Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Who’ll Get The Tab?

on 21 November 2009

One of the things I enjoy most about my job at the ‘bux is watching people argue over who’s going to pay. Okay, I don’t really enjoy it when it’s the “I don’t want to pay, you never pay, it’s your turn to pay” arguing, but I do enjoy the other kind.

The kind where grown adults are reduced to petty squabbling over who gets to pay for drinks. Really.

It’s generally assumed that women do this the most. They are out with their friend, and both want to pick up the tab to treat the other one to a delicious drink and pastry. Of course, they don’t coordinate ahead of time who is going to do the paying, so I ring up the order, get things straight, and then the fun begins.

Woman A holds out her credit card with the comment “It’s on me.” Woman B pulls back A’s arm, and extends her Starbucks card saying “No, it’s on me.” A reminds B that she paid last time. B informs A that her card is registered so the syrups and soy would be free. A insists that she’d rather pay regardless. B points out to A that the barista (me) is laughing at them, so A should just let B pay. A ignores B and reaches in front of her to extend her card to me once again.

In the end, I’m never sure who actually pays. I just accept the closest form of payment and go from there. It’s pretty fun to watch, though.

A little known fact is that men are just as guilty of doing this. Business men meeting for a coffee and negotiations always feel that they have to play ‘my expense account is bigger than your expense account’. Again, I just take the card nearest to me. Or when buddies come in to chat, and they both shove $20 bills at me (for their $4 tab). “I’ve got it, man.” “No, ‘sokay, I’ve got this covered.” This conversation will take twice as long as the female version, and will include them looking at me uncomfortably as if aware of how juvenile they are acting. In this case, I walk away for a minute or two. When I return, one $20 bill is waiting for me on the counter. It’s beautiful.

The good news is this debate over who will pay generally leads to better tips. Extra money and a free floorshow? Argue away!


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