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Nov 26, 2011 08:38 AM

Splitting the tab... Or am I attempting to be a show-off?

I am a fifty three year old single guy. Divorced for a couple of decades. I am thankful I have a great relationship with both my kids and their mother.
Often we will dine out as a group along with a few of the kids' friends and their spouses. They are all in their mid twenties and in various degrees of financial struggle. The table numbers in the 12-13 range. The ultimate bill is $300 + when all is said and done.
I, most times, pick up the entire tab. I am happy to do so for a number of reasons. First, I would gladly spend the same amount of money to have them as guests in my home (which for distance reasons is infrequent) and requires no prep or cleanup. Second, they all have their own money issues. Third, I absolutely hate the arithmetic minutia of splitting the bill. What better way to kill a nice evening of good food, conversation, laughs etc.?
I will often quitely (and out of sight) give the wait staff my credit card before the meal begins in order to avoid the end-of-meal financial accounting.
Everyone seems appreciative and thankful, but wonder if I am somehow being a dick by stealing someone else's opportunity to pick up the check. I also wonder if my son and son-in-law somehow feel like they are 'second-class' by my action.
I've often asked my daughter if anyone feels uncomfortable with this and she assures me they do not. But I think she would rather take a bullet than hurt my feelings.
Any thoughts...?

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  1. Very generous of you. By now your son and son-in-law know how you operate and if they had an issue with it they would a) beat you to he punch b) insist on paying at least their part or chipping in in for the tip c) speak up. If they havent done any of these things you are in the clear.

    When and where is the next get together?? =)

    1 Reply
    1. re: joe777cool

      My first time posting. Thanks for a thoughtful reply. I was expecting to get beat up.

    2. You merely give up the right to credibly complain about your guests not reciprocating your hospitality.....

      1. It's a dad thing to do and when they are able to reciprocate then hopefully you have raised them well enough for them to do this. As long as you are not being taken advantage of and you like and can afford to continue this then bring it on!

        4 Replies
        1. re: smartie

          i agree; it is a dad thing to do. when they get to a certain age, they will be proud to reciprocate.

          1. re: alkapal

            Exactly. At a certain point, one of them will try to take over the bill on a certain night, and he should graciously let them. But in the meantime, it seems like an absolutely lovely gesture, and that it's working well for all involved.

          2. re: smartie

            I agree with smartie, if you like and can afford it fine. I do wonder why you don't just ask your son and son-in-law.

            1. re: escondido123

              Hey everybody, thanks so much. What a thoughtful community! Escondido: To ask them outright, I think, would place an expectation on them that they may or may not be prepared to fullful. I don't want them wondering what bill to pay this month because they felt they had to live up to one of my questions. That's why I keep my mouth shut and asked on line. Thanks though.

          3. If you didn't give them your card at the beginning, but waited for the check, and others offered to pay or split it, would you let them? If you do want to split the bill, it doesn't have to 'arithmetic minutia', it's easy enough to give the server a number of cards and say split it equally, or half on this, a quarter on these two, or $50 on this, the rest on the other.

            Hopefully at some point your kids will make a point of saying they want to take you out and treat you. When they do, let them. It is nice to be treated, but it feels good to be the treater as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: babette feasts

              That's a great idea It would never have occurred to me. Didn't realizer servers had that option. It still feels like a pain in the neck. ...And when the numbers aren't so high, I have no problem with someone else jumping in with their credit card. Thanks for your advice!

            2. You're very generous. As long as you don't pick up any irritation on their parts, I think it's fine. My own dad is not very sensitive (though he means well) or quick to pick up social cues and he has on occasion overstepped boundaries. When my son graduated from high school we took a group out to dinner intending to pay, but my dad had slipped his credit card to the waiter beforehand. My husband felt dissed, treated as less than a adult man. Of course he didn't express it -- except to me afterward!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Glencora

                Yea. See, that has been my concern. Although I haven't picked up on any irritation (and I'm on the look-out for it) you've got me thinking.