Having been a waiter since the dawn of time, it is very difficult for me to go into a restaurant and completely enjoy myself. Too often, I am watching to see how the restaurant is being run or trying too hard to accommodate my server and make thinks easier for him. When I go out in a large group, it’s even worse. I get a serious case of angina because I know how difficult large parties can be for a server. Not all large parties, just some. I have been chastised on this blog before for writing rules for customers so they can make it easier for their server. Today, however, I am going to write some rules for customers that will make it easier on themselves. Specifically, when you go out to dinner as part of a large group.
We’ve all been there. It’s your friend’s cousin’s boyfriend’s birthday and you suddenly find yourself at a restaurant in a party of twenty-five people. They have pushed twelve tables together and you are sitting between a lady you have never seen before and another lady you never want to see again. The one person you know is sitting at the other end of the table and you hear the waitress say, “Sorry, we don’t do separate checks.” You are overcome with panic and fear, sweat dripping off your nose, as you begin to wonder how in the hell you are going to deal with the check when it makes it to the table. If it’s like every other time you have been in this situation, the last person to hold the check is going to get screwed and you don’t want to have to pay extra because someone else doesn’t know how to divvy up a check. Relax. I’ve got you covered. Keep these things in mind the next time you are going to be at a restaurant in a large group.
- Bring cash. Specifically, bring a few twenties, a ten, a five and four singles. This way, you will not have to ask for change from anyone and you won’t have to use a credit card. I know, I know, you don’t ever have any cash, but trust me. Stop your lazy ass at the ATM and do it. You will not regret it.
- Keep track of what you are ordering as you order it. Look at the prices on the menu so you don’t have to look at the bill later and search to see how much your nachos cost. Keep a rolling total in your head as you go so that you will know exactly how much you owe.
- Keep track of what those around you order too. If you notice that the booze hound on the other end of the table is ordering three martinis for your every one beer you want to be able to stop the presses when he says, “Hey, let’s just divide this check by twenty-five.” (Be aware, if the booze hound has crazy fucked up hair and is desperate for attention, you may be having dinner with me.) Be brave and tell that drunk bitch that you only had two beers and a burger while he had five martinis, a salad, a steak and dessert. You’ll pay for what you had, thank you very much.
- Be sure to add the tax and tip, assuming you live in a state that has sales tax. The average sales tax in the United States is 9.6%. A good tip is 20%. Round it up to 30% and call it a day. If your food and beverage total was $29, just add 30% to that total, which would be $37.70. Since you have cash, all you have to do is lay down a twenty, a ten, a five and three singles. Always round up because you know some ass hole is going to be cheap. If the gratuity is added, it will probably be around 15-20%, so you will be covered.
- Be one of the first people to put your money down. Be clear. Say, “I had two beers and a burger and the total before tax is $29. I am leaving $38.00.” Drop that money onto the table and wash your hands of the situation. By being the first one to put money down, you are doing two things; you are providing some change there for other people to use because some bitch only has a hundred dollar bill and you are ensuring that you will not be the last person who handles the bill and realizes that the table is still forty dollars short.
- Be strong. No matter how hard you may want to help those clueless bitches with the check, don’t do it. Stay out of it. You have contributed the correct amount and you are no longer responsible.
- If you are not eating, you can always sneak away to the bar and get your drinks from the bartender so you can pay as you go. This will keep you from having to even look at the bill when the time comes. The server probably won’t give a shit since there will be twenty-four other needy assholes. When he walks by, smile and say, “I’m all good.”
- If you’re like me, you’ll want to leave as soon as possible. Once you know that your part of the bill is completed, feel free to say your good byes and move on. It always gets dicey at the end when everyone is forced to throw in a few extra dollars to make up for the losers. I used to stay until the bitter end and always pony up extra money but not any more. I have learned that it is not worth it.
- Lastly, call your friend who invited you to this shit birthday party and tell them it sucked. Tell them you don’t give a rat’s ass about their cousin’s boyfriend’s birthday and then find out why that bitch didn’t even sit next to you. You were stuck between two whores who thought TGIFriday’s was some fine dining shit and you did not appreciate it. Tell this friend that the next time you end up in a party of twenty-five, it better be a party where someone else is picking up the check.
I truly believe if you keep these rules handy, you will not totally hate the next time you are in this situation, or at least you won’t hate the paying of the check. You will still hate that a booze hound with crazy fucked up hair is sucking all the attention out of the room but please give him a break. He’s not that bad. He’s insecure and if you pay close attention, he is taking notes for a future blog post.