How do you splt the bill?

Sep 6th, 2007, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,389
While we always split the bill evenly with friends, we all average out the same cost. If not one time, the next time will probably average it out. But some of you are missing the point. The very first post made something clear. These people are not going to spend "approximately" the same. One doesn't drink alcohol and one eats very little. Are you saying you don't understand why on an entire trip, the guy who spends $20 per meal wouldn't mind just splitting the bill every night with the ones who spend $45 each?

In some situations, the ones who spend a lot more could just throw in some extra money to make up the difference, but I agree that if there are "likely" to be sensitive people involved, just getting separate checks is the most logical thing to do.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 08:40 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 489
It's really very understandable to split the bill and between friends you find the best way to do so.
But i don't find it necessary to ask the waiter to split the bill for you. I mean you're on holiday.. you can always take the bill with you and settle it later with your friends at your own pace.
cristine27 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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Sarvowinner's point is excellent. If the kitchen gets confused, and the orders arrive separately, that would not be a fun dinner.

It seems that posts like this one-- having to do with money-- always get contentious and subsequently off-point. For instance, I once inadvertently started a war when I posted a question about tipping in Europe. I wonder if it's because of cultural differences re: money.

Anyway, I think the poster has now received several good suggestions.

Sep 6th, 2007, 05:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 332
Thanks for all the ideas and discussion. I'm going to show this thread to my friends to come up with a solution that will be best for us. I think separate checks is out. I like the idea of one couple paying and keeping a running total that is settled daily, weekly or whenever. I'll let you know what we decide. We leave in Oct.! Can't wait!
rpowell is offline  
Sep 7th, 2007, 03:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I used to live in Italy and can tell you that often the wine is the same price or even cheaper than coke or other soft drinks (esp if youre ordering wine by the carafe, not by bottle) So you may want to see how each meal goes rather than be too rigid. Why not establish a general rule, eg estbalish what people actually ate and pay accordingly.
Then for the rest, try to work out if its worth actually bothering to think about who has had what or not. You see that often just 1 dish of a steak in Italy can cost a lot more, than ,say a pasta starter followed by a pizza which tend to be a lot cheaper. I think that will bring the differences in price more than the alcohol or how much each person eats in terms of quantity. Play it by ear. You may also find at lunchtimes you go to 'pizza a taglio' (pizza by the slice) places and pay separately anyway.

have a lovely time - its a beautiful country.
traveller2007 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2007, 05:02 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,149
This is an incredible thread.

OK...go back and read all of suze's posts. She has the "little grey cells working and the common sense", as Hercule Poirot would say.

(For those of you who don't read Agatha Christie, I am sorry.)

It is so easy for each person (or couple) to keep track of what they ate or drank and put the cash in at the end. Taxes and gratuities can be agreed on by everyone, assuming you are all nice civilized people and, most of all, friends and trust each other.

If someone wants to put it on a credit card, for example for airline miles, then it gets more simple for the waitstaff...just give the cash to that person.

jtrandolph is offline  
Sep 7th, 2007, 10:08 PM
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WOW thanks for the compliment (i had a tough day today and now am feeling so much smarter again, practically brilliant)
suze is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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Re your high-spending clients: I'm guessing they think you not only have an expense account, but a bottomless one.

My suggestion is to stop thinking of these outings as quasi-social ones and treat them as professionally as if you were discussing the bill for your own services. Do not be seduced into the idea that you will somehow lose business if you keep a professional tone. So, up front, you acknowledge the good times that you've had together in the past and look forward to more in the future. But, alas - and you can be suitably regretful as you say this, so long as you stay firm - you have had a revision to your expense account. (We shall ignore the fact that you likely never had one in the first place - the real purpose of this announcement is to reset things onto a professional note.)

Bottom line - pun intended - you want to subtly but unmistakeably get the point across that your making a living isn't a social luxury, much less a mere social nicety. Be it your revenue or your expenses, you have to watch your bottom line.

The behaviour in the past and the expectations that you have unfortunately helped confirm by letting them set the terms of your business with them is not compatible with your bottom line. Even if you treat these outings as a kind of 'commission payment' to these people for acting as your referrals, you are still being perfectly professional in ascertaining that you pay what is reasonable in terms of 'commmission' and no more. Otherwise the whole point of their being referrals is going to be lost, as it seems you already have realized.

I would, therefore, worry less about the percentage of the given bill being paid, and think more in terms of what percentage of your revenue do you wish to consider as a 'referral commission'to them. Set a limit and stick to it: this means that you, not they, arrange the transportation and the meals, etc. If you can't do this, then stipulate up front at the time plans are made your limit. If these people are even partially your friends, then they will want you to succeed, and if they are even partially your business associates, they will know why you are doing it - even if they still try to improve their own bottom line at your expense.

Okay, that's my story, and I'll stick to it.... provided you think this could address your problem. On the other hand, maybe I haven't fully grasped your situation (which is perfectly possible, as it is a sensitive one...)
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,392
I think so much depends on WHO you are traveling with. We have traveled with couples where we just split the bill, no questions asked. We felt it worked out in the end. THEN a friend asked if she and her husband could join us for our next European trip. She is a good friend and I didn't feel I could say no, but I knew they were not financially in the same bracket as we are. SO, in order to discourage/educate I told her that we don't budget on these trips and made up a budget for them to look over based on what we normally spend so there would be no surprises. I thought that when they saw it they would back out. Nope. Plus, selfish me, was not willing to skimp and miss out on the joys of travel because they couldn't afford it. So off we went, but issues with costs did happen. (I heard mumblings of 'We can't afford to spend this much on food every day!!! even though it was actually under the budget I gave them AND we certainly don't spend lavishly. Pizza and a salad, hello?) AND since arriving home have heard grumblings about the big credit card bills coming in. Well, we did our good deed by taking them on their first trip to Europe but NEVER AGAIN...
rbnwdln is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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rbnwdln, I feel for you. Years ago we traveled to London with a group of friends (actually we were a theatre group performing in St. Albans for a week and "playing" the second week). One couple in particular kept whining about costs of everything. We'd find a place to eat and they didn't want to go in because it was too expensive. But the clincher was that everytime we did finally sit down to eat, each of them ordered three double whiskeys by the time we were done. Their drinks cost more than the full meals would have been at many places they wouldn't enter. And they bought things -- souvenirs for every relative and every acquaintance they've had since grade school I think. They had to buy an additional big suitcase to take it all home it. They had to spend over $1000 on "stuff". To this day they always say they don't know how we can travel in Europe -- because it's SO expensive there. I bet they spent more than we did that trip!
NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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Wow. I can't even have a meal with someone who is not eagerly willing to pay for my meal and vice versa, much less travel with them for extended periods of time. The times I have traveled with friends, we have simply tracked all bills and divided by the number of people at the end of the trip.

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