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Getting Guests to Pay For Their Own Meals

iLander

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731
So, we have out of town guests, and they're on day 2. So far we have paid for every one of their restaurant meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus snacks. They don't even make a move toward the check. There are 2 more days to go. BTW, we did not invite them, they invited themselves, with a "we'll be in your area, we'd love to spend a few days!" At least they're in a hotel :rolleyes:

DH and I are so sick of this. We've had relatives come visit (a year ago), with literally 4 kids in tow, and we picked up the $100+ lunch bill (7 of them, 2 of us). We invited them for 2 pm, specifically so we wouldn't have to pay, but it turns out they skipped lunch! And the kids started whining, and the next thing you know . . .

Many year's ago, DH's dad passed away, the entire family went to a restaurant after the service. Yup. You guessed it, we picked up the $800 bill, even though DH was one of the youngest, poorest people there, just starting his career.

WHAT IS THE DEAL?!

In all our years of marriage (27!), we have had exactly 1 meal paid for by someone else. One. And that's because we gave my friend 2 nights free lodging and the meal was a lot cheaper than her hotel bill would have been. By far.

No one even makes a passing attempt to take the bill. Or offers to cover the tip. Or anything.

I'm starting to get kinda ticked . . . :|

Anybody have any hints on how to get other people to at least pay for their OWN meals?
 

orbaya

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2004
Messages
1,617
Can you just tell the waiter/waitress up front that it will be two separate checks as make your order? That way this couple should get the hint that they are responsible for their own meals. Obviously you can't make them pay for your meal, but this tactic should at least get you out of paying for them.
 

dragonfly411

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
7,378
iLander|1311968489|2980003 said:
So, we have out of town guests, and they're on day 2. So far we have paid for every one of their restaurant meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus snacks. They don't even make a move toward the check. There are 2 more days to go. BTW, we did not invite them, they invited themselves, with a "we'll be in your area, we'd love to spend a few days!" At least they're in a hotel :rolleyes:

DH and I are so sick of this. We've had relatives come visit (a year ago), with literally 4 kids in tow, and we picked up the $100+ lunch bill (7 of them, 2 of us). We invited them for 2 pm, specifically so we wouldn't have to pay, but it turns out they skipped lunch! And the kids started whining, and the next thing you know . . .

Many year's ago, DH's dad passed away, the entire family went to a restaurant after the service. Yup. You guessed it, we picked up the $800 bill, even though DH was one of the youngest, poorest people there, just starting his career.

WHAT IS THE DEAL?!

In all our years of marriage (27!), we have had exactly 1 meal paid for by someone else. One. And that's because we gave my friend 2 nights free lodging and the meal was a lot cheaper than her hotel bill would have been. By far.

No one even makes a passing attempt to take the bill. Or offers to cover the tip. Or anything.

I'm starting to get kinda ticked . . . :|

Anybody have any hints on how to get other people to at least pay for their OWN meals?

You're being too nice. Just tell the waitress/waiter when they start that you and hubs are on a bill. Simple, clear, to the point and not saying to their face "buy your own meal".
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,476
Um...I agree with the other two. You're letting them get away with it. Before you place your drink orders, you say "The two of us (you and your husband) will be on our own check." Problem solved.
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
orbaya|1311969098|2980014 said:
Can you just tell the waiter/waitress up front that it will be two separate checks as make your order? .
This is a no non-sense approach that's not awkward at all. If i'm going out with friends one of us will often let the server know upfront we'd like separate checks.

But seriously...Where is the generosity among your friends and family? I'm shocked at the widespread mooching which is either cluelessness or genuinely manipulative. I would totally take you to lunch, iLander.
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
Wow, that's kind of rude, isn't it? I've never really understood why out of town guests seem to think you'll (the general you) pay for everything. Why would you? I can see treating them to a nice dinner one night ("Welcome! We're so happy to have you here!") and maybe them treating you one night ("Thank you so much for having us!"), but that's about it.

I'd say something to the waitress the next time you're out. "Could we have separate checks please?" should cover it and obviously get the point across. You could also tell your friends, "We'd like to split the check tonight" or something to that effect the next time you go out.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
5,765
Bring enough cash to cover your share. When the bill comes, grab it and say "let's see, here's $40 for our share" and pass it on.
 

ImperfectGirl

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 27, 2010
Messages
309
This exact situation was often a problem when I dated my ex. Every single time we went out with other couples or friends they just expected he would pick up the tab. I think it started because he was very generous and would pick up the tab for drinks or a meal and then it just became expected. Eventually he did what previous posters suggested and let the waiter know up front how to split the check. Not surprisingly, a large number of "friends" started becoming unavailable to go to dinner after that. :rolleyes:
 

CJ2008

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
4,750
I started using the "we'll be on separate checks" tactic for the same reason (although not really out of town guests but just a couple that somehow never reaches for the check) and it works wonders. I don't find it uncomfortable to do, and actually it's kind of fun :bigsmile: to take control.

I don't get people.

ETA: ImperfectGirl - I was going to say something similar to this too. DH is very generous that way too - but he's learned over the years to spot the people who end up taking advantage and never reciprocating. With a little help from me of course. :bigsmile:
 

iugurl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2011
Messages
476
I feel for you! However, I would not put up with it. I would ask the waiter to split the bill! Every restaurant I have been to will divide the check up, even high-end $150+ per person restaurants. (At least in my area!) I would ask before the bill is even brought to the table. Even if the bill is already brought, I would still ask the waiter to split it!
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
Messages
9,294
kelpie|1311969730|2980029 said:
orbaya|1311969098|2980014 said:
Can you just tell the waiter/waitress up front that it will be two separate checks as make your order? .
This is a no non-sense approach that's not awkward at all. If i'm going out with friends one of us will often let the server know upfront we'd like separate checks.

But seriously...Where is the generosity among your friends and family? I'm shocked at the widespread mooching which is either cluelessness or genuinely manipulative. I would totally take you to lunch, iLander.
Ditto!

We've never done separate checks in my family or with any of our friends. Even family events that were 20+ people were paid for by one person but the next event was paid for by another and so on. We all got to have a great time and enjoy but no single person/couple got stuck with the bill. Same with our friends. Usually the check comes and at least two people each reach for the bill, there is some debate about who GETS to pay. Again, it all balances out.

I can't imagine taking advantage of someone like that! They aren't even YOUR guests, they're in a HOTEL. You just happen to live in the area. :nono: :nono:


Maybe "have other plans" for dinner tonight so you don't have to deal with them and ask for separate checks the rest of the time they are here.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,955
Your expectations are your responsibility.
Just stop paying.
Tell them the rest of the meals are on them since you paid for the last two days.

People vary.
Not everyone shares your views on manners and protocol.
When this becomes an issue you speak up.

This public politeness followed by private resentment thing is not necessary, yet I see again and again in posts from PS members.

I think we are happier when we are as similar as possible on the inside and the outside.
 

cookies

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 5, 2010
Messages
706
iLander, you and your husband are very generous, and I am sorry other people are taking advantage of your kindness. Getting separate checks sounds like an excellent idea, although I think it might be a little awkward no matter how/when you tell the waitress that.. But chances are, you won't speak to those people that often any way (after their visit).

One friend of mine is like that too. She is great, except when it comes to money-related items. When we meet around lunch/dinner time, she would suggest that either I buy her a nice meal, or we split some cheap snacks. I usually end up getting a nice meal for both of us as I don't want myself to suffer. I know she is not poor. She is just very cheap. She would never offer to buy any food or drink for me, not even at McDonald's.
 

cookies

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 5, 2010
Messages
706
amc80|1311970517|2980043 said:
Bring enough cash to cover your share. When the bill comes, grab it and say "let's see, here's $40 for our share" and pass it on.
This is a great solution!
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
Oh that is so irritating. I'd tell them directly, something like "how about we have separate checks?" I'd address it directly with them (and then the server). I just can't believe that they expect other people to pay!
 

mrssalvo

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
19,132
Just ask for separate checks and don't worry about what your guests might thing. It is not your responsibility to feed them unless you want to and since you stated you don't, you've got to take control and just stop paying for them.
 

AmeliaG

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
880
OK, here's a dumb question.

If they invited themselves for this visit, and they're staying in a hotel, do you really need or want to go out with them every breakfast, lunch and dinner during their stay? What about your own plans? It would be different if you invited them.

I'd make my own plans and tell them I had previously arranged plans so they're on their own.
 

Kaleigh

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
29,570
mrssalvo|1311973460|2980077 said:
Just ask for separate checks and don't worry about what your guests might thing. It is not your responsibility to feed them unless you want to and since you stated you don't, you've got to take control and just stop paying for them.
+1.
 

maplefemme

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
874
It's really very simple, stop paying for them, your generosity is not appreciated, you're just being taken advantage of and giving in to it, and that breeds resentment but it's completely in your control to change their behaviour by simply not bowing down to it.
Ask for separate bills or take cash and put down your share and sit back. You have no reason to feel guilty for it.
I had the same situation with my ex MIL when she'd visit from overseas, not only would she stay for more than double the time scheduled, the queen of Sheba never lifted her finger to pay and we dined out every day. I finally put my foot down, the gravy train was OVER.
Just do it, you'll feel liberated :D
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
AmeliaG|1311973775|2980081 said:
OK, here's a dumb question.

If they invited themselves for this visit, and they're staying in a hotel, do you really need or want to go out with them every breakfast, lunch and dinner during their stay? What about your own plans? It would be different if you invited them.

I'd make my own plans and tell them I had previously arranged plans so they're on their own.
Good point!
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
tell them you're going "dutch treat". if they don't know what it is, tell them.

tell them that since you've paid for the past two days, you're expecting them to pick up the tab for the next two days.

when the waitress asks for your order, tell her "the two of us are on one tab and the rest are together as a family on another tab". when the their tab comes DO NOT PICK IT UP. my guess is they'll still try and get you to pay for it by saying they don't have enough cash or didn't bring a credit card.

don't go out to eat with them.

meet them at their hotel and suggest you eat at the restaurant there because it will be so easy for them to put it on their tab.

tell them you're coming to visit with them next and that you're looking forward to all the restaurants they'll be taking you to.

turn the tables and say you didn't bring cash or a credit card.

however, it would be easier and cleaner to just be upfront about it to make sure they do have enough $ or credit cards on hand to cover it. a simple "we're going to ask for separate checks at the restaurant and i/we just wanted you to be prepared as i/we know that hasn't been the case in the past." then do it!




don't enable them any further.
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
iLander, honey -- the advice to get separate checks is great. If Your tone of voice is matter of fact, neither apologetic nor resentful, they shouldn't be offended. You aren't their hosts. In fact, I'd get busy at mealtimes the next 2 days, if it were me.

Sometimes people feel it's polite to reach for the check, expecting the other party to offer their share or take it all. Could be why the freeloaders come out of the woodwork for you; they know they'll get away with sitting there silently. Don't! You or your DH don't need to be the first to grab it every time.

We had "friends" who never paid for themselves. One night they showed up, staying at a hotel, when we already had people staying at our house. This couple, including their 2 kids, invited themselves out with us & our guest couple. DH had just lost his job & I wasn't working either -- in a recession. The check came & DH and I simply sat there. A long silence got longer -- it would have been awkward except I was really p.o.'d that they'd expect us, with no income, to pay for everybody. I actually enjoyed watching this crew squirm. :twisted: Eventually the couple staying w/us -- who had never met the 4 others -- paid the bill. Not fair. I was so disgusted, I never returned any of their calls or cards & we never saw them again, after knowing them well for 10 yrs. Enough was enough!

You are not obligated to pay simply because you're eating a meal together.

--- Laurie
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
I'm curious as to how this happens?These people visit from out of town and you are paying for their meals?Why are you?You needed to make it clear from the first meal with these people that it was separate checks.Ive met people who really believe that an invitation to eat out is the treat of the one making the invitation and by paying for these people the first time it just reenforced that belief. I also think it would be smart to not join them for every meal and when the waitress asks about separate checks then jump on that boat if you do join them! Just because you are a nice person does not mean you have to pay for every ones meals just take care of your own and let everyone else deal with their responsibilities.
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
UNREAL. Your friends and family are RUDE! I absolutely hate freeloaders! I agree with everyone else: from here on out, at every meal you go to with other people, tell the waitress up front that you'll need separate checks. They've done it this long because you've let them get away with it!

Let us know how it goes when you meet up with them for the next meal! Or just don't meet up with them for meals anymore...that's what I'd want to do after being mooched off of for years!
 

PinkTower

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
1,129
You are eating out 3x/day? How do you have time to do anything else? If you still want to host them, how about inviting them over for dinner? I would make it simple if you work all day, which I do. Rolls, a salad and throw a salmon on the grill. It is in season now, and really cheap. If that is too much work, buy a frozen lasagna, or order in a couple pizzzas. You are just too nice. Are these "friends" or relatives? You can't choose your relatives, but you can choose your friends.
 

canuk-gal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
21,152
HI:

I dunno. My sister and I just hosted our Mother for two weeks on a Cali vacay and we both paid for everything. I really did not mind. My DH recently did the same for his family but he really wanted to "treat".

However, if I am lunching out with friends--mutually made arrangements--I always ask for seperate checks. If I make the invitation, I pay.

cheers--Sharon
 

jaysonsmom

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
3,452
Also the person initiating the meal can set the tone by how they ask for the get together:

1) I'd like to take you and your family out for lunch. (implies the person is treating)
2) Do you want to meet up for lunch today? (implies that no one is treating, each paying their own way)
 

jaysonsmom

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
3,452
jaysonsmom|1311983181|2980177 said:
Also the person initiating the meal can set the tone by how they ask for the get together:

1) I'd like to take you and your family out for lunch. (implies the person is treating)
2) Do you want to meet up for lunch today? (implies that no one is treating, each paying their own way)
As for family, my parents stay with me 2 months out of the year, and we take turns with groceries, and also take turns paying when eating out. My sister-in-law and her husband also stayed with us for about 3 months when looking for a house...same thing.
 

marymm

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
4,273
I'm trying to figure out why you classify these people as your out-of-town guests -- you didn't invite them, you didn't even know they were coming to your area til they notified you of their plans... how does that make them your guests?

I only make this distinction if I am inviting guests to my home, or if friends/relatives confer with me to find mutually convenient dates to come to my area (whether they stay in my home or in a hotel) so we can all spend time together, then I would voluntarily and happily cover several meals for our entire group.

If people basically tell me out of the blue they'll be in my area and somehow expect first that I'm available to spend every mealtime with them, and second that I would be paying for all their meals -- I would be flabbergasted. Not only do I have a life and commitments, but I would see eating out 3 meals a day (and snacktime?) for two days and counting to be excessive both in terms of food intake and in terms of spending time even with expected and/or favored guests, let alone unannounced visitors and/or freeloaders.

You are being taking advantage of, but it is only happening because you keep saying yes and pulling out your wallet. If you can't be frank with these people (friends? relatives?) then simply inform the wait staff that you and your husband will have a separate check. It really is that easy.
 

TristanC

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
995
kenny|1311972075|2980064 said:
Your expectations are your responsibility.
Just stop paying.
Tell them the rest of the meals are on them since you paid for the last two days.

People vary.
Not everyone shares your views on manners and protocol.
When this becomes an issue you speak up.

This public politeness followed by private resentment thing is not necessary, yet I see again and again in posts from PS members.

I think we are happier when we are as similar as possible on the inside and the outside.
BIG +1 :appl: (Should I be worried that I seem to agree with Kenny alot?)

You should deal with the problem on the spot. You have little to lose: it sounds like if they don't head your way again you couldn't be happier.

I almost never pick up the cheque, because i always am the first to ask how much I owe. My question jars the rest of the moochers at the table, because if one guy/couple picks up the tab and some of the others at lunch start paying back, you'd look pretty stupid sitting there hoping your name doesn't get called for payment when the others have paid back their share.

When I DO pick up the tab, I just tell them what their share of it is that they owe us.

Treats work the same way too. I always offer to pay (genuinely), then someone would insist on covering or vice versa.

I don't hang out with anyone who always expects me to cover the bill, because I don't expect them to sleep with me after I've paid.
 
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