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Nov 15, 2011 09:45 AM

Pay v. Not Pay: Based on Generation a/o Region?

Stemming from:

Do you pay for your guests?
Country/Part of the country if USA

USA, Boston area

Thanks. Just curious.

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  1. I have often gone out with a group of people for someone's birthday and the check was split among all of us--except for the birthday boy or girl who we all treated. And that's been true on both coasts for my whole adult life of 40 years. (This does not say someone couldn't plan a special party at home or restaurant where they paid for everyone--either as the birthday person or good friend, I'm just saying what is typical.)

    1. I think it is mostly a combination of age and socio-economics. When I was in grad school, and poor, there was no question; it was assumed that everyone was going to pay their own way. I don't fault anyone who is young and/or struggling financially from being unwilling to pick up a huge check for an outing. Those who are better off can assume that "things will even out" (and it's even ok if they don't). My crowd tends to be more of a potluck type group than a "let's go out to a restaurant" type, so I don't even have a definite answer on what is assumed. Even though we're comfortable now, I wouldn't expect to be treated. Demographics: 50ish and northeast suburban.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DGresh

        Things are pretty much the same in my circle - meals at restaurants are split, with everyone chipping in a little to pay for the person of the hour if it is a birthday or other celebration. Dinner parties are almost always potlucks, or cooking together is part of the party.

        Late 20's, Southeastern college town.

      2. No
        USA, Utah

        I look forward to reading replies. I too found that thread very interesting!

        1. Yes.
          USA, Richmond, VA area

          1. That's hard to say because if they're "guests" then I think you'd pay or they wouldn't be guests. That said, if we invite people to dinner ("We'd like to take you out for dinner...", we pay. If we suggest going out ("Do you all want to get together for dinner..."), we split. The latter happens 95% of the time.

            But, for a birthday celebration, if gifts are brought, birthday person pays (maybe this is an asian thing) but if there are no gifts, the others usually cover the birthday person. But, there are no hard and fast rules.

            Post baby boom but not gen x
            DC area but have lived everywhere on the coasts--LA, Bay area, Boston, south,...

            2 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              The gift issue is a good litmus test. If a gift is expected or appropriate, that stays 'guest' rather than a group taking someone out for a birthday dinner.

              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                I didn't know if that was more an Asian thing that you HAVE to treat if you're ever given a gift or a general American thing. My BIL, not Asian, threw a party for my SIL, had everyone chip in (which ended up more than the cost of the dinner) and everyone brought a gift. We joked that it was his fundraiser but, we chalked it up to his upbringing.