Dinner With Friends…

We are still having issues with the Internet.  And I didn’t have the energy or the strength last night to fight with it to post an entry.  I do know that the new modem is here and it’s out of the box, but my roommate was in bed when I got home so I don’t know if it’s working or what needs to be done to make it work.  I know that I can’t wait till we can tell Time Warner to go fuck themselves.

I still have a bunch of things to blog about, but I thought I would go with what’s fresh.

I had dinner with my friend Ryan and his girlfriend tonight.  Ryan is a friend from grad school.  We hit it off because I teased him constantly about coming to happy hour and drinking and he almost never said yes.  And then the four or five times he did come we would talk to the wee hours of the morning.  We chatted mostly about the state of the theatre and we both agreed that we really didn’t have any urge to be a part of the mainstream.  He more so than me.   These conversations lent themselves to talking about the kind of projects that we would like to work on, who we would like to work with etc.

I graduated a year ahead of him but we emailed occasionally and stayed in touch.  When he graduated last year he moved to NYC.  Since then we have a hung out a few times.  At first it was mostly drinks here and there and coffee.  He’s an actor/temp and I’m a designer/waiter so our schedules are hard to coincide but we manage every couple of months.  And in the meantime we leave voice mails keeping the other abreast of what’s going on.  For example I got a text last week letting me know that the Law and Order episode he filmed last fall was finally being broadcast so I knew to DVR it.  (That’s why I DVR’d every episode of L&O last Wednesday because I wasn’t sure which one it was.)

And so tonight I had dinner with Ryan and his girlfriend.  I might also mention at this point that Ryan wants me to get him hired at the restaurant that I work at because he makes such lousy money temping.

So here’s the problem:

They tip like Canadians.

Every single time we have gone out I have had to leave the tip for all of us.  That’s if they put enough money in for the bill at all.  That’s the other thing that rubs me the wrong way.  The divide the bill down to the penny and then calculate how much they owe.  Tonight our bill for three came to ninety-one dollars and some change.  I did the math in my head rounding up and figured out that I owed 47.00 plus tax and tip.  I had two margaritas and that’s why my bill was so expensive.  They then figured out between them that their total was 40.00 plus tax and tip.  I’d be okay with this if it was true.  But it wasn’t.  My entrée was 18.00 so I counted it as 20.00.  My two margaritas were 16.00 so I counted it as 20.00.  My Diet Coke was 1.50 so I counted it as 2.00.  And my third of the nachos was three dollars so I counted it as 5.00.  That total coming to 47.00.  Now in case you weren’t paying attention on all four occasions I counted my total as at least fifty cents more than I owed and some times four dollars more than I owed.  So I was a little stunned when they decided what their total was going to be.   I was even more stunned when they handed me 45.00  to cover their share of the bill.  That barely covers the tax let alone the tip.  And this guy wants to be a waiter.  I don’t know where.

I didn’t say anything.  I pocketed the money they gave me, whipped out my debit card and paid the tab.  I left more than 20% because although the service wasn’t personal they were very attentive.

The first time Ryan and I went out to eat we split the 40.00 check in half.  He gave me 20.00 and got up to go to the bathroom.  I of course paid the check and included the tip.  The last time we went out to eat he and his girlfriend decided that a 10% tip was okay since it was just Indian food and they didn’t like the service or the food.

So I’m left trying to decide how to deal with this.  I like Ryan, and I like hanging out with him, but I don’t like having to pick up the slack and I like even less the idea that he’s not tipping across the board.  Any one who’s read my blog for more than ten minutes knows how I feel about people who don’t tip.  On the train ride home tonight I was completely ready to just tell him to go fuck himself.  But that’s probably not the answer.  I’m probably going to have to have dinner with him again and point out that he’s not paying his share and explain to him that if he’s not willing to do so, then I can’t hang out with him anymore.

But that seems to adult like.  And you know that I don’t like being an adult.  No really.  I don’t

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4 thoughts on “Dinner With Friends…

  1. Kelly March 26, 2008 / 06:05

    I don’t think I would jeoaordize the friendship over tipping and food bills since you do not go out that often. I would, on the other hand, somehow start talking about theatre work, then slide in a waiter work story, then slide in one of your stories about a bad night of tipping and how you loose money when you do not get 20%… just be a bit subtle… but don’t loose your friend over it…

  2. Lemuel March 26, 2008 / 07:00

    I kind of like Kelly’s suggestion. Can you ease some of your “bad tipper” stories into the conversation? Perhaps – even if Ryan disagrees – it will open up the topic for discussion and lay the groundwork for him to do some thinking.

    Your story reminds me of one of my trips to NYC for training for one of my former employers. A high school classmate (in h.s., a bud) lived in CT and had worked for many years in the city. He had made mega-bucks. We had lost track, but recently had reconnected. He agreed to meet me in Manhattan for dinner one evening. At the end of the meal, he pulled a “Ryan”. I was pissed. It was the last time we got together (15 years ago).

  3. Sarah March 26, 2008 / 12:02

    Well, if they tip like Canadians, you might introduce the Canadian custom of having separate checks. I hate this. It’s right up there with the crappy tip. If you can do long division, you should be able to split a tab yourself.

    If you can’t bring yourself to bother the waiter to split the checks then start explaining how you have to tip the bartender and the bus boy and the runner and how you can end up walking with less than you get taxed on and how you have all these side duties and you don’t even get paid the full minimum wage because waiters are supposed to make up for it with tips and that some places tip pool and waiters who make lousy tips screw you all over.

    If none of that works, stop dining with these two. It’s what happens to people who do this sort of thing. They dine alone.

  4. dirkmancuso March 28, 2008 / 06:16

    I’d have to go along with the other suggestions that you “subtlely” work in some work horror stories about poor tippers, how the tipping works, etc. If that doesn’t work, well, as Sarah said…they dine alone.

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