Why restaurants love it when you split the check
People tend to eat more lavishly when the bill is divided evenly among diners.
This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
You and your friends are eating out and you plan to divide the tab evenly. Now you're faced with a dilemma. Do you splurge at the expense of your friend's pocketbook, or do you eat light, knowing you're going to end up paying for your friend's lavish meal?
This seemingly innocuous event has caused enough consternation that a group of three scientists actually performed field experiments to see how unscrupulous people really are.
According to io9.com, the experiment went a little like this: A group of strangers gather to eat at a restaurant. The participants are each told how they will pay for their meal. Some will pay individually, some are told they will split the check, and the remaining people are told that the meal will be free.
The diners then ordered their meals without anyone else seeing what they had chosen.
The results of the dining experience are described by io9.com:
To no one's surprise, the people who paid individually were the most frugal, the people getting the free lunch were most extravagant, and the people who split the bill were in the middle, and therefore slightly unscrupulous.
Some diners were then told that they would have to pay just one-sixth of the cost of their individual meal. There was no difference between what those diners ate compared to those who were told they had to split the bill evenly, according to io9.com.
The 1/6th diners paid just about what the split-pay people did. So it seems we just like a good cheap lunch, no matter who it's coming from.
The study, entitled "The Inefficiency of Splitting the Bill," (.pdf file) also found that 80 percent of people would prefer to pay their individual bill rather than splitting it.
My husband and I went out to dinner one night with another couple and when it was time to pay the bill, the other couple told the waitress that we would just split it. Normally, I wouldn't think too much about it. But I was pregnant at the time, so I had been drinking water all night, while my husband and our friends drank several alcoholic beverages, none of which were cheap.
We definitely ended up paying way more than our fair share that night.
So, the next time you eat out with friends or family, think twice before agreeing to split the bill evenly. You might end up with the short end of the stick, and a much lighter wallet.
Have you been in the uncomfortable position of splitting a bill with friends before?
More on Money Talks News:
In this day and age, it is not difficult to tell the server at the beginning of the meal that separate checks will be the choice of payment. I don't feel a need to buy friends their dinner. And I don't let friends buy me dinner unless it is my birthday. I take my parents our for their birthdays and other times and I don't care what they order. They only order what they would if they were paying their own bill.
So what's the big deal people? Order separate checks and pay your own bill. Let those who over indulge do so. And let them pay their way. Splitting checks hardly ever comes out fair any more. Often times, people cheat their way through the bill and there's nothing left for the tip. Let's all be responsibe for ourselves.
Most of the time, in my many decades of going out to dinner with friends, we are all putting in TOO much and trying to figure out who should get money back. It's very common that at the end of the meal one of us will say, "Here's $2 back.. You put in too much." And the other person will insist they did not put too much in and should not get the $2 back.
Perhaps I just have better friends than the average person.
I will never split the bill "evenly" as it is never even compared to what you eat and in my mind will never be "fair". I will pay for my portion and that's it. The only time I will pay for someone else's meal is if I have invited them out and told them in advance that I am treating them. And when someone treats me I might pick something a bit more pricey than normal but I'm not going to order any of the top end items unless my host insists. And I always drink water when going out unless it is a special night and then I'll celebrate with an adult beverage of some sort, but only one.
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