Monday, January 16, 2012

Who Is Paying For the Meal?

It is great to hang out and eat out with your friends once in a while. It not only helps to relax by recalling many fond memories but also you could discuss many of the favorite topics with them. Once you get together in a nice restaurant and enjoy a lovely meal in one of these exotic settings, the question arises who is responsible for the check? I know it seems lowly and cheap to even discuss this issue. But I think someone should dare to break down this social taboo to make things simpler and understandable for everyone. 

There are instances in which it is quite obvious who should be responsible for the bill. Sometimes, who invites everybody for a specific reason, like a birthday or any other purpose, will take the lead. Also, in our culture the most senior person, either in a title or a position, will take the responsibility. However, when you are with friends and all of you are on equal social footing and all, doesn’t it seem odd that once everybody has eaten and savored their meal, some people are hoping that someone else will pay the bill? Yea, yea, yea, I know people would say, “What kind of a person would do that?” But deep inside ask yourself this question, “Did I or didn’t I?”

In some cases, someone becomes more responsible than others. This means, he would pay much more than others. This also means that if everybody else pays more, someone would also go scot free; means pay nothing for his meal. And in some instances, when the bill comes, some people would find an excuse to visit the rest room or get the most important phone call on their cell. Also, if nobody knows who would be footing the bill and how much, when the check arrives, someone would seem concerned for paying the bill and asking everybody else to chip in and some would even seem oblivious to who would be paying, after enjoying such a great meal. Also, in some cases, it seems that the same person is paying for everybody’s meal all the time. That is just not reasonable. 

So that is exactly that I would like to discuss, that there should be some ground rules for all these get togethers. Everybody should know who would be paying for the meal. I think for these general outings, it should be the Dutch system. That everybody pays for their orders. That way people should be responsible for what they eat. And do not order more than they would eat. The second option could be that everybody in the group should take turn. This could be a little unjust, but still better than not paying or paying for everyone’s food all the time. 

I know some people would say that who cares for these things among friends. That is a pretty valid question. But I know if these small things are not considered early on, they would result in bigger problems and people would become disillusioned and stay away from these friendly get together. Everybody should be made aware of the situation. That way, if they can afford to eat in that restaurant and be part of the group, they would come and if they can’t, they wouldn’t, without hurting anybody’s feelings.

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