Let’s say you arrive late to a party at a restaurant. The party goers have been eating appetizers and drinking beer and cocktails. You arrive too late to eat any appetizers, but you could definitely order a drink or two if you were in the mood. You decide not to drink, because you drove into the city and you know you’ll be driving back home shortly.
The waitress comes around to take every one’s order. Seven of the eight party goers order dinner, including yourself. You and another guest order sushi, nothing big, and not very expensive. You’ve snacked before heading out to the restaurant and you just aren’t hungry enough to order a large and expensive meal. Despite the lack of appetite you manage to make a dent in your sushi and enjoy a very tasty meal with very good company.
Now the check arrives. You haven’t had anything to drink other than water and you’ve eaten a relatively inexpensive meal, but with the addition of the drinks and appetizers from the other party goers the bill is quite large. You fully expect everyone to split the cost of the birthday girl’s dinner and drinks, but what should you do about the overall bill?
Should you split the check among the remaining guests, not including the birthday girl? What about the party goer who never ordered dinner? Maybe he drank a beer or two or snacked on an appetizer, but should he really be expected to split the bill equally?
What about you, you arrived late and only ate a small dinner, should you be expected to pay for the food and drinks other people enjoyed? Would it bother you to split the check? Do you think you should only have to pay for the food and drinks you ordered? Remember, no one wants to make a big scene at a friend’s birthday party. You’ve had a great time visiting with friends, but now everyone is clearly uncomfortable with the situation, so what should you do?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. If you were in this situation what would you do?
* I don’t want to skew your thoughts, so I’ll let you know what I think of the situation and what I did after I read your comments.