How do you splt the bill?

Sep 4th, 2007, 09:55 AM
  #21  
 
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Be prepared to carry cash for meals and do the math. It takes very little effort for the mathematically minded to calculate the cost for each couple but as others have suggested do this when you order (not at the end after a few bottles of wine!)

If agreed beforehand then this should avoid any hard feelings.

I really like bob's idea to assign each person a job.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 09:57 AM
  #22  
 
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Separate checks are extremely common in France and most definitely in Paris, where apartments are often too small to invite your friends for a dinner party -- so Parisian friends eat out very often and each person or couple pays for his own items. As a courtesy to the waiter, it is a good idea to mention this right from the start when ordering -- then he will note the items separately. If a bottle of wine is ordered, generally one person offers to pay for it. "Vous mettez ça sur ma note."
kerouac is online now  
Sep 4th, 2007, 09:57 AM
  #23  
 
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I think dandj's suggestion is the simplest of all. Just order one couple at a time and ask the waiter to consider each one as a separate order. It is no more work for the waiter than if you were sitting at three different tables. Anything else is going to create a headache or hard feelings.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 10:05 AM
  #24  
 
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RPOWELL...I understand your position all too well. I've experienced many business meals in Italy where most would order $50 worth of food and wine and there I sit with my $7 pizza margarita and water...hell no I'm not splitting up the check evenly, especially when this is every night on a one or two week business trip...but I digress here.

Your friendship with the other couple (and keeping that running smoothly during your trip) is much more important than what a few waiters think. Just be polite, ask for two checks and then tip them well for their time.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 10:26 AM
  #25  
MaureenB
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If you get separate checks, how do you split the cost of a bottle of wine? I personally would go with the idea of one person serving as the trip's accountant, or each couple keeping a tab to settle up with others. In our experience, it kills the buzz at the end of the dinner when you have to do math and make sure no one gets short-changed. And when people are supposed to chip in what they owe at the end of dinner, in our experience the kitty always comes up short, and someone ends up paying the extra just to get it settled.
>-
 
Sep 4th, 2007, 10:32 AM
  #26  
 
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A lot of people (particularly Americans) are mathematically illiterate. The idea that they can't add IN THEIR HEADS a few numbers together in a few seconds is really bizarre. I never go out with people who are too mathematically challenged that they can't do that and need to pull out paper and pencil or a calculator and think the whole idea is so cumbersome. That's really too much. I always find it interesting the people on Fodors who can't add to make others they go out with split the check rather than each person paying what they really owe. I don't go out with any friends (single or couples) who do that. I find it an offensive idea myself, and would be annoyed at anyone who said let's just split the check when I went out with them just because they couldn't add.
Christina is online now  
Sep 4th, 2007, 10:34 AM
  #27  
 
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Well that's good Christina...don't think I'd like going out w/ you either.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 10:36 AM
  #28  
 
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How do you split the cost of a bottle of wine? YOu look at the cost and divide it by 2 or 3 in your head, what else, and put it that amount. This is really not astrophysics. People do not have to figure this out in their head to the penny, you round numbers, it's not really difficult (ie, 11.74 is $12; a $20 bottle of wine used by 2 couples is $10 per couple, etc.), as you also have a round some for the tip.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 10:39 AM
  #29  
 
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I agree that people should only pay for what they eat...and not pay for other's food.

I disagree that it's easy to do in your head. For very basic meals you are right...but late at night, when you don't speak the language and you're tired it just doesn't seem to be as easy as you imply. I'm relaxing here...don't want homework
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Sep 4th, 2007, 10:39 AM
  #30  
 
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I worked with a guy who had a notice to the other participants at the meal. He said "We're going to split this bill and each of us will pay a portion. Knowing your going to pay a full share, enjoy and have a good meal. I plan on eating everything I want, we're going to have wine and some drinks after the meal. Now, order your meal."

I always loved the face of the other participants. This was in Spain and the meal can be ruined if we're arguing about the bill.

Blackduff
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Sep 4th, 2007, 10:41 AM
  #31  
 
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Have the wine by glass.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 10:43 AM
  #32  
 
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One more small item about bills.

I was in a bar with two other people. I drank a glass of wine, one of the others had wine too. The third person ordered a Coke.

The person with the Coke mentioned that he hates to subsidize alcohol. He's religious and this was against his principles. I asked the waiter how much it costs for the glass of wine and how much does it cost for the Coke. Of course, the Coke was more expensive.

So, sharing a meal sometimes cost more if one or two are drinking Cokes.

Blackduff
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Sep 4th, 2007, 10:47 AM
  #33  
 
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Blackduff

Wow...who died and made him king? I'd hand him the $$ for what I ate and walk out the door.

I'm always amazed at the attitude that I can sit and eat all I want and you're going to pay for it. Of course as a non drinking vegetarian this would screw me every time. Silly idea.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 11:22 AM
  #34  
MaureenB
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That's uncharacteristically offensive of you, Christina, to say that Americans are math-illiterates. I run my own business, have managed corporate multi-millions, and can do math just fine. I"ll bet most posters can easily do math in their head.

BUT, that's not the point-- because doing math at the dinner table is inappropriate and a sure party-killer when three couples simply want to relax and enjoy a meal together,
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Sep 4th, 2007, 11:49 AM
  #35  
 
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How is it a party killer to say, 'Right that's 20 Euro's each for the non-drinkers and 25 for those who had booze'.

To be honest, as a rule we usually split the bill equally and don't quibble over who had the most expensive starter, who didn't have coffee etc etc - BUT if there was a big discrepancy, due to some people having pricy wine, cocktails etc versus non-drinkers, I don't think any of my friends would object to an unequal split. And as Christine says, one mathematically adept person doing a quick tot up in their head shouldn't start World War III !
8-)
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Sep 4th, 2007, 12:37 PM
  #36  
 
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I'm shocked that it's a big deal for someone to 'quietly' figure out the bill and let everyone know what they owe. I'm not suggesting a free for all where everyone is arguing, grabbing for the bill, moaning, shaking their fists, threatening to beat someone up. It's - 'Susan, you and Bill owe $30, Mike and Anna, $25.' That takes, what?, 10 seconds tops. Seems a fairly fragile group 'mood' if it can be ruined by nothing more than that.

After reading some of the earlier responses, I'm glad I hang out with the group I do, we may not eat the same way but we are a lot more relaxed about what really matters in life.

Now, I do agree, it's a party-killer to actually pay some of the exorbitant prices restaurants charge but that's enough matter. In my world, what you eat or drink, you pay for.

I suspect most of the people who want to split the bill are a) the ones with the most money who can't fathom that other people may not have the same amount to throw about or who are so deeply in debt they don't care or b) the ones who eat and drink the most. It would be interesting to hear from the people who regularly have to subsidize others and honestly don't mind.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 01:02 PM
  #37  
Jed
 
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One problem with figuring out how much each couple owes at the table is when each wants to pay with a credit card. How do you hand 3 CC's to the waiter, and say, this one is charged $43, this one $55, and this one $62.66 (since the total bill usually ends in cents)?

Should one CC be submitted, and the rest pay cash to the main CC? Is that fair?

If the bill is not split evenly, then it seems to me that separate bills are more understandable to the waiter.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 01:13 PM
  #38  
 
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There are now two threads perpetuating the myth that its not possible to split one bill across several credit cards - or that it's not 'acceptable/common' outside the US.

We do it all the time in the UK (whether the bill is being divided equally or not!) and I've done it in every European country I've visted with no problems at all.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 01:19 PM
  #39  
 
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RickMav

You are right...if it can be done in 10 seconds then I'm happy to do it. The problem for me is that it always seems more complicated than that. The bill for 4 comes with a list of about 15 items on it usually in some type of shorthand that seems to make no sense (especially since it's in a foreign language) and we all have to huddle around the bill for a while just to figure out who got what and how much it costs.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 01:39 PM
  #40  
 
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When we dine with my brother & sister-in-law, we laugh about who uses the credit card! We both have cards with travel points. The funeral director even agreed to let us split the bill for our Mom's funeral! Believe me, she would have gotten (& I believe she did) a big kick out of that!

So, credit card use among friends would be easy for us - take turns while mentally approximating equal share.

To us - non-drinkers/inexpensive eaters, it is not a big deal to mentally figure how much we owe for a meal. Unless we are "treating", we never agree to divide the bill - we would always lose.

Julie
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