Article posted Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:52pm

Dear Mary Pat,

Brenda Lou and I have been going out to dinner for a long time with the Parcheeses and it is almost a ritual. But, in the past couple years part of the ritual isn’t to our liking. Mister P has a cocktail, two or three glasses of wine and the most expensive steak on the menu and Missus P tries the lobster while we generally have a cocktail and one of the starters…we don’t eat that much anymore. Obviously, our total for food and beverage is a third of what the Parcheeses have run up.

Then the bill arrives and Mr. P grabs the booklet, never opens it, whips out his credit card and sez “Should we split this?” Then he tosses the card and bill over to me. I want to say, “No, you enormous blot on sensitivity, you should pay the whole thing and then go stand out in the road and get hit by a bus!” But, of course, we don’t say anything.

How would you handle this?


Smoldering in Sturgeon Bay

Dear Smoldering in Sturgeon Bay,

You are not alone with this situation. This is a common complaint. Is it a coincidence that the guy running up the bill wants to go splitskis? I don’t think so. This is a classic cheap-skate-itis rearing its ugly head. Your friends put you in a really awkward position since you will end up looking like the one with alligator arms if you start calculating your cost versus their cost. This is an unfortunate side effect of having to stand your ground.

I would talk to the server ahead of time and let him/her know that you would like to receive the check. Then, you should carefully figure out what your portion of the bill is then make it clear that you have your portion of the total check covered and the rest is for their meals. If they seem offended, then maybe you should calmly explain that you only had a small portion of the bill. If this still doesn’t get through, then I would recommend limiting your time out with the Parcheeses.

Good luck,

Mary Pat