Ask the Bartender: The Bill and Not Share and Sharing Alike

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It's that time of week when we answer the questions you're to drunk or shy to ask...This question comes from Terra:

I took a pay cut at my job recently and have less cash to go out with. How do I handle only paying for what I ate and drank at a bar or restaurant if my friends are ordering $15 scotch while I nurse a few beers? They always want to "just split it," but then I get screwed.

It seems like half the questions I get asked can be answered, at least partially, with a simple "Speak the fuck up." Oh Brian, you're assuming that people think, and I can assure you that this is rarely the case. Most people don't pay any attention when the bill comes, not to who had what and certainly not to who drank the bottle of Prosecco and who didn't. Especially after a few round of drinks. I don't understand why this is so hard for you.

So many times I've come to collect a bill, and I could feel the tension steaming off people. Of course, you can start your own tab at the bar or with the waitress. Instead of being so sensitive or silently whining about overpaying, be proactive.

If these are your friends, why can't you simply say, "Sorry guys, but you lapped me with that Scotch, here's for my beers." This happened just the other day to me. At lunch, I had soup and a beer, and my friends each had entrees that were twice the cost of my soup, and wine that was twice the cost of my beer. No way was I splitting the check three ways. Just before I said something, my friend Lisa realized it, and all was well. No big deal.

Sorry, timz iz hard, people. I don't have any difficulty going out and eating on the cheap, and doing it on the sly. Carrying cash can solve the problem. Being aware of what you've ordered when the bill comes helps. Having the sense god gave a goat to know that you have to add BOTH tip and tax also helps because if you don't want to foot the bill for the more extravagant tastes of your friends, you're going to have to do the math. Not an Einstein? Move the decimal over one place add that to your total. Tax on food and beverage amounts to nearly 10% in Seattle. Double that amount and add that as the tip. Why is this so hard?

Remember also this rule of thumb: If you put it in your mouth, you throw in on it. You don't want to be that guy. So if you're really trying to save money, "just one bite" of your friends' appetizer doesn't cut it. If you have one corn chip off that nacho platter, you contribute.

 
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