Separate Checks for Shared Items

November 27, 2014

in Dining Hell Commentary

“Separate checks, but we are sharing a pizza.” Okay, folks… don’t ask for separate checks but then want to share items across the split. I was not a math major and the computer system in use is archaic and unable to do that. With 5-6 other tables on a very busy night, it is not realistic to nitpick about splitting checks.

If you are dining out with others to share their company but not their bill, fine, but don’t expect a server to spend 20 minutes parsing out your bill. You can have one check and give me two credit cards, or one of you can bite the bullet and just have the item put on your check. Usually tables this cheap are ordering water (ordering hot water with lemon is my personal all time cheapo favorite, especially on a Saturday night!).

If you are bothering to go out, then enjoy the meal, enjoy the company and don’t make it a contest to see how much you can get for how little or how ragged you can run a server with minutiae.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie Rose November 28, 2014 at 5:35 am

Bitching much, OP? I split shared checks on an old timey, non-electronic register (I shit you not) until we finally upgraded to a computerized system. Who cares if customers are “cheap”? Maybe they work costumer service and make low wages, too. Or maybe they just like hot water with lemon and are enjoying their meal that way. Christ.

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Melissa November 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm

I never ask for separate checks. More often than not that's to my detriment, but I'm not going to bother restaurant staff or quibble with dining companions over a few dollars.

I used to have lunch every Friday with a "friend" who always ordered way more than I did and sometimes bought cake or cookies to take home to her husband (who was a diabetic!). This went on for nearly six months and I always paid half the bill. After a while, when she'd order a cake for her husband I'd get one for my partner. She then started pocketing the change.

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mensa58 December 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I coordinated a lunch outing for a social club. I didn't ask for separate checks because it was a buffet; beverages were about the same price so we just split the check evenly amongst all attendees. Doesn't take rocket science to figure it out.

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Sushi January 25, 2015 at 8:28 pm

I work at a sushi restaurant in a college town. During the cold months, international students who dine in ask for hot water all the time. Funny thing is one time I suggested it to an American customer, and they looked at me like "who drinks hot water?" International students love to tip 10% plus/minus the change, which sucks, but when they ask for the bill, they don't really care who ordered what, "just split it four ways" (i.e., for a four top), which I appreciate.

It is unfortunate you cannot split individual items, though. My old job the computers used to have that problem, but then again no one really got upset when I told them about it.

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Ruby March 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm

My great aunt (a French Canadian lady born in 1903) used to drink hot water with breakfast every morning. I always thought it was weird, until I went on a truly awful camping trip. It sleeted, snowed, then sleeted some more. I was so cold and desperate to warm up that I couldn't wait for coffee to brew. That cup of hot water was possibly the most satisfying beverage I've ever had! I'm guessing my aunt got into the habit while growing up very poor in a chilly house.

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CBussey February 5, 2016 at 1:49 pm

WHY is ordering water with lemon a pain for you? I order it all the time because simply I do not drink and I don't drink soda either! It sure doesn't mean I'm cheap and that I can't "afford" to drink anything else and hate when people imply that. I simply LIKE WATER WITH LEMON

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Ali K June 8, 2016 at 10:09 pm

No. You are cheap. At the very least, order tea.

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Amy May 16, 2017 at 11:42 pm

It isn't always about being cheap. I order water with lemon (as does my mother), because I am pregnant and have been ordered by my doctor to not drink anything but water for the remainder of my pregnancy…..my mother is diabetic and doesn't like the taste of unsweetened tea. Whether this lady has a medical reason for not ordering something else or simply prefers the taste of water is really none of your business. It doesn't ALWAYS have to be about being "cheap". Get a clue before you post, otherwise you just sound uneducated and rude.

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Rosie April 12, 2016 at 3:17 pm

I just always wonder why so many people eat with people, you know- sit down and spend quality time with- people that they aren't willing to buy a meal for??? It just seems so tacky. I am a server myself so I am no high-society debutante, but to me it is just really low class to go eat out with one's mother/sister/business associate, etc., and not just pick up the tab. I take my mom out to eat all the time. I usually pay the bill and she will leave the tip. Sometimes she pays and I leave the tip. My sister makes a lot more money than us and when we go out with her, she usually pays the tab. I am always amazed when I serve a mother and daughter at my restaurant, or a table of 4 nice ladies who are clearly sisters, and then they ask me for separate checks. It actually makes me feel a little bit (very mildly) like they are making ME and my restaurant (just a little) accomplice to their lack of tact. I seriously used to wait on a weekly table of sweet old men who would come in and have coffee and pie and chat for 2 or 3 hours, and then ask for separate checks. Every week. Wouldn't the logical and elegant solution be for one of them to pick up the WHOLE check each week?! BUY YOUR BFF LUNCH!!! Seriously.

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Amber May 9, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Why is it such a big deal to split bills or order water. It's not about being cheap, it's about covering your bill. Some people don't drink crap and stick to water because that is all they drink, it is much healthier then pop. Some people simply want to pay for their own meal and not buy their colleague's, friend's, etc. meal. There is nothing wrong with ordering a pizza between 2 or 3 people and sharing it and also splitting the bill. If I go out with friends for pizza and someone decides to order an appetizer that I don't share in, yet I share in the pizza and want to cover my share of the cost of the pizza I shouldn't be obligated to pay for an appetizer or dessert that I neither wanted or had simply to make your job easier on you.

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Ali K June 8, 2016 at 10:13 pm

It's a big deal because it's you being stupid. A lot of systems won't let you split single items. I've worked with several POS systems and none of mine allow it. You can easily split a bill in half, separate items, etc., but you can't always split a shared item onto two bills. If you both shared a pizza and drank water, your bill would be the same. If you can't pay $1 more because your friend had a soda and you stuck to water, I have no idea how you would possibly have any friends who would want to dine with you anyway. So that's another issue.

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Dumbwaiter August 27, 2016 at 12:44 am

Haha, oh Amber. Having just discovered this site, I've been binge-reading all of the posts, and there you are in the comments of most of them. I don't know you, obviously, but I have to say you come across as kind of a bummer.

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Hasan June 18, 2016 at 12:39 am

I never request separate checks. Usually that is to my impairment, however I'm not going to trouble eatery staff or bandy with eating sidekicks over a couple of dollars.

I used to eat each Friday with a "companion" who constantly requested far more than I and in some cases purchased cake or treats to take home to her significant other (who was a diabetic!). This continued for about six months and I generally paid a large portion of the bill. Before long, when she'd arrange a cake for her better half I'd get one for my accomplice. She then began stashing the change.

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Lickson Sinha January 5, 2017 at 1:01 pm

No, I do not request separate checks. I am just going to share my personal views on it. Different people have different suggestions. According to myself, I should not make any trouble when eating.
I like to eat each Sunday with my girl friend, she always tries to help me. Sometimes I take some from her and sometimes not. sharing and caring is necessary but we should keep in mind about the positive impact of the relationship. Also I do not like the terms of give and take. Finally, I'm not going to bother restaurant staff or quibble with dining companions over a few dollars.

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Marisa Morme January 6, 2017 at 12:45 pm

It sure doesn't mean I'm cheap and that I can't "afford" to drink anything else and hate when people imply that. I coordinated a lunch outing for a social club. I didn't ask for separate checks because it was a buffet; beverages were about the same price so we just split the check evenly amongst all attendees. Doesn't take rocket science to figure it out.

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