Laughter, good conversation, the clinking of glasses and sharing of delicious food in a warm and inviting atmosphere. These are the things that make going out for a group dinner one of life's simple pleasures. And then the bill comes, turning everyone's pleasant demeanor into a state of controlled panic. Everyone knows this feeling, but not everyone knows the different players involved. Let's take a look at the types of people you'll probably have to split the bill with.
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This is the dude who plunks down his money (hint: it's not enough) and then peaces the eff out or orders a bunch of cocktails and requests the check be split evenly. Seriously, you are a jerk.
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"The Hero" unburdens the rest of us by shouldering the weighty responsibility of determining how much everyone owes and acting as liaison between the dinner party and the waiter. The same person usually acts as "The Hero" every time and on behalf of all of us we thank you.
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This is the person who asks for separate checks and is met with resistance because someone else was vocal about not wanting to inconvenience the wait staff. What this person does next determines whether they reach "Hero" status or not; if they insist, they will have saved everyone a hell of a lot of trouble. If they don't, they've relegated everyone to a spoiled ending to what would have been a nice dinner.
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This poor bastard chooses one of the thriftiest options on the menu, but somehow ends up paying $30 for his cheeseburger. He doesn't have the guts to speak up because he's too busy worrying he'll be seen as a cheap-o, and so he makes one of the greatest sacrifices recorded outside the Bible: paying double for din-din.
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With a flash of brilliance, "The Genius" provides "The Hero" with the perfect tax and tip amount for his fellow diners to abide by, giving everyone the direction they need to keep from devolving into flustered befuddlement. Thank you for being an awesome sidekick, "Genius."
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This is the person who sparks the debate for how much the wait staff should be tipped.
"Did they attend to our beverage needs?"
"Did they bring the food out when it was still hot?"
"Did they hover too much?"
All these things and more are taken into consideration when deciding their fate...or, you know, their tip.
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"The Mooch" declines when presented with the option to split appetizers and then eats some anyway. Those who notice have the overwhelming feeling of...how should I put this..."Put down the bloomin' onion you son of a bitch bastard or so help me God..." But no one says anything.
Photo credit: ky_olsen, Flickr
"The Worrier" is so afraid to seem cheap that he makes a big spectacle (okay, maybe just a noticeable gesture) by putting in extra money right off the bat. You think you're doing everyone a favor? No. All you've accomplished is allowing "The Jerk" to get away with his BS.
Photo credit: [Roberto Bouza], Flickr
This is the guy who never has any cash on him. The problem is that this "one" is actually a bunch of people. Tell me if this sounds familiar: "Hey, can we split this bill between 7 credit cards, 2 debit cards and a gift certificate? No? What a bitch..."
Photo credit: Images_of_Money, Flickr