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I Pay, You Pay — Whatever

I was just thinking the other day how much “paying” for a meal or whatnot is a large issue for Chinese people. In Hong Kong, there have actually been reported fights breaking out as a result of two individuals who wanted to pay the bill. Sounds weird right, what normal person wouldn’t let another person pay for the bill? LOL. On that note though, I’m writing this entry because I know of a family that particularly irks me when it comes to paying for meals.

To really help you make sense of this post, when family-friends and us get together, our method is simple… either one of us takes care of the entire bill or we simply split it evenly between all the people. Obviously this depends on the number of people eating, the type of food we ate and if there are any occasions that warrant a single person/family paying. I should point out that I highly doubt any of us “keeps track” per se, when it comes to paying. We don’t calculate the number of times of who paid and how much, we just treat each other back-and-forth and don’t explicitly keep on a piece of paper all those statistics. If anything, we simply take it in-stride and guesstimate paying for each others meals. Sometimes they are more frequent of smaller amounts and sometimes less frequent with larger amounts. Either way, all of us treat each other like family and we don’t bother stressing over small details as to “who-owes-who-what.

There is this one particular family… consisting of mom, dad and son. They are part of our general family-friends group and although when it comes to other things, I don’t mind them, they are extremely frivolous when it comes to money expended on meals. Like are you kidding me? Their household income is NOT low and compared to many of us within the group, they are well-off, so to imagine their cheapness when it comes to a dollar-or-two of difference amuses and shocks us. I have become bitter over this when I eat with them, especially over an incident that occurred about a month ago.

We ate at a buffet and the buffet naturally charges a lower price for their son who is still considered the “children” price. The price difference is about $4 less. So when it comes to splitting the bill at the end, I did a simple mathematical calculation. I took the entire total, added tips and split it between everyone, like usual. No one said a word, then at the end, the father says their portion is “unusually expensive” compared to everyone else. I showed him the amount on the calculator, then he said, “But my sons price is cheaper…” and then the mom pipes up, “That’s outrageous, why are we paying more when his meal costs less?“… I wanted to fucking scream and tell them they’re retarded because we’ve always split the bill per person and when THEY get to take advantage, they say nothing… but now that they’re paying an extra dollar they notice? Are you fucking kidding me? Your son orders expensive drinks that EVERYONE ELSE pays for and you don’t complain, but complain about the extra portion of the $4 discount (that’s also split between everyone else, which means they’re only paying 75-cents more) that you didn’t get?

Don’t get me wrong, I could hardly care less that your son orders an expensive drink while everyone else gets cheaper or free (water) drinks, since you split it between that many people, everyone’s only paying an extra few cents, but seriously.. if you want to calculate it bit by bit, we’ll do that. What infuriates me is that a lot of the times when we go to other restaurants, one of the “aunts” in her fucking retarded wisdom doesn’t count the child. Hello, is he really a child anymore? He’s 13.. he’s going through puberty, he eats MORE food than my mom and I put together and so should my mom and I get a discount off the split? Should he pay MORE because he EATS so much more? Hey wait a second… how come when we get the bill and your child doesn’t get counted, you don’t say, “Hey, you guys forgot to count my child, he ate too so he should pay…“? Ya, tell me why that is when things are to your advantage, you don’t say anything but when you have to pay an extra 75-cents you moan like a fucking little kid who lost their candy?

So my resolve has been from now on to make sure that when eating with them, just THAT particular family unit, that I ensure EVERY portion YOUR child eats, every drink YOUR child orders, is calculated dead-on-the-dot. If everyone else orders no drinks and your son does, YOU will pay for HIS drink, not US. From now on, I will calculate the bill and not defer it to your idiotic sister who thinks we don’t notice when she doesn’t count your son. I am not stupid, I will not allow your sister to think she can slide it underneath me that in fact, I am not only paying for my mother and I’s meal, but that of your nephew. No, when he orders drinks, we will not pay his share, because you refuse to pay for ours. You want to play accountant? I can too, because interestingly enough, I happen to have been awarded a community-recognition of Accounting Excellence when I graduated high school and have enough knowledge about numbers to tell the different whether I am covering for YOUR liability (a.k.a your son).

To recap, when I eat with you:

  • I will not allow anyone else to divide the numbers, I will do it for you, on a neat little program I have on my iPhone
  • I will ensure that if your son orders something no one else does, you are fronting that portion up
  • I will be relentless and you will pay for every meal portion and drink up-to-the-cent
  • I will not treat you to a meal, because in reality, I owe you NOTHING
  • I am not retarded and I do know when you are taking advantage of us and for your face/sake, I am not saying anything outright
  • As with the above point, your sister is equally stupid thinking that I do not notice when I am covering a portion of your son
  • Your son is not a child, he eats more than most adults, therefore if anything, don’t try to order things at the end, pack it up as tomorrow’s lunch/dinner – you can pay separately for that
  • When we eat buffets, each person/family will have a separate bill, most buffets are quite capable of doing those splits – hey, do you think you’re ordering that $5 drink anymore now that you have to pay for it fully?
  • You don’t get the left overs, don’t try… if I have to, I will eat it all, barf it back out or shit it back out in its ORIGINAL form, but don’t think just because you over-order, we pay, that you get to take it home

Inherently, I am not a cheap person, especially when it comes to people I love, family and friends. I have closed my eyes and dropped $100-300 to cover for an entire luxury meal before. I have paid for a meal for 20 people before, it did not faze me and I was quite happy to do so. When I eat out with my white friends, even though I order less, we all split the bill evenly. I refuse to let girls pay, whether they are my god-sisters, girlfriend or an aunt, it is the right gentlemanly thing to do to front up the bill. I tip generously, even though I have never held a waitering job. My Dad has however and has expressed to me how hard these people work for their money and if they provided good service, they deserve it. When carpooling, I usually offer to take my car because I enjoy driving and I would incur that driving cost anyways to drive myself. Although these things do not necessarily fully represent the person I am, surely, you can believe I’m not the type to care about every penny. However, should you choose to do that with me, I will ensure that whatever your bill comes to and every morsel you ate or drink you drank, it will be your responsibility to cover.

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