Man Refuses To Pay $825 Bill After Friend’s Guests Go Crazy With OrderingInterview With Author
“Who pays the dinner bill?” is one of the most hotly debated questions. It encompasses gender norms, cultural differences, etiquette, economic status, and logistical questions. To this day, people across the world argue about fairness, expectations and who ordered what with the intensity of a parliamentary debate.
One man refused to cover the bill for four extra guests that his friend brought with him. When he asked why they just assumed he would cover everything, they gave him the most entitled answer one could have imagined. Commenters debated the age-old question of who is actually supposed to pay. We also got in touch with SEO403 to learn more.
Unexpected dinner guests can make it hard to understand how to manage a bill
Image credits: zoranzeremski (not the actual photo)
A man went out to dinner with a friend who decided to invite an extra four people
Image credits: monkeybusiness (not the actual photo)
Image credits: SEO403
Talking about money can be hard
Bored Panda got in touch with OP and he was kind enough to answer some questions. We wanted to hear his take on why people struggle to communicate about money when it comes to eating out. “Money conversations seem to be a taboo topic when there is no established trust. So, you never know what to expect and as a result of that, negative outcomes can be expected at times.”
“The bill should only be covered if stated beforehand and you want to. Like I said in the post, I wanted two days on a boat and my friends couldn’t afford it. They explicitly said it and I chose to pay for the whole two days. They dealt with the cooking, food, and drink. Choice. If you give people a choice, they might do it, but it is entirely up to them. The only thing to add from me is that those who take have no problem taking. So, those who give should grow a spine and stand up for themselves. The likelihood of those 4 people trying that play with someone else again has decreased exponentially as they found out that not everyone will fall for their games.”
Some readers wanted to know a bit more about the “extra” guests’ intentions, so we asked OP if he thought additional guests were just trying to pressure him into paying. “My friend knows I make good money, but I am 100% confident that unless they asked and he naively slipped up thinking it was something good to say, he didn’t try to set me up as it wouldn’t have worked and he knows me well. I could have afforded it but I don’t like to be cornered.”
Image credits: On Shot (not the actual photo)
Splitting the bill looks pretty different depending on what part of the world you are in
Op mentions in the comments that he is from Spain, which is useful knowledge, as bill etiquette really does vary from place to place. For example, in China, the conflict isn’t about who pays, but who “gets” to pay. Covering the bill paints you as wealthy and generous and it helps you preserve your “mian zi” or “face.” The downside can be that people might “exploit” this to get free meals, or, like in OP’s story, they assume someone is wealthier or more generous than they actually are. In Spain, there isn’t one standard, but it’s not heard of to split, a practice they call “a la Catalana.”
This is just as true in France, where paying is less about your ego and more about treating the other party. It’s expected that the kindness will be repaid and haggling over “covering your” end is seen as more rude than allowing the other party to just pay. This is also true in Greece and Iran. However, unlike in China, letting someone else cover the bill comes with the expectation that you will pay for them next time. In OP’s story, we know he is visiting and that these four, unknown individuals are not exactly close to him, so it’s unclear how they would actually pay him back.
In places where splitting the bill is acceptable, there are still a few rules to consider. Japan complicates things by splitting the bill evenly, instead of assigning different costs to whatever someone orders. Germans and Italians believe it’s fine to split the bill, but generally prefer to use cash, so consider having some on hand. In some places, it’s even impolite to demand that you will pay it, for example, in Norway. For Norwegians, it’s important that both parties feel like they are equals and that neither acts superior to the other.
image credits: Pixabay (not the actual photo)
Just because someone is better off, doesn’t mean you are entitled to their money
Regardless of where OP is from, in most of these cases, people offer to pay the bill themselves, instead of it being pushed into their hands while the rest of the party looks away. There can be some confusion here, for example, in Mexico, the person who made the invitation is expected to pay the bill, however, it’s worth noting that OP did not invite these people. At the very least, his friend should have offered to cover more, as it was his idea to bring more people.
His “guests” attempt to flatter him by saying he is better off, based on Instagram posts. While it does appear that OP has money, this is a massively entitled and weird thing to say. Curiously, OP doesn’t go into any more details about how he felt regarding his socials being effectively stalked before dinner. In South Korea, the oldest person is expected to pay the bill, but there is no indication that this rule in any way applies to OP, particularly as it seems the guests are his peers, at least in age, if not money.
It’s a mark of how hotly debated this question is, that readers were somewhat split. While the majority thought OP was right, it was often on a technicality and not because he was flat-out 100% correct. Others pointed out that not being able to pay isn’t a sin in many places, you just have to communicate with the host or inviter. Fortunately, OP’s friend did not seem to be in on the “take advantage of this guy” plan the guests did, so while he may have lost a bit of money, he didn’t lose a friend.