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Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Argument FOR Separate checks


As a waiter, we all hate the evil that is known as "separate checks." What people don't seem to get is that when a party of ten people wants ten different checks, it increases my workload by ten. I have to initiate ten checks and ring in ten checks and print ten checks and then hand out ten checks to ten different bitches and assholes. I see the reasoning behind the separate checks. It makes it simpler to deal with and you don't have to divide up one check and see who bought what and how much so and so owes. When I go out to eat with a large group, I get the shudders about it because I know how annoying it is for the waiter. But boy oh boy do I wish I could get separate checks sometimes. It really does get to be a shitty deal when you are on one check with ten other people. It always ends up sucking ass.

If you are out with a few friends, it's usually no big deal Especially if most of those friends are servers because everyone puts in extra cash and the check always works out. But what about when it doesn't work out? My blood pressure shoots up to about a million over a million because I get so stressed out about it. I know I always put in more than enough to cover me, but inevitably, the check is always short and someone says "Oh just everyone put in an five extra bucks and that'll cover it." No. I already put in my amount. I know what my food costs and that the tax is 8.25% (which I always round up to 10% because it's easier) and then I add 20% for the tip. Done. Why do I need to put five more dollars in because some twat can't figure out what they owe? And when it's short everyone starts looking around the table to figure out who is the asshole that didn't put enough money down. In that case, I have been known to pull out my calculator and ask each person how much they put in and what did they have. I then will figure it out to the penny until we discover who "accidentally" forgot to put down a twenty dollar bill. It's really not fair. And those are the times I am wishing that I had been the prick that told the waiter we need separate checks. In that same scenario, sometimes the tip is really generous because everyone over compensated which is fine too. But what pisses me off in that setting is when someones says they need to put it on their credit card and they will just take the cash so they won't have to go to an ATM later. I have seen it happen and I know why they do it. It's because they notice that there is a shitload of extra money for the waiter, but they put it on their card and then just tip 15% and pocket the rest. I will cut a bitch for that. I knew one kid in college who always did that. We would all pay cash and he would put it on his credit card, which his parents paid for. So essentially we were just giving him our money. I stopped eating out with him after that. And began spreading rumors about an STD he may or may not have had.

Another reason I can see why separate checks are needed is when someone pulls the ol' "lets-just-split-it-ten-ways" routine. That really pisses me off unless we all ordered about the same thing. But what if we didn't? This happened to me very recently. Someone suggested we split the check six ways to make it simple. It was more like to make it cheaper. For them. It really pissed me off but I let it slide because I didn't want to make a scene. Shocking, I know. But the person who wanted to split six ways had a very expensive entree, a cocktail and shared a dessert while I had one Coke and a hamburger that was half the price of the entree they had had. I ended up paying about $15 more than I had eaten. I was steaming mad about that one, I tell you. But again, I am such a demure little petite flower, that I let is slide.

So what shall we do about the dilemma of the separate check? People will always want them and waiters will never want to give them. It is a conundrum indeed. I propose that people just pull their heads out of their asses and take cash when they go to a restaurant. Someone at the table has to be the banker and just go around the table and pinpoint exactly what everyone owes. Yeah, it's cunty to be "that guy" but fuck it. No one should have to pay extra because he happens to be eating out with a friend of a friend who is too cheap to pay their bill and only wants to leave a 5% tip. Step up, Mr. Banker. Be "that guy" and you will be the hero of all your friends. Well, except for the one guy or gal who had hoped to skip out on the check. Fuck them anyway.


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15 comments:

BB said...

Good post! On the opposite side.. with splitting the checks.. I hate hate hate when a waiter splits an appetizer that I didn't even touch, and puts half on my bill. If I would have known I'd be paying for it then I would have eaten it. Same as sauce sides. I have a friend who orders gauc, cheese sauce, and extra salsa when we go to the mexican restaurants and last time we went the waiter put one of them on my check when he split it.. but I didn't eat it. So I paid 4 bucks for something I didn't eat.. which shouldn't be a big deal but it is to someone who doesn't have a lot of disposable income.. especially when I don't feel comfortable asking my friend for the money.

purplegirl said...

I don't sweat asking for separate checks when I go out, because I make sure that the people I'm wish abide by two rules: tell the server right away who goes with who, and everybody pays at once. I don't even mind separate checks while serving if people are kind enough to do that. The only time I really get pissed is when Uncle Buck gives me his credit card, and when I come back with it cousin Rita gives me her hundred dollar bill for a $7 salad, and when I come back with that change Sally and Joe have their credit card for me, but Grandma Jo still hasn't even looked at her check and sister Peggy went out to her car for her wallet. THAT makes me want to go eye-gouging.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to eat out in parties bigger than five for the reasons you've laid out.

BizTone said...

My favorite? When a group orders a shit ton of drinks, then another round, etc... then they want me to split the check... and they pull the old "I think there are some drinks on here we didn't order."

Anonymous said...

Great post. Can related on so many levels, from both a server and customer. Many time's I've encountered the whole "Let's split this by the number of us" and end up paying more than I really should, but like yourself, we just suck it up.
My place experiences this pain-in-the-ass group every once in a while. Manager tolerates them because they are "big spenders" (so-to-say). They come in a group of about 20-30, no-reservations of course, and they always manage to come by during the lull period, so instantly one server and one manager is slammed. They order drinks by the jugs, and by wine glases, and order appetizers by three's "You know, three nachos, three fries, three that, three this". SO within an hour or so, their tab easily run's into $1400++ ...easily. Now is when the shit starts happening. One by one, they start leaving, and they always approach the bar, saying they want to "settle up" some items from their bill, so one-by-one they say "Oh I had 3 glasses of wine, one fries, bla bla bla". So this goes on and on, sooner, down the last guy, where OBVIOUSLY there's a pile of unpaid drinks and food still amounting to probably 200 bucks, EACH TIME...never fails. He makes a fuss, bla la bla, manager's too much of a coward to stand his ground, and ALWAYS ends up buying food and drinks to cover the tab. Assholes! (And if your suggesting that we ask people to pay for drinks/food upon delivery, we're not allowed to do that, by "the big bosses" said it's too unfriendly. Phhhht... (Sorry this got so long)

brit said...

amen. however, when the military boys come in asking for separate checks, the extra effort is worth it, because they all round up when they tip... which can equal about $5-$20 extra in my pocket, as opposed to the regular "good" 20% they shell out.

Anonymous said...

Good post...though, 10 checks for 10 patrons, all paying different ways and needing obscene amounts of change in the middle of a rush is pretty ridiculous. This always happens at lunch, when a small office will walk in, without a reservation. I find when this happens, the tips are crappier. If they are forced to figure out a single bill, usually someone with sense will speak up and insist on 20%. I wish all parties had an ex-server at the table.

Anonymous said...

Amen!!!!!!!!!

liz said...

Holy shit. I asked for a split check for the first time last tuesday. It is rarely done in France. Either people have cash, can run to the ATM 20 yards away, or are invited guests. Seriously, I don't think that I have ever been in a group that asked for separate checks. Ever. (I am usually the banker volunteer that you speak of, should the situation arise, although no pocketing the extra.)

But seeing as we split 3 plates, 3 desserts, 3 coffees, and a bottle of wine straight down the middle, it was not too harrowing for the server. At least I hope not! Anyway, the food sucked ass, so this was one of the times I was happy that tipping is not obligatory in France (and yeah, I know that it is not the server's fault, but jeez, have some respect! Why is it the rule that airport restaurants must suck? Captive audience?)

megaphon said...

I agree seperate checks are more work, but I really get more tip out of the table that way. And thats what keeps me going!

Paula said...

how about when everyone then pays with a $50.00........how many times can i change one at the bar....IDIOTS

Anonymous said...

I never minded splitting the checks for people, I've always been lucky enough to have computer systems that make it easy, and as megaphon said, I always got a bigger tip when cheques were seperate. (maybe because I don't have the one ass putting it on his credit card and keeping most of my tip!)

Mel said...

I LOVE This post!! It is sooo true!! I don't know how many times I have gotten screwed into paying way more than I ate. I went out with some friends once, and they all ordered huge platters of chicken wings (which I rarely will eat)..they had beer and a bunch of other food as well.. I had a side salad, and a glass of water. The bill came to like $80...I wound up paying $35 because they figured since I ate ONE out of 100 chicken wings that I should still pay 1/4 of the cost and then 2 people "forgot" to leave their tip .... I've decided it's just easier to not eat when you go out with people like that!

Naseem said...

My friends and I have never split checks. If it is the 2 or 3 of us we pay for what we ordered and put in the tip. It's just easier that way for everyone.

My brother told me that he went out to eat with 25 friends and they all got seperate checks and the server got my brother's wrong and he was complaining. I told him that they were there on a busy Friday night with 25 people who ordered 25 different dishes. Its not hard to believe that the server was running around and made a honest mistake. He said the server did get tips from everyone so I guess it worked on in the end.

I wouldn't do that to person. Imagine if I was the one doing all that work. I think I would pass out.

Anonymous said...

In DC they dont do separate checks so my friends and I always write the total (without tip) on the back of the receipt for our food/tax. Then we hand the server our cards in order of how they appear on the receipt, hopefully making it real simple.

Tip are done after everything is paid for, that way no one is paying extra for someone else's food. And the sever get's their tip based off of each individuals check.