There is always an ongoing debate about separate checks. History tells us that servers do not like to deal with them, but with advanced technology in restaurant computer systems, separating a check is now as easy as pushing a few buttons. When servers really get their aprons in a twist is when customers do not tell them in advance that they would like separate checks and wait until the last minute to throw a wad of bills and several credit cards on the table while yelling out what they are paying for. I understand the point of separate checks, I really do. Sometimes, you just want to pay for what you had and not a penny more.
Last week I had a six top in the restaurant. Some people were ordering apps and cocktails while others were not. When it came time to pay the check, I heard the blow hard at the head of the table belch out, “Hey everybody, let’s just divide it six ways; 28 bucks apiece.” From my point of view it was great. Their bill was $142 which meant I got a $26 tip, or 18%. Yes, I earned that tip with my stellar service and for not cutting a bitch when a a six-top showed up 20 minutes before closing time when there was no one else in the restaurant and my side-work was already done. They gave me mostly cash and and one credit card and it was all easy, breezy and beautiful. Well except for the one guy who got totally shafted by the “let’s all pay 28 bucks apiece” plan.
The man who had the great idea of splitting it equally had two cocktails ($18.00), a calamari ($8.00) and a burger ($10.50) His total was $36.50 before tax and tip, but he was getting off with paying a fraction of that. Meanwhile, Mr. Milquetoast on the other end of the table had mussels ($8.00) and fries ($3.50) and water for a total of $11.50 before tax and tip. He was being screwed sans lube with a basket of fried calamari and he was just going to take it. Maybe he only ordered $11.50 worth of food because he only had $11.50 worth of money. I watched the man struggle with the decision of whether or not to speak up about it and then hand over twenty-eight dollars. It was clear he did not want to do it, but he didn’t want to be that friend in the group who looks like a cheap ass bitch.
I would have been the cheap ass bitch who said something. The guy at the head of the table was a real loud-mouth son of a bitch who monopolized the conversation and cracked way too many unfunny jokes. The man on the other end of the table seemed quiet and shy and probably chose to sit as far away as possible from Mr. Douchey. Had it been me, I would have declined the invite as soon as I found who else was going to be there. But this guys wasn’t me. If he was me, he would have said:
“Um, guys. I hate to be the cheap ass bitch at the table, but I only had an app and some fries so I’m only gonna pay for mine. It was $11.50 plus 8.87% tax makes it $12.52 plus a 20% tip is $15.02 so I am leaving a total of $17. Yeah, I’m leaving two extra bucks to help cover which ever one of you skanks is gonna to try to stiff the server. Here’s a ten, a five and two singles. Outta here, buh bye.”
But he wasn’t me. So he basically said:
“Um, okay, here’s my money. I only have a twenty and a bunch of singles. Twenty-eight? Is that right? Okay, here’s twenty-eight dollars, I guess. Next time, can you please use some lube or a pat of butter before you screw me because this is rather uncomfortable. You’d think I’d be used to it by now because I have no spine or backbone which makes it all the more simple for me to get fisted right here in the restaurant. Oh, what’s that? We’re short four dollars? Let me reach into where my balls used to be and see if I have any more money. Okay, I do. Here it is. Sorry it’s wet from my tears of pussification. Thank you everybody.”