Thursday, November 5, 2009

181 - When you're assigned the role of treasurer when you go out to eat

Here's the typical scenario: it's one of your friend's birthdays. The friend chooses a restaurant for everybody to eat in, and then everyone gorges on seventy-five percent of the menu. After desserts, coffees and teas are consumed by the end of the meal, the check comes, and gets passed around, until it lands on the table in front of you, because everyone else is apparently too busy chatting or laughing or picking their teeth to do the adding up. It's up to you to calculate how much each person (except the birthday person, of course) owes to the collective sum of money being charged on the bill.

When dividing by any number greater than four or five, you get difficult amounts of money owed, because the total at the bottom of the check is never a nice number that is easily divisible, or a number that, when divided, can be easily rounded up or down to a pecuniarily manageable figure. There will always be one or two people that do not contribute their part, due to the fact that they ate less than everyone else, or because they simply don't have enough money, and so you must go and seek out people that are generous enough to cover for them, or you just collect whatever money those cheapskates have, then divide the rest of the bill by the number of people left.

Then the birthday person makes a halfhearted attempt to pay, and everybody spends twenty minutes trying to convince him that it's alright, because for one, his birthday is everyone's treat, and second, he/she isn't even allowed to know how much the birthday celebration he/she is responsible for costs. You count the money seventeen times just to make sure it all adds up, only to have a nominated acquaintance count the money once more because she's known to be extremely responsible with her own pocket money. This is then followed by her boyfriend adding it up for a nineteenth time, because apparently, he took up an accounting class at school.

It never adds up, people have underpaid and overpaid and people want some change back. You have to listen to stories about how people have lost their wallets, how people have just signed up for a new debit card, their thoughts on the new design of the $10 bill, and countless other stories. You also have to deal with the asshole who wants to pay for one twenty-third of the bill using his credit card. After the check is settled after what feels like forever, you tiredly rub your forehead and temples with your palms, which to your mistake, leads to your overlooking the event in which two girls in the corner order an apple martini to share, which is then followed by the birthday person's best friend ordering a round of apple-flavored shooters...

Your job as treasurer isn't over yet, but at least there's alcohol on its way.

9 comments:

Kate said...

Agreed that is so annoying. Plus there is often the cheapskate who doesn't account for tip.

Kate x

plentymorefishoutofwater said...

Nice post. No one trusts me with such a role.
You can call me Fish, by the way :-)

Douglas said...

You have stumbled onto one of the primary reasons I am anti-social (it borders on a religious belief).

Naomi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Naomi said...

Is it too much to ask for people to look at how much their meal costs? It's on the menu for crying out loud.

missykimmy said...

I'm given this job almost all the time. A lot of people don't like dividing the bill equally so I have to count how much each and every one owes exactly. It's frustrating. I definitely hate it too.

missykimmy.blogspot.com

Michael said...

Kate: I hate the myriad of problems the tip creates. Everything is so difficult when dining out. Argh.

Fish: Wow. You are purposefully untrustworthy, right?

Douglas: I think I'm anti-social with a propensity to be helpful, if that makes sense.

Naomi: Keeping twenty mental tabs can be logistically dysfunctional, though. Perhaps a treasurer assigned is a good idea.

Kimmy: It's pretty difficult judging how much each person owes after you've all basically grabbed whatever you wanted from the communal table adorned with food.

RenRexx said...

I hate having to split the bill evenly because my meal is always less than everyone else's and I order water. I'm still expected to pay the same as everyone else, and that's not right. I don't agree on paying for someone's steak, beer and desert when all i had was a quesadilla.
However, it is customary for the birthday person to not have to pay anything. That's a GIFT.

Michael said...

RenRexx: It's a confusing set of circumstances, and at my party - I offer to pay for the whole thing. After all, they bought me presents, might as well treat them for dinner.