Community Magazine

Picking up the Tab When You’re out with Friends

By Eemusings @eemusings
Yum Cha Dim Sum who pays?

By: tayweilong

Is there anything worse than restaurants that don’t allow you to split the bill?

I was out to yum cha with a group of friends from university the other day – one of those slightly awkward situations where we were all brought together by a central friend, the spoke in the wheel, so to speak. I wouldn’t really have hung out with any of the others of my own volition, but she was our mutual connection and our glue. And it was surprisingly fun.

Come time to leave, we lined up at the counter to settle the account. The person who was up first went to pay her portion (let’s call her H) but after being told the policy was one bill per table, paid for the entire lunch. I had cash because I’d anticipated this might happen, and so did one of the others  – yet despite us practically throwing our $20 bills at her, H wouldn’t accept any of it. “You guys can get it next time!”

Only thing is, if there IS a next time, it probably won’t be for another couple of years. I literally had not seen her since graduation.

That said, among those of us there that day, she outearned us all by far. I mean, I don’t know how much she makes, but I would say anywhere from $15-25k more than the best paid among the rest of us (journalists are poor! She may not be using her degree, but she started on a much higher income straight out of uni, and she certainly earns the most money now). In comparison, she’d have been best placed to afford it.

Some of my closer friends often do the same on a smaller scale (picking up a $10 meal or covering a drink or two, that kind of thing). Lunch for four of us, though, would probably have been between $50 and $80 (I wasn’t keeping a close track of what we ordered). I would definitely have accepted the cash.

How big of a tab would you willingly pick up for others? Acquaintances? Close friends?


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