Pinings: Scroooge's night out
by Sherry Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org
If I go out to eat with my friends, we usually split the check. Sometimes, we itemize, but for the most part, we are all content to just split the cost of the meal and drinks, tax and tip. One friend, who comes along occasionally, likes to itemize. She has a calculator in her wallet along with a tip card. She becomes the banker, of sorts, and figures out what everyone owes, down to the penny, and collects all the money, even doling out change. It bugs the hell out of me when she does this. I think itís nitpicky and embarrassing. I could understand if one person had a lobster or something while the rest of us ate sandwiches. But that is rarely the case. We usually end up within a few dollars of each other. If I suggest that she put the calculator away and we split things evenly, she just shuts me right up with a wave of her hand.
My friends think I make too big a deal out of it. I think they are wimps. We decided to see what you thought.
The girls-night-out gang
Iím glad you asked. I have this struggle occasionally when I go out to eat with friends. I donít drink, you see, and so splitting the check with a bunch of people who do drink is really unfair to me. But I learned a lesson a long time ago that I try to keep in mind:
At one time in my life, I lived with a woman who owned a rather large home. As a result, we ended up hosting many family gatherings at the holidays, in the summer, whatever. I love to cook for a crowd, so I never minded the big celebrations. (I didnít particularly groove on the family, but thatís another story.) One year, I decided to make a big Easter dinner and do all of the work myself. I wanted folks to come and have fun and eat and visit. But I wanted them to feel welcome and loved and not like they had to get up early and bake a pie or whatever. I sent out invitations that let everyone know that I was doing all the cooking and they just had to bring themselves.
A week or so after the invitations went out, I got a call from an elderly aunt. She told me that she was bringing her special pies, the ones everyone liked. She didnít ask, she basically just told me what she planned to do. The following day at work, I related the story to a coworker. Steamed, I said, ďDo you believe this?Ē Iím being bullied by a 90-year-old woman over pies!Ē My coworker looked at me and said, ďFor crying out loud, sheís an old lady. Let her make the pies!Ē
My advice to you is to let the woman be the banker when you all go out. For reasons you may not understand, it makes her feel good. And it costs you nothing.
Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers at email@example.com
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