Lesson Learned – Don’t Split the Bill with Bill

September 20, 2012

in Server Stories

This isn’t really a dinner from hell but a good lesson learned. My wife and I were invited to go to an upscale steak house with a neighborhood couple (Bill and Sarah) and Sarah’s parents. Bill works in sales and does extensive traveling. While traveling, he is on an expense account and typically not too concerned with how much things cost.

In advance, we agreed to split the dinner tab three ways. After we ordered our meals, the wine steward approached Bill and suggested a bottle of wine to go with our dinners. Although we had individually ordered drinks, Bill promptly accepted without asking the price. The dinner was great and three people in the party enjoyed the wine.

When the final check arrived, we were all shocked that the bottle of wine was $200. I ended up paying $70 for two glasses of wine. Life is short and we laugh about it now, but the lesson learned is………don’t agree to split the tab!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Esteban Bastone September 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Yes, I learned this a long time ago as well.
Also, if you intend to treat someone to dinner, don’t tell them until it’s over. Some people will actually abuse your good nature.

Been there, done that, got the skinny wallet.


Ralph September 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I hope you didn't tip much for the cost of the wine. 15% of the $200 bottle would come to $30! If he or she was up front about the cost then I'd say otherwise. I hate it when servers don't mention costs. They think they can get more money out of me that way, but I actually give them less of a tip for not mentioning it.


momo October 10, 2012 at 1:19 am

Well considering there's a friggin' menu in front of your face, we feel like we don't have to baby you and name each price of each item.


Jamal October 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Uh… I've been to plenty of restaurants where the specials menu doesn't list prices, or the server verbally recites the specials and (conveniently) doesn't mention the prices.


nikki December 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

if you're that concerned, just ask the server.


sally November 5, 2012 at 4:21 am

Double standard! Some servers DO mention prices (me) because they know that some customers will get angry when the bill comes but there are many who get offended if servers do that because they think that we feel they can't afford it. Which also leads to a lower tip. So if something interests you, just ask the price and save yourself from a huge check and stiffing the server.


Maggie February 24, 2013 at 8:22 pm

i work in a restaurant and it is considered rude to tell the price of something to a guest. it is like we are assuming they are cheap or poor. if you have an issue, ask and we will tell you the price. we are not mind readers and everyone has a different version of expensive.


Jeremy November 15, 2012 at 10:57 am

Also beware of the tip moochers. I had a friend who used to watch and see how much I left and since I was a server I would leave a nice tip and he would then in turn leave little to nothing, so a good server would end up with a mediocre tip because of it.


Amber May 10, 2016 at 11:38 am

If you enjoyed two glasses of wine and paid your share of the bottle I'm not sure what the issue is. If you were worried about the cost of the bottle of wine you could have simply declined to partake in the bottle, it would be understandable and reasonable to not simply split the cost of the bottle in which you never partook. This isn't an issue of bill splitting, it's an issue of you indulging in a bottle of wine without being aware of the price, you easily could have remedied this by asking, and then being upset your share came to $70. Some people don't care what the cost of things they enjoy are, some people do. If you're one of those that has a budget you ask the costs.


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