Daily Moan #3: divvying up the bill

My pizza
Originally uploaded by fred pipes
I feel really bad about making Robin Ince the subject of my first Daily Moan. I'm a big fan of his Book Club - it's introduced me to many great comedians like Josie Long, and I always go and see him in Edinburgh. Like Stewart Lee and Simon Munnery, he's one of the more intelligent stand-ups. But that's the luck of the draw.

If you think I'm pedantic, check out my blogging chum Martin Shovel. His blog post on cliche metaphors has been republished today in the Grauniad. That's so awesome and I'm over the moon for him, literally!

I was going to moan about the icy weather or how Christmas disrupts the tv schedules today, but I think I'll leave them for later. Neither will I bore you with a rant on Virgin Media's exasperating call centre or my ongoing problems with my second-hand Epsom R2400 A3+ inkjet printer. So - I hope none of my friends are reading this because Daily Moan #3 is about Divvying up the bill at group meals. Christmas is the time of year when one gets invited out for group meals - I'm talking 15-20 people sitting down at a restaurant. But how does a six quid pizza and a bottle of beer turn into a £20+ bill? Because some people down the other end of the table who you hardly know are ordering dinky dishes of olives, kir royales, starters, side salads, countless bottles of wine, port, brandy and cigars - that's what! And they are the same people who suggest simplifying things by splitting the bill. If you dare moan, you're branded a skinflint - so we keep schtum. If it were just four of you, you wouldn't mind so much, but in a big group there's often lots of peer pressure to pay up.

There are two possible coping strategies, neither of them very nice. The first is to leave early (maybe arranging with the babysitter to call you at a specified time) thrusting a tenner into the alpha person's hand saying 'this should cover it' qualifying this by muttering that you only had a green salad and glass of tap water anyway. The second is, if you are absolutely certain there will be a divvy-up, to go through the card ordering the most expensive things on the menu. You could come a cropper, however, if you end up being billed individually. I must emphasize that this scenario hasn't happened to me personally in a long time (and it was at a birthday meal) and that all my friends are nice considerate people who wouldn't dream of playing the system like this... honest! Disclaimer: The pizza illustrating this moan may be real but the circumstances described above are purely hypothetical.

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