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Splitting the bill -- tipping question

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When you go out for a meal with someone, do you add the tax/tip of what you owe when paying or do you split the total bill's tax/tip evenly with the other person, even if he/she owes significantly more than you on the meal?

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  1. if you're splitting, the split includes the tip&tax. typically, the only way to separate out things is to separate the bar/beer/wine bill from the food bill. But not the tip/tax from the food.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      Thanks. I guess I don't mean splitting in the 50/50 sense, but rather if I owe $25 on a $75 bill and my friend owes the other $50, I'd expect to pay tax/tip on the $25 while he cover the rest from his portion. My friend expected that we split the tax/tip on the $75 equally. I wasn't sure which is the norm.

      1. re: arvi

        Friend's like that who needs enemies.

        1. re: arvi

          I have split the bill many times with other people. We always 'split the difference', 50-50.
          However in any dinner situation, there is a variance of less than $10 dollars usually. So, I never quibble, ever.
          However, your case sounds very odd to me. It's very wide difference in a meal tab.
          I would give what I felt is fair.

          1. re: mcel215

            You dine in a rare group. I've often seen much greater differentials in different groups. People eating one or two less courses, people who are not drinking alcoholic beverages (for a variety of perfectly valid reasons), et cet. But we've had many hashings out of the etiquette of even splitting in other threads.

            1. re: Karl S

              I suppose...... ? But, I no longer go out with business people, just really good friends. Perhaps, that may be the difference Karl.

              1. re: mcel215

                Mine are almost always friends, but people have different diets, appetites, prescriptions, whatever. There's a lot more variety.

          2. re: arvi

            Your expectation is the norm for that scenario.

            1. re: arvi

              Your "friend" has quite a nice racket going. Free money if they go to dinner with you.

              1. re: arvi

                You are correct. You should tip on the amount of your share.

            2. Splitting the tax and tip on the entirety of a meal when there's a $25 difference in orders makes no sense.

              Mathematics is your friend in this case. Your friend's effort to simplify things is actually rude and reeks of being cheap. It's perfectly alright to whip out a calculator at this point.

              1. When we go out nowadays, the bill (and tip or service charge) is invariably divided equally amongst the payers. It matters not that I don't drink alcohol and rarely have dessert - or that someone else has had chicken, while I've had the most expensive steak on the menu. We are friends or family - simple as that.

                When I was working, there were a number of tight-fisted, mean-spirited colleagues who would always resist this equal distribution - saying " I only had one drink and no dessert". Great fun evenings they were with this bunch of no-mark tossers. Not.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Harters

                  The most recent, I believe, flame-fest on this distinct albeit somewhat related topic, dormant for about 2 years:


                  1. re: Karl S

                    No intention of flaming. Just a statement of fact that the company I keep always splits evenly (and that I prefer that - even though most times it costs me more than a "fair share". And a statement of fact that I did not enjoy it when folk want to get out the calculators at the end of the meal. What other folk do with their friends/family/colleagues is entirely a matter for them.

                    1. re: Harters

                      I see. Well, your prior comment was overflowing with judgmentalism about other folks, so I just thought you might be interested in a thread where that was hashed out in finer detail.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        Well, no, not really interested in the opinions expressed two years by other people. But am interested in the opinions expressed on this thread, of course.

                        And, yes, absolutely judgemental about a couple of my former colleagues. I said "no-mark tossers" and I meant "no-mark tossers".

                  2. re: Harters

                    I totally agree Harters, not fun at all. And having it said "up front" would give those people who don't agree, to have a chance to turn down the invite....

                    1. re: Harters

                      I think some of us "no-mark tossers" are probably the ones who for whatever reason always order less than everyone else. It may make sense when your orders are different each time, but if you can't drink alcohol or have certain dietary restrictions that limit how much you can order, it gets tiring have to pay extra every time.

                      1. re: queencru

                        Agreed. I worked for a company where we had frequent company lunches at god-awful restaurants like buffets and pubs, and several of the high-paid managers would order multiple drinks while lowly peons like I would order an appetizer and a glass of water. At the end of the meal, the managers would try to split the bill evenly between the group. Thank goodness for my outspoken friend, who had no problems loudly and publically standing up to the managers on two occasions and boldly stating that no, she would not leave $25+ when her share came to $10 (which is what she put down): that's all it took to shame them out of it and establish it as the norm for everyone to pay their share.

                        And it's not like we could get out of it, because if we didn't go, we weren't being very team-oriented. *rolls eyes*

                        1. re: vorpal

                          In my experience, this egregious abuse is far more common than the occurrence of miserly fellow-guests who calculate their portion down to the nearest dime, nickel or penny.

                    2. Thanks everyone! I thought my way was the norm but just wanted to make sure I wasn't violating some social etiquette all these years. I tend to just pay what is asked since I don't want to quibble about it.

                      I understand the impulse to split equally, but I think it can be rather presumptuous when you're out with friends of varying means.

                      1. Dude, who's your friend? Bernie Madoff?

                        1. there are two aspects of your question:
                          1) how to split the tip with your friends.
                          to this, i say that it is idiosyncratic with each set of friends.
                          with some friends we always split everything 50-50.
                          with others there is a proration.

                          2) what would happen if i contributed as though there was a proration and my friend didn't pick up the slack?
                          i am EXTREMELY uncomfortable undertipping in a restaurant when the service is reasonable. i will pick up the slack every time if my dining partner doesn't 'do the right thing.'
                          i may not go out to eat with that 'friend' again, but i won't undertip.
                          it isn't the waiter's fault that the division of the tip isn't being worked out well by the parties doing the dining.

                          1. Two words: separate checks. I've never been to a restaurant that would not do that. Ever. You pay for and tip on what you ordered. Come on, be reasonable.

                            People who get one check and split it evenly however-many ways have more disposable income than I do.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Parrotgal

                              My restaurant won't do it on parties larger than four. It takes forever, and we're just too busy.

                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                Yeah, I've been to several restaurants that won't split. There is a place down the street from where I work that absolutely refuses to split, even after much pleading. They won't even do multiple cards (i.e. if everyone just decided to split evenly) so either one person puts it all on their card or you pay the whole bill in cash. I don't have a problem with it--it's certainly their decision, I just don't go there if I know I'll be with a group that will have issues sorting out the bill.

                                1. re: pollymerase

                                  jfood finds a restaurant not evenly dividing a bill as ludicrous as not writing and leaving the specials and prices with the customer. Total BS.


                                  1. re: jfood

                                    To paraphrase one soup nazi ... "No tip for you!"

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      Well, I recall how people from certain non-US cities tell that certain bill-splitting software is readily available that makes it a complete non-issue where they live. US restaurant habits are yet again retrograde due to inertia.

                                      1. re: Karl S

                                        That software exists in the U.S. as well.

                                        Any corporate chain has it (e.g. Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden etc.).

                                        Having gone to one too many "group" office lunches, there is NEVER an issue if you notify the server ahead of time.

                              2. If it is an uneven split, my friends and I take our pre-tax total and add 30% and toss it in the pile.

                                Tax in SoCal is close to 10% and then 20% for tip.

                                Perhaps we pay a few cents or a dollar more than we should but it's easy and no hassle.

                                1. OK this is slightly in another direction but when splitting the check (50/50) have you ever been asked how much you're tipping? That has happened to me on a couple of occasions and I never want to answer. I prefer to tip 20% standard and leave more for very good service but I am well aware that many people don't tip that way and I hardly want to pressure them. But what is the point of the question? It is just weird.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Kater

                                    Happens all the time. first few times jfood was a little taken aback, but after that it is almost SOP.


                                    1. re: Kater

                                      Often, by close friends, and I prefer it: it is better to tip synchronize so that no one looks bad.

                                      1. re: vorpal

                                        Next time it happens I'm going to say 15% and then tip 30% and write 'Sorry my friend is so cheap' on the tab!

                                        1. re: Kater

                                          At restaurants that I love and frequent often, I'll do it to make sure that my friends tip sufficiently so as to not make me look bad, and if they insist on tipping low, I'll tip high to compensate. But LOL, your post gave me a nice chuckle :-).

                                      2. re: Kater

                                        This exact situation was one of the better jokes in the quasi-Seinfeld reunion on the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David took Jason Alexander out to lunch, split the check, and got apoplectic trying to guess how much Jason tipped (which he wouldn't tell him) so he could tip the same amount and not look cheap.

                                        1. re: BobB

                                          One of the few times I was totally on Larry's side!