£20 more is quite a bit. I'd be tempted to think that they were the chancers tbh, but I always keep half an eye on that sort of thing as I hate to rip people off.

Maybe if you're well off you just get used to handing your card over whatever the bill though.

maddening Sat 02-Feb-13 17:29:21

They were rude to assume you were splitting the bill.

Viviennemary Sat 02-Feb-13 17:31:22

It was a bit rude and inconsiderate of them to say just split the bill without asking you first. And that put you in a position of not wanting to speak up. I think it's OK for the people whose meal cost the least to suggest just splitting the bill but not the other way round.

Some people simply don't realise that an extra £10-20 is a huge chunk out of someone else's budget. If your new friends' other friends are generally on about the same income level as they are, it probably just didn't occur to them that you are not well off.
As others said, let it go this time but next time, speak up in advance. If they get sniffy about your 'meanness' then you can just drop the friendship.

I prefer to pay for what I order tbh. But then I have gone out with friends at times and drunk far less than them and I feel
A little annoyed at paying the full share of a meal when someone's been chugging doubles all evening.

However I accept that's the done thing and most the time the others do reAlise their drinks cost far more and throw in a little extra. If I really am truly skint where it's going to
Be an issue I always say up front that I'll be paying separately.

Next time just be honest first , cos unless someone has ordered something that's twice the price or drink significantly more then it's pretty much normal
To just split the bill.

If no one says anything before the meal, then split the bill. If I know I want the lobster as a main course (for example), I'll always say, before I order it, that I don't expect other people to subsidise my indulgences, and suggest we have separate bills - equally, if it's one of those (many!) broke weeks, I'll tell them in advance that I'm going for the cheaper options, and again, suggest separate bills. It gets easier the better you know the people you're eating with, but the time to do the talking about it is before ordering, not when the bill is presented.

CaptainSweatPants Sat 02-Feb-13 17:44:18

Invite them round to yours next time?

delilahlilah Sat 02-Feb-13 17:46:08

Easy way to avoid this, ask the waiter / waitress to bill you separately at the start. I do this as my 'D'sis tried the split the bill thing a while ago, fine, except they had several bottles of wine plus starters etc and DH and I had only had mains and a bottle of water.
It's not the first time she has done this, she is one who professes to be short of money, but is in fact comfortable at the very least. Yet she will still try to make sure she pays less than she has had. she tried to ask us for £35 each for the afore mentioned meal...

expatinscotland Sat 02-Feb-13 17:47:22

I think YABU because you need to spell it out. And if the place was that expensive I'd have suggested some other place and said money was tight.

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