Dear Snarky – Separate Checks Anyone?

dear_snarky_logoDear Snarky,

I have a group of girlfriends that go out to eat lunch together every Wednesday. My problem is one of the woman never pays her fair share of the lunch tab. We go out to eat at fairly nice places and when the bill comes she always says, “Let’s just split it.” That might work if she didn’t order the most expensive entrée on the menu and always has at least two glasses wine. Even when we ask for separate checks she makes up some excuse that she has to leave early and throws down a ten-dollar bill on the table like that’s going to cover her meal. It’s not like she doesn’t have the money either. Should we start being really blunt about it or just change our lunch date to Thursday and not tell her.

Signed,The Lunch Bunch

Dear Lunch Bunch,

My husband and I had this same problem with another couple. We would go out to dinner and they would have a whole lot of cocktails and lobster while we would share a pasta entrée and drink ice tea and then lo and behold they would always say, “Let’s split the check.” My solution was to quit going out to eat with them and invite them to our home for dinner. Sure, it was the chicken way out but we really liked their company just not their math skills.

My advice to you is to say upfront before anyone has ordered that everyone is getting separate checks AND I would ask the server for the checks as soon as all the orders have been placed so she gets it before she has a chance to make a run for it. If she does make a run for it – call her on it, like on her cell phone and ask her how she would like to pay for the rest of her bill. Hopefully, she will get the hint that you and your friends are done donating to her lunch fund.

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12 thoughts on “Dear Snarky – Separate Checks Anyone?

  1. Waitress says:

    Great advice on asking for separate checks very early in the meal. You waitstaff won’t mind a bit. Although I would bet you a drink and dessert that little Miss Split the Check never tips.

  2. Suzy says:

    I don’t know if I agree with your advice. I would be embarrassed to ask for separate checks. I think it makes you sound super cheap.

      • Leah Michelle says:

        I almost always ask for separate checks. I don’t drink alcohol and I’m kind of picky with appetizers. Why would I ever pay for your drinks & mushrooms that I’m not going to eat? I’d rather just treat the entire meal on occasion than constantly overpay.

    • Mette says:

      I’m a server and I promise you that it doesn’t make you seem super cheap to ask for separate checks. All we care about is how you ask for it. Be polite and PLEASE remember to tip.

    • Lu says:

      Stop worrying about what people think about you. That’s 99% of the suburban problem. Be real. Have real friends. Ditch the ones who do judge you. Life is simpler when you delete all the negative people from your phone. Start today! It’s a huge relief, been there, done that.

    • Ash says:

      Sounds like Suzy is that friend….

      Who seriously want to pay even a portion of someone’s lunch all the time. I have no problem helping a friend now and then but this sounds habitutal.

      Stand up and stop letting someone take advantage of your kindness.

  3. Dennis says:

    Im a server at a local mexican restaurant. Jose peppers!! In our system at least its very easy to split checks. We can even split a specific meal so people can pay for that separately. Always go for the split check. I’ve never understood splitting the whole check.

  4. nursemommylaughs says:

    Snarky, you are so funny! This one really made me cackle several times. Good sound advice too. I would’t have thought to ask for the check so early that she would have before she even finished her meal.

  5. Becky says:

    I don’t understand why we have such a problem with calling people out on their rude behavior. If done politely, what’s the big deal? It’s not like she doesn’t know what she’s doing. she’s running out on purpose to avoid a confrontation. When did we get so afraid of just talking honestly to people about things?

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