Everyone has gone through it. You are hanging out, eating at a restaurant with a bunch of people, some may not even be your friends. You enjoy drinks and a meal and the bill comes.
You know the scene. It's one check, everyone at the table chips in what they think they owe and somehow you end up short a significant amount.
Anyway, back in 1998 I went to a dinner with my girlfriend with a group of her co-workers including, "Matt" who was celebrating his birthday. I was invited along, because that's what boyfriends do.
Now Matt never cared for me. He thought my girlfriend was too good for me. (He may have been right) He thought I was low class because I didn't make much money. He also thought I was homophobic. Which of course, is ridiculous.
Anyway the group included two of Matt's friends. They were very successful software engineers. My girlfriend had a good job, as did her co-workers, so that made me, a cook, the person who made the least money, by far.
Now, I've been called a miser, impossible since I've never been rich. I am cheap, especially when it comes to myself. I have this weird notion of not buying things I don't need or things I don't want.
Anyway, my girlfriend didn't bring cash but I had taken out money that day, Friday that was to last the weekend. Little did I know.
We went to a somewhat fancy restaurant in Kirkland, WA. It was seven of us at the table. My girlfriend, me, her friend Kate, Matt, another co-worker "Kyle" , and the two previously mentioned software engineers. Now I was buying for my girlfriend and she opted to share her modest entree with Kate. Now my girlfriend didn't have anything to drink. Kate was too young to drink. I had a steak with two beers. so covering for the three of us would not be an expensive proposition.
The dinner was fine, The rest of the group indulged in lobster, lots of appetizers I didn't eat, and two $45 bottles of wine. The main topic of conversation was work related and other subjects I wasn't into, so I felt a little out of place, I wasn't part of the "in" crowd..
The bill came, of course the place was too sophisticated to give us separate checks. It came to 300 dollars. Not too bad for a group of seven. My tab came to $20. My girlfriend's was $11. Combined that made 31 dollars. I threw in $40 figuring it would cover the tax and tip. Everyone else threw in what they felt they owed.
We ended up being $90 short.
Mister Party Planner stated that since it was Matt's birthday, his tab was free. Now, since he set up the party, was Matt's best friend and made the most money, I would think he be the one to cover Matt's tab. No, he felt that all of us should chip in.
I did a little quick math, figuring Matt's share was $50, I threw in another ten bucks. We were still 70 dollars short. They looked around for more money, I then threw in another 10 dollars to cover my girlfriend's share. I had put in 60 dollars which is normal for me when this to pay double what I owe, just to be a nice guy and not be accused of being cheap.
Mister Party Planner reminded us that the tab included two bottles of wine. Well, Me, my girlfriend, Kate and Kyle didn't have any wine. Kyle didn't drink because he was a Mormon. So only the two rich guys and birthday boy indulged in the wine. Still, I put in a twenty dollar bill, took 5 dollars out to cover Kate's share of Matt's tab. I have now put in $75, a quarter of the tab. Mister Party Planner still looked in my direction for more money because we were STILL 45 dollars short. I put in another 20, took out ten, now we were 35 dollars short.
Mind you, since the initial 90 dollar shortfall, I contributed 45 dollars, only ten dollars was put in that didn't come out of my wallet. No one budging to put in more money, so I just threw in 40 dollars to cover the rest of the tab. I was down to $5 for the weekend and Friday night wasn't over yet.
Finally, Kyle came to the rescue. He was the only one who noticed how much I put in. He had initially put in his share and then some, his was the ten dollars put in after the initial shortfall. He liked my girlfriend and saw that she was annoyed that I wasn't standing up for the fact that I put in too much money.
Imagine, a girlfriend who gets annoyed at spending too much money.
So Kyle put in 60 dollars gave me back $40. So now my share was 75 dollars. His contribution ended up being $120, on what was a 50 dollar tab. He had expensive food and appetizers. This left $105, not bad for two guys who had lobster entree, three appetizers and figuring $60 dollars worth of wine, and 2/7 share of birthday boy's tab.
So, the server got her 20% added gratuity plus ten dollars that Party Planner thought she deserved for being patient with us.
How altruistic, Mr. Party Planner.
The night was over , I got an earful from my girlfriend, I never saw Mr. Party Planner or his rich boyfriend again. Matt continued to think I was tacky and homophobic. Part of the reason was that I sometimes uncomfortable around Kyle. It wasn't because he was gay, it was that he was a preachy Mormon. The Amway of religions.
Within a year Matt would get his wish, my girlfriend ended up breaking up with me, married another co-worker. He then promptly moved.
Thanks Matt. You're a prick.