A woman has revealed to Mumsnet how she paid a hefty price for not speaking up when the time came to pay the bill after dining out with friends.
Paying up at a restaurant is often something of a social minefield. Some would suggest it’s better to simply split everything equally, but others might be keen to only foot the bill for what they have eaten and drunk.
Whatever your opinion on how it’s done, it’s fair to say that the diner who took to Mumsnet was probably justified in feeling a little short-changed.
The British woman, posting under the handle 2020too, explained how she and her husband recently went out for a meal with two other couples in their regular gathering.
“We really enjoy their company,” she explained.
The woman had an extra reason to be cheerful this time around though as her mother had “treated” her to a restaurant voucher for Christmas.
That, combined with the fact she gets a 33 percent discount at the restaurant they picked on account of where she worked, meant she was looking forward to “stretching the money further.”
During the meal, the woman said she mentioned she had received a voucher for use that night, while her fellow diners were already aware they would benefit from her 33 percent discount on the total amount.
However, when the final bill for about £450 ($600) came, she was dismayed at how the group ended up dividing it. Thanks to her discount, the total was £300, or £345 including a tip.
That should have amounted to £115 per couple, which including her voucher, would have left her and her husband with just £65 to pay. However, at that point, one of the other diners decided to apply the voucher to the total amount, meaning each couple paid £100.
So while everyone else at the meal ended up paying significantly less than expected, the woman herself ended up splashing out a lot more than she had planned.
Disappointed at herself for not being more assertive and speaking up, the woman wrote that she “won’t be addressing the issue” and plans on seeing the rest of the group again. Even so, her unhappiness with how things played out was tangible and, if the 237 comments posted by other users are anything to go by, she was right to feel aggrieved.
ZenNudist branded her fellow diners “s****y friends.” “The voucher was your money,” they added. “You should have spoken up at the time.”
Svara agreed, writing: “The other couples already benefited from the discount, the voucher was your present and should have been paid towards your share only.”
HunterHearstHelmsley called their actions “terrible” and asked: “Did any of them pay with cash they’d been given for Christmas? If they did, did they expect to share it?!” Lovemylittlebear agreed it was bizarre behavior. “Wow how rude of them that’s horrendous- I would never treat a friend like that!”
Waterrat, meanwhile, suggested it “would have been nicer to use the discount another time.” They wrote: “It seems a bit weird getting a personal large discount while others pay normally.”
Other users, like Tanaqui, seemed eager to give the other diners the benefit of the doubt. “If they are normally lovely people I expect they genuinely thought it was a discount type voucher and related to the total cost of the meal,” they said. “I expect they would be mortified to realise they had misunderstood and used your Christmas present.”
According to a 2004 study titled “The Inefficiency of Splitting the Bill,” demanding the bill be split based on what everyone ordered can prove costly in more than one sense of the word.
“A part of it could be the mental cost of ﬁguring out one’s share of the bill, and calculating the portion of the tax and tip that apply to that share,” the research explains.”Another part would be the social cost of appearing stingy or unfriendly.”
That goes somewhere to explaining why many prefer to simply divide things equally.
The viral post comes hot on the heels of a TikTok video posted by a server revealing what she adds to the bills of “rude” customers she serves.
Elsewhere, a good samaritan managed to touch the hearts of all the staff at one restaurant after leaving each and every work a $100 tip.