I have a friend who is beyond cheap. Whenever a group of us get together, she will refuse to split the tab evenly if her meal came to less than the average amount because it is costing her more than she would have to pay otherwise. If it comes to more than the average amount she will agree to split the tab evenly, because this means she is saving money.
“Danica” plays this little game in such a way that we can’t force her to pay a fair share. For example, sometimes she will order a moderately priced meal and when the bill comes she will say that she only has enough cash to cover what her meal came to – not the few dollars more to cover the average. She will offer to put the entire tab on her debit card if everyone will give her the cash to deposit. Of course nobody has exact change and it would be difficult to ask the server to make change for so many of us, so we all throw in a $20 bill and Danica ends up paying almost nothing for her meal. Other times, Danica will order a more expensive entrée and quietly put in $15 – $20 as her “share” of the tab, even if her part of the meal came to much more. Either way, she makes out in the end and the rest of us end up paying a good deal more than our share.
My group of friends ranges in number from six to ten people, depending on who is available, and we try to get together once a month, so some of us are there one month but others and have not been able to catch onto Danica’s tricks. Danica and I are among the few that do manage to make the get-togethers every month, which is why I have been able to catch onto her money-saving trick. Quite honestly, I am disgusted. I would like to approach Danica about this problem, but I don’t want to cause bad blood within the group. It is not like Danica is struggling for money – she has a good job and lives at home with her mother, who does not charge her rent, so there really is no reason why Danica should not contribute her fair share. Can you think of a way around this problem that does not involve directly accusing Danica of being cheap – even though I know she is?
Generous To A Fault
Dear Generous to A Fault:
How is it that all of you happen to have a $20 bill on you when you go to lunch? Could it be that you stop by the ATM before going to the restaurant where you all meet up for your meal? To me, this is the most logical explanation as to why none of you have smaller bills. I suggest that the next time you are getting ready to go to lunch, call Danica before she leaves the house and suggest that she stop by the ATM before heading to the restaurant so she will have enough cash on her to pay her share of the tab. This gentle hint should not go unheeded if in fact Danica has been trying to cheat the other members of your party into paying for her lunch.
If, at the end of the meal, Danica starts to play her game of cheat-the-tab you can comment then, suggesting that the tab would be divided more equitably if you all made change for a $20 bill and paid the amount closest to the nearest dollar owed. If an explanation is requested, simply smile and say “I always end up paying several dollars more than the cost of my meal and my wallet is starting to feel the hit”. No further explanation will be needed, as there will be others at the table who have experienced the same.
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