Separate checks

Old Feb 18th, 2014, 04:16 AM
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What do the traveling companions drink other than wine? Hard alcohol is part of aperitivo or after dinner, but not customary to have with a proper restaurant meal.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 04:23 AM
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I remember sitting in a restaurant in Gran Canaria and watching a large group of German diners being given their separate bills - in German! I would think as others have mentioned that they would have warned the staff beforehand that they wanted to do this.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 04:37 AM
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>>All self-respecting businesses should refuse to be intimidated by "customers" who want their indulgences pandered to at the expense of looking after real clients.<<

LOL. Separate checks = "pampered indulgences." Weird.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 04:51 AM
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I think your sister is traveling with the wrong people, frankly.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 04:55 AM
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^^^"We often dine with friends who drink wine, and we don't. Also, my husband and I usually split a second course, and I often have an appetizer instead of first course. We always divide the bill equally anyway. Call it the price of friendship."

please tell me your friends do something to compensate for this - otherwise I'd call it something else entirely.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 05:36 AM
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Thank you again for your observations and advice.

My sister, as does my mother, live in retirement communities. If Margaret Mead was alive today, she need not go to Somoa but to these developments for a study. The interactions, the developed behaviors, and the relationships are different than in our areas. They take with them these characteristics when they leave the confines. And although I have politely warned her of the perils of traveling with others, she is very much a social animal, who relishes these things.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 06:01 AM
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Businesses (self-respecting and otherwise) need to remember that the customers are the reason they can stay in business at all. While the customer obviously is not always right, he/she/they are paying your salary and helping insure that the bottom line is written in black ink. I have recently encountered so-called service people who don't seem to realize that I and others like me are the source of their income.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 06:25 AM
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Jaja, you must be a fellow American!

You are of course right at some level but if you go to Europe with this attitude, you will have a miserable time.

My favorite experience was in an Asian restaurant in France that would not serve two certain appetizers to a couple " because they don't go together." In the US the waitstaff would give them what they want, then go back in the kitchen and have a good laugh with the line cooks about what barbarians they are. But in France, many restaurants and even cafes have integrity. This, they say, is how we do it, and if you don't like it, feel free to go elsewhere.

It is really like going to someone's home for dinner. Unless you have real allergies, you eat what they put before you with thankfulness for their time and kindness, even if it is something horrible like beets or lentils. No, no, I jest.

I appreciate professional service, and in the US I have given 1 cent tips twice, just so the server knew I hadn't forgotten them or what they had done. Yes, I told them why. But you don't really tip in Europe anyway, so there really isn't any way to retaliate without staying home, which is probably a good idea.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 06:37 AM
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It is universal. There is an Italian restaurant in the East Village in NYC that must be run by Mussolini's grand daughters. They will not permit cheese on fish, they will not bring bread until the entree is served, if your party is not complete you must wait outside even if there is a snow storm or pestilence. We have not been in there in over 10 years even the food is good and reasonably priced.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 07:14 AM
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Quote <b>IMDonehere</b>: <i>"There is an Italian restaurant in the East Village in NYC that must be run by Mussolini's grand daughters. They will not permit cheese on fish..."</i>

And quite right too! With the notable exception of a haddock or cod mornay when would it be otherwise?

Though to be honest I really fail to understand the American fascination for cheese on all things, almost to the point of no exception.

Dr D.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 07:33 AM
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Yes Americans should be shot or hung for their undue addiction to cheese.

I hope you are not British with all all their various food fetishes that are cooked versions of Ipecac?
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 07:51 AM
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jaja: >><i>Businesses (self-respecting and otherwise) need to remember that the customers are the reason they can stay in business at all. While the customer obviously is not always right, he/she/they are paying your salary and helping insure that the bottom line is written in black ink. I have recently encountered so-called service people who don't seem to realize that I and others like me are the source of their income.</i><<

When you visit other countries I certainly hope you follow the customs there and not insist 'they need to do it just like at home'. Separate checks are more 'normal' in the States and in some restaurants they will even ask if that is what you want before you order. This is NOT the norm in Europe so you can't expect them to do it. Their POS systems are not set up to produce 4 bills for one party. It wouldn't cross their mind to do this. They aren't being rude or giving bad service - they are doing what is expected/normal.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 08:08 AM
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I've never seen it in Italy or the UK
Call me a horrible old snob, but I hate that scratching about with pennies. "Nellie had wine". "Oh, but I didn't have a pudding".
If people started making a great fuss asking for separate bills, I'd want to sink through the floor. Divide the bill equally, then if you must, take it back to the hotel and fight it out there
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 08:12 AM
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You would never be offered cheese with fish in Italy, although if you asked for it, they would probably bring it. I wouldn't dream of trying.

NYSE, what's wrong with splitting a bill six or eight ways when the orders aren't equal? They would be just as happy to split it if we had ordered more than they did. Here in Italy, or at least in our circles, people almost always split the bill regardless of who ordered what. Wine isn't terribly expensive in Italy anyway, and most people order the house wine. Sometimes one person says, "This isn't fair, I ordered something expensive.", but the others usually shoot that protest down.

If the restaurant is closer to their house than ours, should we ask them to contribute to the fuel cost?
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 08:17 AM
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We travel with a common kitty which is held by one person and fed as the holder tells us that it is getting low--everyone puts the same amount in it. Rather than give the waiters a headache, pay a single combined bill but have the drinkers keep track of the cost of their drinks to be settled afterwards by feeding the kitty what the drinkers owe.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 08:19 AM
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>>but if you go to Europe with this attitude, you will have a miserable time. <<
Been to Europe many times with that "attitude" and have had great times.

>>This, they say, is how we do it, and if you don't like it, feel free to go elsewhere.<<
And I am in full agreement with such establishments. I am fully open to recommendations re food combinations. Fiats? No.

>>It is really like going to someone's home for dinner.<<
No, it's not. And I agree that when someone serves you a meal in their home, you should praise and devour it. In a restaurant where you're paying for the meal? C'mon. You're kidding, right?

>> But you don't really tip in Europe anyway, so there really isn't any way to retaliate without staying home, which is probably a good idea.<<
Right. Because the choices are so limited. I don't expect perfection or that the place will meet my every need. I do expect to be respected as a customer, just as I respect the staff at the restaurant.

>>Though to be honest I really fail to understand the American fascination for cheese on all things, almost to the point of no exception.<<
It's a legacy from the American Revolution, when colonists believed it would repel Brits.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 08:23 AM
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Exactly. With friends who regularly eat out together, it tends to even out anyway. What does it matter if you overpay your share one evening. We're usually not talking about huge sums
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 09:21 AM
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<i><font color=#555555>"why should wait staff have to deal with 4 different credit cards - making change 4 times?"</font></i>

The word is <b>service</b>. If you don't know how to define customer service, then you should not own or work in a service business.

<i><font color=#555555>"people are even now being gauche in NYC regarding splitting bills. This is becoming in business due to financial constraint and the disproportionate amount of authority given to the rice and bean counters."</font></i>

Say what?

There are plenty of very good reasons why four (or more) people dining together might want or need separate checks. Not every person dining in a restaurant is a tourist on vacation with (cheap) friends.

There are thousands of corporate business travelers who are required to "front" their business expenses. And I'm not just talking about low-level employees. I know plenty of senior executives in "big" business who don't get expense accounts. In order to get reimbursed for food expense on the road, a receipt is required. If you are self-employed, you need the dining receipt in order to take the tax deduction. Why should four individuals attending the same conference, workshop, or symposium sit at individual tables just to get their own receipt? It makes absolutely no sense to me why a restaurant wouldn't fully understand this simple need of many customers.

<i><font color=#555555>"Italians would consider it a huge inconvenience and probably let you know that."</font></i>

I've been to many business meals in Italy, and I've never experienced a problem requesting individual receipts. Italian restaurant owners understand the specific receipt needs of its business customers, local or international. There are plenty of rude waiters in the world. That's a separate issue.

<i><font color=#555555>"But I agree that you should ask first. And here's my advice if the wait person makes a big deal about it: leave."</font></i>

Exactly right. State your receipt needs up front and be clear. If a waiter turns rude, leave.

<i><font color=#555555>"And here's my advice. If a customer makes an unreasonable request,politely surcharge him."</font></i>

In the service business, there should be no need to charge extra for providing a simple, much-needed service, unless you wish to show disdain for a certain kind of customer. If showing disdain to certain customers is your business MO, good luck with that.

<i><font color=#555555>"All self-respecting businesses should refuse to be intimidated by "customers" who want their indulgences pandered to"</font></i>

Again, the need for a receipt for many travelers has absolutely nothing to do with self-indulgence. Some of you posters possess of a very narrow-minded view of travel. This thread reveals plenty of narrow minds.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 09:25 AM
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I understand each person wanting to pay only their own share of the bill. They simply need to learn to do the math (with calculator, one person designated as banker, each person adds up their own when they order, any of those would work).


<It seems the other women drink more than wine.> good luck with that. I found hard-liquor cocktails are a lot less common in Europe than the US.
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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 09:30 AM
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There's a bit of bull puffery going on in this thread.

Waitstaff in Europe can be a bit more authoritarian than in the US, where waiters and waitresses depend on tips.

We've been told in Rome, "no cheese for you," which we still laugh about, and in Paris, "no, in France you can't have your steak like that," when I asked for it to be just a little more cooked than rare. I've also had a waiter in Rome huff at me when I asked for aceto rosso instead of the aceto bianco he had plunked on the table.
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