Splitting the bill after a meal can sometimes be a source of tension, as not everyone has the same sense of fairness and generosity. From conveniently forgetting their wallet to purposely underpaying, these tales of stinginess and self-centeredness will make you cringe and wonder about the audacity of some individuals. But they also serve as a reminder of the importance of fairness and consideration when dining out with others.
All content has been edited for clarity.
Pulling That On Her Birthday Is Nuts
“I was invited out to a group lunch for a friend’s birthday. One of the ladies invited is notoriously cheap. The waiter came and took our order and the cheap lady said to the group that she had a late breakfast and just wanted an order of onion rings. She specifically didn’t say side, she ordered and received a full Appetizer, meant to be shared. While not the kindest thing to say, I also feel it’s relevant to say that this person has absolutely NEVER missed a meal or snack. I found it very weird that she wasn’t ordering a full meal.
It all made more sense when the check came. While several of us argued over who was paying for the birthday girl’s meal, she was adamant that she’d cover herself. So we were each given a check for what WE ordered. ‘Ms. Cheap’ got up, also totally out of character. Just as much as she’s not one to miss a meal, she is also not one to make any unnecessary movement. She went and whispered in the waiter’s ear. The waiter returned a moment later and apologized to us for the bill mishap. ‘Ms. Cheap’ had told the waiter that she had not ordered an Appetizer of onion rings (she certainly ate it all.) She was supposed to have gotten a side, which she told the waiter her friend, the birthday girl, said she could have her side as the onion rings. This was all of course bull. The birthday girl had gotten her fries swapped for a salad, and this whole thing transpired into the birthday girl being presented with a new bill, which included an additional, upgraded side. This ‘lady’ is so dang cheap that she lied her way into getting the birthday girl to pay for her food. She is clearly no longer invited to things.”
Her Cheapness Disbanded A Friend Group
“When the kids were younger, a group of moms would periodically meet for breakfast after dropping the kids off at school. Once in a while, we would take a ‘field trip’ to a better breakfast place, one that was a bit further away and that was more expensive than our local small diner.
Often when we went, one of the moms would offer to put the bill on her credit card and we would all pay her our portion with cash. This was fine – it made things easier than asking for six different checks. We would each figure out our own bill, add tax and tip, and hand over the money.
At one such time, I had forgotten my sweater in the booth after we had left the building, and I dashed back to grab it. When I did I noticed that the receipt from the credit card (the signature one) was still sitting on the table. And, to my horror, I noticed that this mom had NOT added a tip at all! We had all chipped in for the tip, adding 20% to the amount we were handing over, but this one mom was pocketing the tip money and putting just the total on her credit card. There was no cash in the tray for a separate tip.
I was stunned. I was silent the whole ride home as I calculated what she was pocketing. It amounted to making her breakfast free. I started thinking of all the other times we had gone out and she had offered to put the bill on her credit card. If she had been doing this the whole time, she had been having breakfast on us, about monthly for several years!
I told myself that it could have just been an oversight this one time, and maybe I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. So, a month later, as we were leaving our breakfast field trip, I said I needed to use the restroom before we drove home. I told everyone to go on ahead and I would catch up. And, then I went back to the table, and sure enough, she had done it again. I felt horrible. I pulled out enough cash to cover the tip and left. The whole drive home I was silent.
I was a coward and never confronted this mom. I just stopped going to these breakfasts. One of the other moms asked me a couple of months later why I had stopped going, and I did tell her. I don’t know if she ever confronted the other mom or what, but shortly after that, the group sort of disbanded.
It still bugs me that this woman considered us all friends, close friends even. Sometimes people can really disappoint you.”
He Sounds Like A Complete Scumbag
“Many years ago, when I was very young, I worked at a country club. I was a drink waitress there. None of us made very much money, the rule was that the clientele did not tip. Food waiters were paid 15% of their food sales, but drink waitresses simply made a rather low hourly wage. There was a wine steward, who spent most of his time goofing off and hiding in the back room, and we drink waitresses had to do his work for him. He was paid a percentage of all wine consumed, but he didn’t do any work for it. Therefore, of course, he was not our favorite.
Then came shrimp boil night. Once a month at the country club, they served unlimited shrimp and jammed as many tables as possible into the restaurant. All the club members would get really really hammered and unpleasant and we all worked way too hard. Every month, about half the staff quit after shrimp boil night. That’s how bad the experience was working there on shrimp boil night.
So, this night, we were ending a shrimp boil night and this wine steward proposed, let’s all go out drinking afterward. All of us drink waitresses said, we can’t do it, we don’t have any money. He said, I’ll pay for everything, it’s all on me. And he took a roll of bills out of his wallet and flipped through them to show us that he had plenty of money. So, you know, we decided he was nice after all. Maybe he was trying to make up for how he had treated us. ‘Are you sure? I really don’t have the money, I can’t pay for anything,’ I said. He laughed and assured us, of course, he was sure.
We went to a nice wine bar. After the rigors of the evening, we were starting to have a great time. Mr. Wine Steward ordered many appetizers and their best champagne, no expense was to be spared. We’re all enjoying ourselves, laughing and joking. I personally was getting a little tipsy.
Then, suddenly, the server came up to us and said, ‘Did you know that the gentleman left?’
All of a sudden we had to get very sober very quickly. We realized, Mr. Wine Steward had very quietly walked out on us after racking up the bill that he had promised to pay. The server said that they had stopped him on the way out, asking him about the bill, and he had smiled and said, ‘The ladies are paying.’
All of us searched through our purses and emergency cash and finally dredged up the amount of money we owed. We all used money that was very much needed for something else, like groceries, gasoline, and rent. There was really nothing else to do. It had been his plan all along, it turned out, since he never came back to the job, he had planned to thumb his nose at all of us in this really cruel way. I remember we all discussed how we might get back at him, but nobody really knew his last name, where he lived, or anything much about him. I don’t know that we would’ve really gotten back at him, but we did talk about it. Couldn’t do anything.
The only real satisfaction came a week or so later when Mr. Wine Steward called the country club and we heard the maître d’ talk to him on the phone. Apparently, he was calling asking for his job back. The maître d’, who was a very sophisticated, suave, always unruffled multilingual gentleman, was suddenly uncharacteristically very angry and shouted, ‘Our young ladies! You left them! You took them out and left them! You cheated our young ladies!’ And of course, he did not get his job back. That did give us a small measure of satisfaction.”
I Really Hope She Broke Up With Him
“When I was in my early 20s, I drove 11 hours one way to visit my boyfriend. He was in his mid-20s and lived with his mom. Since I was not allowed to eat any of the food in their home, I brought a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter to keep in my car so I could eat sandwiches. At the time, I was a stereotypical poor college student so I couldn’t afford to eat out for three days.
One of those days my boyfriend asked me out to lunch at Subway. I know it’s not the fanciest place to take your girlfriend when she visits, but I’m fairly easygoing and welcomed a break from the PB sandwiches.
We went to Subway and both went through the line and ordered our food. I figured since he invited ME and I had gone through the trouble of making the trip to see him, surely he would pay for my lunch. It was literally less than $5 and he went out to much more expensive restaurants with his mom all the time, so it’s not like he couldn’t afford it.
Well, nope! Not only did he not buy my lunch, but at the cash register he informed me that he had NO money and that I needed to pay for HIS lunch in addition to mine! What a little sh*t! He’s lucky I even had my wallet. I think he waited until the cash register to tell me on purpose so it’d be too late to back out. In hindsight, I should have just paid for my food and left him to deal with his own consequences.
Fast forward 15 years and he still lives with his mother. Both of them are awful. I have stories, lol.”
She Couldn’t Pick Up One Meal For Herself?
“My granddad (who has been very generous to his family) had taken the entire family out to Sunday dinner at a nice restaurant.
My cousin did not come because she was sick. We finished our meals and the waitress came over with our checks; one to my grandfather for the meal and one to my aunt. (My aunt had ordered a plate of gnocchi and Alfredo sauce to go home for my sick cousin…) My aunt looked startled, pointed her finger at my grandfather, and said, ‘It goes to him.’ When the waitress handed the additional check to my grandfather, he looked shocked, and exclaimed in his thick European accent, ‘What’s this!?’
I couldn’t bite my tongue and my father and I burst out laughing in her face, witnessing the whole thing. Perhaps a bit rude of us, however, we couldn’t believe how selfish and cheap she was being; especially to someone who has gone over and beyond for her, her whole life. For reference, everyone is well off and would not struggle to pay for a dang plate of gnocchi.”