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What is the arrangement for bill-splitting? Whenever we go out as a group, there’s always someone who orders up big and then we pay for it. What is the delicate way to arrange this?
Miss JV, Tea Gardens
This is a fraught situation, Miss JV. People fall into all sorts of categories when it comes to dining out.
We all know the hand-sitters. When the time comes to pay, these types literally sit on their hand, perhaps concerned that their appendage will take on a mind of its own and try to offer some money towards the meal.
One step up from the hand-sitters, are the wallet openers. They open and close their wallets as though this equates to getting out some cold, hard cash, but they pause long enough for someone else to say, “Hey, I’ve got this.”
Then we have the faulty-carders. They flash around their credit card, and then realise it has expired. “I’ll get it next time,” they offer, as you go to the teller to withdraw more money and wonder why you didn’t stay home and watch Netflix.
How about the couples who order delicacies for their child? Yep, because we all know how much kids love deep-fried coconut prawns. The little treasure will just push around their rice, add a bit of slobber, make the meal inedible, and then you’ll end up paying for it.
But wait, there’s more. We can’t forget the couples who forget to bring any wine, but are incredibly grateful that you are happy to share the $80 bottle of plonk you’ve been saving for a special occasion.
And hey, since you’ve only managed one glass (they are fast drinkers) you may as well be the designated driver.
It’s a win-win!
Finally, who can forget the hair-finder. Yep, this person will happily devour their entire meal, but on the last piece of lettuce, they’ll find a hair, probably their own, and then make a scene in front of the poor wait staff who earn $8 an hour for the privilege of serving people tighter than a fish’s . . . let’s just go with a fish’s mouth.
So there you have it.
To avoid these scenarios, I would suggest avoiding people at all costs, but if you must dine out, go to one of those places where you place your order at the counter.
Arrive early and never, under any circumstances, be the last one standing.
Sometimes you have to beat people at their own miserable game.