The Worst Thing About Being Part of a Large Party

cheap

There are a few things in this world that make my skin crawl:

  1. Snakes. I grew up in the country where Coral snakes and Copperheads lived under the same woodpile as the non-venomous garden variety. They all shared the same future though: head cut off with a hoe, no questions asked.
  2. People who complain about something but don’t want anyone to fix the problem. Then don’t complain. The purpose of complaining should be that you want a different action. Otherwise, it’s just for the sake of complaining.
  3. Going out to dinner with a large group of people. Allow me to explain:

It’s never easy, is it? I don’t think I would like it even if I didn’t have years of experience on the other side of the menu. In a group of ten people, there is always someone who wants to scam in order to save themselves a few bucks. “Oh, I have to catch a train, so I’m gonna just throw my money in now for everything I had. Here’s a twenty, that ought to be enough,” and they skedaddle their cheap ass outta there. Even Andrew Jackson himself knows that the order of nachos and two beers was more than twenty bucks. He rolls his eyes in embarrassment from having been inside that tacky whore’s tacky knock-off Prada bag that she bought on Canal Street.

This happened to me last week. I went to celebrate a birthday with a friend. Drinks were had, jokes were made and mechanical bulls were ridden. At the end of the night, the patron saint of waiters gave us our check. Of course the cheapest people at the table grabbed it first. God forbid they should be the last one to hold it and have to pay an extra two or three bucks. The cheapest bitch of them all was a a friend of a friend who I have absolutely no allegiance to so I don’t give a shit if her cheap ass reads this or not. After I finally commandeered the bill so I could make sure everything was happening as it was supposed to, I asked what everyone had put in. Cheap Bitch said, “I’m using a credit card and need to pay ten dollars.”

“Ten dollars? What all did you have?” I asked.

“One margarita, that’s it.”

I looked at the bill in my hand. One small margarita was $9.00. (Truth be told, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as small margarita. Mine was $13.00. What the fuck is the point of a small margarita anyway?) “So your margarita was nine dollars and you’re going to leave ten? What about tax and tip?” I asked in front of the whole table.

“Yeah, my drink was nine so I’m leaving ten.”

I hated this bitch. “So for tax and tip, you’re leaving a dollar?”

“Well, what do you think I’m supposed to leave?” she wanted to know. Her head was swaying back and forth like she was daring me to give her an answer.

I gave her an answer. “Well, tax is about 8.25% so that means you are leaving about a twenty-five cents for a tip?” I didn’t even mention that we all kinda figured we’d pitch in to pay for the birthday girl.

“Yeah, I’m leaving ten dollars.”

“So you’re alright with leaving a quarter for a tip?”

“I have a very limited credit card and alls I can afford is ten dollars!”

That ain’t a credit card, honey, that’s just sad. “Fine,” I said and went on with figuring out the rest of the check.

When I finally got it all settled, she told me that she went on ahead to the waiter and paid her portion because she had to go. Maybe it was double fucking coupon night at the dollar store and she needed to get there by midnight to get that roll of toilet paper that was marked down to fifty cents. I went to the waiter to make sure she had paid and he told me she paid nine dollars. Bitch didn’t pay for tax OR a tip. Nine dollars, period. I’ve met her once before and wasn’t that impressed, but from now on she is dead to me.

How can people be like that? If you know that tax exists, you have to at least pay that part of your bill, right? Okay, so she didn’t tip. No surprise. She also turned down a piece of birthday cake. I know it was because the restaurant was charging a $1.50 slicing fee per person and she didn’t want to pay that. She also finagled for someone else to pay the $5.00 required to ride the mechanical bull. “Oh, I don’t have my i.d. so they won’t let me buy a ticket,” she claimed. Birthday Girl told her she’d go do it for her and then just give her the ticket. She did, but then it was necessary to have her hand stamped to prove she were 18 years old. Cheap Bitch miraculously “found” her i.d. in one of her pockets after the five dollars had been paid. She did not pay it back, She rode the bull and I wish more than anything it would have bucked her cheap ass though the wall and into the men’s room where she could have enjoyed a big bite of urinal cake.

The check was eventually paid and the waiter was very happy with his tip. There was no slicing fee though and I think it was because we offered him the last piece of cake. We gave him some cake, he left off the slicing fee. He left off the slicing fee, we tipped him better. What goes around comes around which is exactly why Cheap Bitch will get her karma some day. Like maybe she’ll get a hell of a paper cut from her buy one get one free coupon for generic tampons. Cheap bitch.

14 thoughts on “The Worst Thing About Being Part of a Large Party

  1. Ember

    I’m still pretty new to the food service biz, but I once had a table whose total came to $25.01. They handed me $25 and said they were all set. I kept thinking “there better be a tip on the table when they leave”. Surprise, no tip. For some reason I still think it’s pompous to just not pay the one cent too. Like, a penny is meaningless, but it still bothers me.

    Reply
  2. Jessi

    Okay, just discovered this blog today and have been obsessing reading for two hours… And I had to comment on this one.

    I actually flatly refuse to go out in groups larger than four because of this exact thing. Somehow, there is always at least one or two people who don’t even order food, just ask for water, because they are too cheap to buy anything. Then they eat off everyone else’s plate! (My ex-boyfriend’s sister did this and it was a known thing about her, I refused to ever eat a meal in her presence because I am very protective of my plate.)

    Then there are the people that fit the description of the girl you described here. The ones that barely cover the cost of their own food and assume that everyone else will handle the tip. I’ve watched people look over the shoulders of others and see them tipping, then draw a line through the tip part of the receipt! It’s disgraceful.

    I was only a server for a year, but managed in the food service industry for 6.5 years and totally understand where you’re coming from. Love the blog.

    Reply
  3. sally

    It’s my understanding that whoever hosts(aka organizes/plans/invites) the adult birthday celebration pays the tab. Otherwise the birthday boy or girl pays. After a certain age, say 30 or so, it’s considered sort of bad manners to let your friends pay to celebrate your birthday. So really, unless Small Margarita planned the party, she was correct in not thinking she had to pay.

    Now she probably didn’t know that particular BIRTHDAY etiquette rule because she sounds like the type that would have brought it up if she did. And she totally sounds like a sneaky chiseler who doesn’t deserve friends at all, let alone a great, funny, lovely friend like you Bitchy. But technically, in the prudish world of goody-two-shoes etiquette, she was right to think she didn’t have to pay. 🙁

    Reply
    1. Jessi

      Never in my life have I heard of this “rule.” In the South, we cover the cost of the birthday girl/guy’s tab and everyone else pays for themselves, just as BW has described. Unless it’s a family affair, and then the head of the family generally picks up the check. Maybe it’s only in your region, Sally?

      Reply
  4. Tone

    I have a $3 minimum tipping rule. If all I have is a $2 Coca Cola, I will leave at least $3. For me $3 is the bare minimum that I will leave for the privilege of being seated and being given attention by staff.

    If this woman *knew* she only had $10 for the event then why didn’t she order a cheaper drink? Order that $2 small Coke or even a glass of house white and leave a decent gratuity. Ordering a $9 cocktail and stiffing both your friends and the staff is downright despicable.

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  5. Thom

    I tip 40% is this an acceptable tip? Even for pizza delivery or a haircut (they get 50%). What are your thoughts on (maybe) overtipping?

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  6. mo

    Even before I was a waitress, I hated eating out with a large group of people. There was always at least a couple people skimping out on what they really owed. It usually left the rest of us having to pitch in extra money to cover the rest of the bill and the tip

    Reply
  7. Jim

    BW, “bucked her cheap ass through the wall and into the men’s room where she could have enjoyed a big bite of urinal cake”. God, I laughed.

    You’re the best!

    Reply
  8. Meggatronia

    I went out with a group of friends a couple of weeks ago. Now this is in Australia, so we don’t do the tipping thing here (don’t worry, when I’m in the states I tip at least 20%…. partially cos it’s the easiest to work out out math wise: “total plus tax = whatever, round up to nearest dollar amount, work out 20%, round that up to nearest dollar, add to total, whats that come to, $28? screw it, here’s $30”). We also dont have to figure out tax as it’s just included in the initial price. However, on occasion you will still have someone try to skimp out of their part of the bill. But I was so proud of this group the other day. We all checked the bill, figured out what we owed and put our money down. then we had a look to make sure there was enough to cover the bill. And surpise! We actually had a little under $10 extra as we had all just put in a little more than necessary to cover the bill. Waiter got a tip and we all felt happy knowing we werent tight arses!

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  9. Abraham

    Honestly, while cheap a-holes are always gonna be a problem in big parties, my biggest gripe with them is when no one knows what the fuck they want. Last night I went out for pizza with a party of ten to celebrate a birthday and I practically had to force everyone into responding to the waiter’s polite question as to what we’d be drinking. As a server, I know how frustrating parties can be, especially when it comes to that one person whose beady eyes scream you’re about to be stiffed.

    Reply
  10. Linda

    Two comments on this – one is – D@MN – this JUST happened to me this past weekend. Had a bunch of people go out, I paid for our first round and closed the tab on 5 of us once the remaining 8 people arrived. Spent $92 for 6 drinks and 3 meals. ($20 tip on that!)…then everybody ordered food (which hubby and I did not eat, because we already ate!) and drinks – we had a couple more drinks. 4 people left early, throwing money down (obviously not enough), because when the time came to settle the bill, I got stuck with it and almost another $100 tab!!! WTF!!! Thankfully, there was this cutie in our group who grabbed the check and paid the balance. LOVE my new found friend! Also, hubby and I have a small group who we go to dinner with now and then (there are 3 couples) – one of the husbands orders the most expensive item on the menu (we know what he is going to order before they even get to the restaurant – just find the most expensive thing on the menu and that’s what he’s getting!) But, when the bill comes, he complains about how much money it is! Really, dude, then get the chicken and pasta like everyone else, and don’t get the filet mignon and lobster tail!!! OY. PS – GREAT blog – I’m gonna get fired for reading it at work all day! LOL

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  11. Mike

    You are far too kind for Friend of Friends! I’ve waited tables for over 10 years and I’m always astounded when people I know don’t tip accordingly when we go out. Like, I am somehow failing the serving community. Have I not bitched enough about crap tippers? But if I catch an acquaintance not even tipping? Hoo boy. Public humiliation. Either they tip correctly, or I never see them again. Either way, a goal is achieved.

    Log the blog. Bitch on, my friend.

    Reply

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