Splitting the bill

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  • olgadapolga
    olgadapolga Posts: 2,273 Forumite
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    edited 29 October 2023 at 8:54AM
    sheramber said:

    That is fine if is an acceptable arrangement to both parties.

    But not if it wasn't previously arranged and you turned up and unexpectedly were told you had to pay  for your dinner.

    But then I would not invite someone for a meal and then give them a takeaway unless it was already arranged within the invitation.
     

    This happened to me. DH and I were invited to a (whom I considered to be a longstanding and close) friend's home for a meal. When we got there, the friend plus her husband said that they'd decided that we'd go to a local pub instead. Okay, fine, but I was still expecting them to pay for the meal (if I'd invited someone to dinner, then I'd expect to foot the bill, regardless of where the meal was). We got to the pub and the husband just vanished, leaving us with my friend. He reappeared a few minutes later with a drink and said that he'd ordered and paid for HIS meal. Didn't ask us what we wanted, nor what his wife wanted! My friend then went and ordered her drink and food and left us to our own devices. 

    The way I look at it is that if I invite someone for a meal, I pay for it, regardless of what or where it is. 

    Another friend and I had an arrangement whereby we met on a semi-regular basis and took turns to foot the bill.

    The worst invitation I had was from my adult daughter. It was my son's birthday and I couldn't afford to take the whole family out for dinner so I was going to cook at home, food that my son would enjoy. My daughter offered to pay as a treat. We sat down, ordered (being mindful of prices as someone else was paying) and then my daughter decided that she wasn't going to pay after all, on the basis that it would become a precedent for other birthdays. I ended up footing the bill. I didn't enjoy that meal. It left a decidedly bitter taste in my mouth. However, she's forgiven as life is too short and she's redeemed herself as she occasionally foots the bill for a takeaway for the whole family.
  • Pollycat said:
    I'm a pensioner and have never been to someone else's house for a takeaway and have never invited anyone to ours to have one.

    I have done both.

    Not sure if it means anything though ;)
    Things that are differerent: draw & drawer, brought & bought, loose & lose, dose & does, payed & paid


  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,651 Forumite
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    I think regardless of what 'etiquette' says, how the bill is going to be paid should be agreed before anything is ordered.
    And once you agree to pay, it's incredibly rude to renege on that after ordering and eating.


  • Kirkmain
    Kirkmain Posts: 142 Forumite
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    Interesting discussion. And thanks to whichever admin promoted this to the home page of MSE with a photo to suit!
  • sheramber said:

    That is fine if is an acceptable arrangement to both parties.

    But not if it wasn't previously arranged and you turned up and unexpectedly were told you had to pay  for your dinner.

    But then I would not invite someone for a meal and then give them a takeaway unless it was already arranged within the invitation.
     

    This happened to me. DH and I were invited to a (whom I considered to be a longstanding and close) friend's home for a meal. When we got there, the friend plus her husband said that they'd decided that we'd go to a local pub instead. Okay, fine, but I was still expecting them to pay for the meal (if I'd invited someone to dinner, then I'd expect to foot the bill, regardless of where the meal was). We got to the pub and the husband just vanished, leaving us with my friend. He reappeared a few minutes later with a drink and said that he'd ordered and paid for HIS meal. Didn't ask us what we wanted, nor what his wife wanted! My friend then went and ordered her drink and food and left us to our own devices. 

    Taken in isolation, this would appear to be very self-centred behaviour. Did your friends make no attempt to make this arrangement clear from the outset? Could they have been making a point in response to feeling that they had somehow been taken advantage of previously? I'm interested in how this friendship progressed from this point forward.

    I have an aunt who is always out for herself (adult family likewise), I keep away from her but my parents tolerate her. Its routine for my dad to foot the bill when they go out - the whole family orders like mad, and drinks what they like, in the quantity they like etc. Dad is happy with that as he likes to see his family content. One the rare occasion they return the treat for my parents, the DIL will brief them in advance "Mummy says we're not eating X, Y and Z today" citing religious reasons and they will somehow end up ordering the equivalent of meal for 3 for a party of 7 adults. They come away from the meal having eaten a spoonful of whatever is ordered and hungry, mum is seething and dad embarrassed. Said aunt is wealthy but inherently mean and unlikely to change at her age. 


    No man is worth crawling on this earth.

    So much to read, so little time.
  • olgadapolga
    olgadapolga Posts: 2,273 Forumite
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    edited 29 October 2023 at 1:31PM
    sheramber said:

    That is fine if is an acceptable arrangement to both parties.

    But not if it wasn't previously arranged and you turned up and unexpectedly were told you had to pay  for your dinner.

    But then I would not invite someone for a meal and then give them a takeaway unless it was already arranged within the invitation.
     

    This happened to me. DH and I were invited to a (whom I considered to be a longstanding and close) friend's home for a meal. When we got there, the friend plus her husband said that they'd decided that we'd go to a local pub instead. Okay, fine, but I was still expecting them to pay for the meal (if I'd invited someone to dinner, then I'd expect to foot the bill, regardless of where the meal was). We got to the pub and the husband just vanished, leaving us with my friend. He reappeared a few minutes later with a drink and said that he'd ordered and paid for HIS meal. Didn't ask us what we wanted, nor what his wife wanted! My friend then went and ordered her drink and food and left us to our own devices. 

    Taken in isolation, this would appear to be very self-centred behaviour. Did your friends make no attempt to make this arrangement clear from the outset? Could they have been making a point in response to feeling that they had somehow been taken advantage of previously? I'm interested in how this friendship progressed from this point forward.
    We'd never been to their home before this occasion. Nor had we eaten with them anywhere as couples apart from at each other's weddings. In fact, I think that my friend had only been with her husband (then boyfriend) for a couple of months before I was married. There's no way that they could possibly have believed that they had been taken advantage of. I think that perhaps it was just how her husband was/is, as my friend was certainly not like that when we were teenagers or indeed before she married.

    My friend and her husband (who, to be fair, we hardly knew as they met and got married very rapidly, added to the fact that they lived a couple of hours' drive from us so we mainly kept in touch via phone/email) did not say that we would have to buy our own meals. As far as we knew, the tab was on them.

    The friendship did continue, remotely. They attended our children's christenings, they visited us when seeing her parents (who lived in the same town), phone calls, emails, cards, etc. These days it is essentially nonexistent. We have all moved on, life got in the way, children, etc.
  • sheramber said:

    That is fine if is an acceptable arrangement to both parties.

    But not if it wasn't previously arranged and you turned up and unexpectedly were told you had to pay  for your dinner.

    But then I would not invite someone for a meal and then give them a takeaway unless it was already arranged within the invitation.
     

    This happened to me. DH and I were invited to a (whom I considered to be a longstanding and close) friend's home for a meal. When we got there, the friend plus her husband said that they'd decided that we'd go to a local pub instead. Okay, fine, but I was still expecting them to pay for the meal (if I'd invited someone to dinner, then I'd expect to foot the bill, regardless of where the meal was). We got to the pub and the husband just vanished, leaving us with my friend. He reappeared a few minutes later with a drink and said that he'd ordered and paid for HIS meal. Didn't ask us what we wanted, nor what his wife wanted! My friend then went and ordered her drink and food and left us to our own devices. 

    Taken in isolation, this would appear to be very self-centred behaviour. Did your friends make no attempt to make this arrangement clear from the outset? Could they have been making a point in response to feeling that they had somehow been taken advantage of previously? I'm interested in how this friendship progressed from this point forward.
    We'd never been to their home before this occasion. Nor had we eaten with them anywhere as couples apart from at each other's weddings. In fact, I think that my friend had only been with her husband (then boyfriend) for a couple of months before I was married. There's no way that they could possibly have believed that they had been taken advantage of. I think that perhaps it was just how her husband was/is, as my friend was certainly not like that when we were teenagers or indeed before she married.

    My friend and her husband (who, to be fair, we hardly knew as they met and got married very rapidly, added to the fact that they lived a couple of hours' drive from us so we mainly kept in touch via phone/email) did not say that we would have to buy our own meals. As far as we knew, the tab was on them.

    The friendship did continue, remotely. They attended our children's christenings, they visited us when seeing her parents (who lived in the same town), phone calls, emails, cards, etc. These days it is essentially nonexistent. We have all moved on, life got in the way, children, etc.
    The husband sounds selfish then, your friend may have been highly embarrassed by his behaviour!
    No man is worth crawling on this earth.

    So much to read, so little time.
  • Malthusian
    Malthusian Posts: 10,931 Forumite
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    This happened to me. DH and I were invited to a (whom I considered to be a longstanding and close) friend's home for a meal. When we got there, the friend plus her husband said that they'd decided that we'd go to a local pub instead. Okay, fine, but I was still expecting them to pay for the meal (if I'd invited someone to dinner, then I'd expect to foot the bill, regardless of where the meal was). We got to the pub and the husband just vanished, leaving us with my friend. He reappeared a few minutes later with a drink and said that he'd ordered and paid for HIS meal. Didn't ask us what we wanted, nor what his wife wanted! My friend then went and ordered her drink and food and left us to our own devices. 
    I would never in a million years have expected the friends to pay for our meal in that scenario. Yes, it's slightly off-putting to be told only on arrival that they've changed the plan to going to a pub. I still wouldn't be going "Do I still get my free food?" 

    Let's flip the scenario on its head: suppose DW and I go to a restaurant with some good friends, and split the bill between us as would be the default. The friends then suggest going back to theirs for a few drinks. A few home-made martinis and a bowl of crisps later they hand us a bill for £45.

    Nothing wrong with that, you say. The night started with the expectation that we would be bearing the cost of our  own food and drink, therefore that expectation remains in force even after a change of venue from restaurant to home. 

    The husband going to the bar first and leaving his wife to order her own has nothing to do with it. It's inefficient, sure, but maybe she got sick of him mucking up her order. That's entirely between them and has nothing to do with the question of whether they owed you a free meal. 
  • Best solution is to go to Wetherspoons and order and pay individually using their app.

    Restaurants need to offer to run bills per diner rather than per table to avoid exactly the problem described by lots of people here.
    Proud member of the wokerati, though I don't eat tofu.Home is where my books are.Solar PV 5.2kWp system, SE facing, >1% shading, installed March 2019.Mortgage free July 2023
  • MeteredOut
    MeteredOut Posts: 1,290 Forumite
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    Restaurants need to offer to run bills per diner rather than per table to avoid exactly the problem described by lots of people here.
    My pet peeve is when we used to organise family get togethers, where everyone in the family from around the country get together once a year, so perhaps 30+ people including kids. 

    Due the different house sizes (some singletons, some with 3 kids) it was agreed that every household would pay their own way, but it'd not be fair to have the restaurant produce 10+ bills.

    So, we trusted people to put in what the spent and we'd settle the bill.

    Ultimately, it would end up £20-30 short as people forgot that wee Jimmy ordered another couple of diet cokes, and, of course, they'd forget the service charge that is added for a larger group (despite being reminded).

    In the end, its not worth trying to get it sorted out (what did you order, what did you pay, who ordered that G&T etc), so we just paid the extra. 

    We did this a couple of times and have now left it for someone else to organise. 
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