Splitting the bill – Word(s) of the day

(photo above: me enjoying Gazpacho in Spain that someone else gladly paid for – but please don’t be making me pay for your fancy surf n’ turf with truffles when what I ate wasn’t anywhere close in price comparison)

Splitting the bill – word(s) of the day

Splitting the bill I more often then not hate this idea. There I said it, so sue me Americans and Europeans and who ever else that think this is a way of life. I’m not referring to being on a date and refusing to split the bill (or going dutch), I’m a lady of 2011 I’m fine with that, but I’m not going to say no if he offers…. What I am referring too is being out for food with friends and the server bringing only one bill and someone saying “Lets just split the tab.”

Why is this in your culture!? Why do people do this!? In Canada or at least where I live this is unheard of and if I pulled this on my friends they would loose their shit! Servers here know it to and always ask if we are splitting or altogether and I’m pretty sure when it is a group of 4 or more they just assume the bills are all separate.

Two specific instances of this crazy “bill splitting” come to mind when I talk about this, the first was in New York at TBEX last June 2010.  Maybe 6 or 7 of us were out at a cool little old pub and most of us were eating these famous burgers and fries of theirs, enjoying our food and having a great time and then the moment to pay came. (This was probably my first time experiencing this) I looked around and was fine with the idea of splitting the bill because all of us pretty much had the same thing, that is fine except… one of my friends who is unfamiliar with this concept as well, had specifically ordered a cheaper food option to keep her costs down as she didn’t have much money while traveling and suddenly she was stuck paying way more than expected.

The other time was the same situation but instead this time it was a table of 19 of us and everyone had various different things for dinner including alcoholic beverages. Not only was a friend who was low on funds and only had an appetizer left to pay for a full meal but then also the “splitting” calculations were done wrong and another person had to pay an extra $20 when he was the last one left and the server realized we had unintentionally shorted him on the bill. (most of us paid him back for that slip up)

Maybe when I’m rich I won’t mind this whole “splitting the bill” business, heck when I’m rich I’ll just pay for everyone’s meal! But until then, please for the love of god if I’m having dinner with a bunch of friends lets just pay for our own or at least tell me we are splitting the bill in advance, before the meal so I can order the steak!!

What are your thoughts on this? Is it common practice where you live? Does this make me seem cheap? haha

Now lets amuse ourselves with this video shall we?

 

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Michael
    May 31, 2011 at 5:12 am

    In China, I often have a hard time even paying the bill at all! Over here, splitting, paying for your own dish, or whatever is unheard of. Usually just one person pays. Sometimes I like it that way but other times it really gets uneven. We usually take turns paying and it turns out somewhat even sometimes.

  • Reply
    Kelsey
    May 12, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Most places in the USA will actually *refuse* to split your meal into separate, but unequal, checks. I’m not sure why this is, but it actually tends to be more common the more expensive your chosen restaurant is.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 13, 2011 at 12:04 am

      oh most times where this has happened to me splitting the bill was not an option! But here where I live the server either asks if its separate or literally just brings separate cheques automatically. Like you have to tell them its all together if you want one bill!

  • Reply
    Kelsey
    May 12, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    In the USA, most servers will actually *refuse* to split your bill.

  • Reply
    Marsha
    May 10, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Hear, hear! I’m allergic to most seafood (like lobster), so if I go out with friends, they’d better not expect me to pay for their pricey food choices, which most seafood generally tends to be.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 13, 2011 at 12:56 am

      OMG I don’t think I would be able to live if I was allergic to lobster! But I definitely know what you are saying, same thing goes with the vegetarians!

  • Reply
    Cailin
    May 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I had never even thought of vegetarian food being cheaper, but that totally makes sense, and this must be extremely frustrating for you guys! Split cheques is the way to go :)

  • Reply
    Erin
    May 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Completely agree with you! When this happens we always end up paying way more than we should, as we are vegetarian (so meals are usually cheaper) and don’t often drink alcohol. I never have the guts to say I don’t want to split though as I’d look like a cheapskate. The custom of separate bills in Canada seems much better.

  • Reply
    Gray
    May 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Totally agree on this! The worst part is when you’re out with a large group and people start throwing money in the pile and leaving and the last person at the table realizes there’s not enough money (because somebody cheaped out) and they’ve got to throw in extra. Ugh. As I understand it, the rationale for not splitting checks with large parties is that it’s “too difficult” for the server. Well, obviously not if they do it all the time in Canada. I think I might mention that the next time a server tells me that. :-) I think if money is tight for you, you need to just be upfront about it at the beginning of the meal and tell the server your check will be separate. If there’s just one or two people doing that, the server might be cool with it. And if you can’t get a separate check, just stick to your guns about not splitting the bill. (I’ll often tell my friends “I’m trying not to spend too much, because I’m saving for my trip.”) This way you’ve put it out there that you don’t have the same budget everyone else does and if they then try to push you to split the bill, and make you feel bad if you try to itemize…then they’re not your friends, are they?

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Thats a good thought to mention your saving for a trip, so they will understand, but sometimes I’m just all around cheap saving for a trip or not and I just dont want to pay for more then what I got! hahaha but honestly you are right they aren’t being good friends if they are trying to make me feel bad are they?
      Whenever I have had this problem it has always been “too difficult” for the server, but people here in Canada have no problem with it at all!

  • Reply
    Ayngelina
    May 6, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I have some friends that I go out with regularly and the check is always split fairly so its no big deal BUT….I also have other people where I know I need to get the cheque split because they never pay their fair share.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      same here! and it is such an awkward subject that you never want to bring it up! haha :)

  • Reply
    Abby
    May 6, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Oh, Cailin, you and I were just talking about this, and now you made it a whole post! If a waitress will do separate checks, all the better. But it drives me MAD when people start nickel and diming a check haha. If it’s less than a few bucks, I think it always works out in the end. But if one person didn’t drink, or another got something super-expensive, it’s really rude not to figure out that person’s bill first.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Abby that trip and the night at the Indian restaurant is what inspired me to write this post! hahaha

  • Reply
    Randy
    May 5, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I feel you on this. I know similar situations have happened to Beth, and it drives her nuts too.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm

      its such a weird custom! or maybe its weird that we don’t split it? haha :)

  • Reply
    Travelogged
    May 4, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Wow, I had no idea that in Canada it was customary to get separate checks! In the US, it is very rare. One way to deal with an uneven ordering is if the people who ordered more expensive entrees or who ordered an appetizer in addition to their main course offer to pay the tip, because the service charge is usually not included. It can still get awkward though. And basically those who owe less are really at the mercy of those who owe more to make a comment about how they should pay less.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm

      It’s weird that Canada and the US are totally on opposite sides of the fence on this isn’t it? You guys are all going to come to TBEX trying to pull your “split the bill” business and you will confuse everyone!!! hahaha
      I know what you are saying but sometimes the tip doesnt even come close to make up the difference in costs, but it does help still :)

  • Reply
    Adam @ SitDownDisco
    May 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Love it. This resonates with me because I’m a cheapskate. But it wasn’t always like that. When I had a proper job, I’d usually be eating the more expensive options and drinking the booze so I didn’t give two shits about splitting the bill! I actually despised the cheapskates.

    The other thing is that it for me generally depends on the style of meal. I have no qualms splitting the bill at an asian restaurant where everyone is sharing the meal. And if someone gets a beer and I get a coke, then I’m ok with that. Especially when it’s only 20 bucks.

    I do agree that it can really sour an experience when a cheapskate pipes up at the end of a meal and says something like “I only had a coke and you had a beer!” I’m not that person, but I’m not far off these days. :)

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm

      I agree with you Adam. Sometimes when I’ve gotten a big cheque from whatever job I was doing I could careless but me not having money happens more often than that unfortunately haha

      and I am totally with you if its like a shared meal where we share plates but not when we each get our own thing. I’ve had some of the best asian meals by eating that way, a little bit of everything is always yummy.

      • Reply
        Adam
        May 12, 2011 at 11:45 am

        Sharing meals is my favourite way to eat. Even when it’s a normal meal. :)

        • Reply
          Cailin
          May 13, 2011 at 12:03 am

          hahaha it is yummy to try a bit of everything sometimes isn’t it? :)

  • Reply
    kimba
    May 4, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    And isn’t it always the people who can afford to pay, or have credit cards, that are the ones who initiate the idea! I think splitting the tab is really inconsiderate and rude, and above all, a real bit of crap to bring up at the end of what was probably otherwise a nice meal. It’s one reason why I like traveling alone and don’t go on group press trips.

    How do I solve the problem? I chip in my part of the tab – the part that actually pays for my food. If the rest of the table wants to “split” the rest of the bill, they are welcome to it!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 5, 2011 at 9:01 pm

      haha it is a good reason to travel alone, you never have to deal with that do you?
      That is a good way to solve your problem but can also cause a conflict could it not?
      What I hate especially is when someone doesn’t put in enough and then we are all left sitting there debating and trying to figure out who put what in and then I always feel bad and would rather add more money to end the argument then sit there forever trying to figure it out. But that just makes me mad for having to be the one to step up hahaha

  • Reply
    Alouise
    May 4, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    My friends and I always ask to get separate receipts for each person or couple when we go out – maybe this is a Canadian thing. The only time I don’t mind splitting the bill is when I’m at a family style or buffet restaurant because everyone pays around the same price. I think getting separate receipts is better. It’s not fair to make someone pay for your 5 alcoholic drinks and steak dinner when they just had coffee and an appetizer.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      it so isn’t fair! The two times I mentioned above the people were too proud to bring it up but I stood up for them and said it wasn’t fair but people didn’t listen to me :(

  • Reply
    Candice
    May 4, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    OMG I KNOW!!!!!!!! I didn’t realize this was a thing until I went to England and requested a split bill in a restaurant and the waitress flipped her lid, haha. Lesson learned. But also didn’t know it was a thing in the USA. Most waiters here just assume it’s split! Goddammit! I’m broke as fuck people! I don’t even order food I like, just whatever is the cheapest.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      hear hear!!!!!!!!!
      I’m always shocked when servers seem appalled that I’ve asked them to split the bill and they ask like it is the most impossible thing to do in in the whole world.
      If there is the odd restaurant here that won’t split the bill they literally have a sign in the window saying “No split cheques” and you rarely rarely see that but they know good enough that everyone wants to pay separate elsewhere :)

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