I’m furious! Nothing fills me quite so much with dread these days as the large group meals. You know the kind I mean? Birthday dinners. Or hen do brunches. Work ones are the worst for me now. They weren’t so bad when I was a consultant and could generally expense most of the costs. Neither was I so bothered when I didn’t mind shelling out fifty quid for a meal. Now that I’m on a pretty tight budget it’s quite a different story.
Let’s set the scene. We have an away day in a different town tomorrow with a 9am start so we hopped on a train earlier today so that we would be spared 4am starts in the morning. Someone picked the restaurant and we agreed to meet at 7.45pm. My friends and I, staying at the same hotel, turned up a little bit late because eschewed a taxi in favour of a seaside stroll. I got placed at the end of a long table and picked up the menu. Shocked at some of the prices, £48 chateaubriand for 2 I’m looking at you, I opted for a starter and a main from the “tenner Tuesday” menu. This meant that I got a couple of smaller portions but a lovely cheap meal. I added a large glass of house wine for £5.35 and a bread board for £2.95 ensuring that even with the service charge, I would come in under the £20 that I could charge in as expenses.
I observed people ordering the £18.75 steaks, with additional sweet potato fries. Someone got the surf and turf, priced similarly to the steak but costing an extra £3.95. They ordered bottles of more expensive wine and a couple of people had more than one pint of lager. It’s not too difficult to keep a mental note of how much you’re ordering so that when the bill arrives, you can pay a fair share. What happens? The culprits, the biggest spenders, ask if it’s OK to split the bill evenly. No it definitely isn’t! But I couldn’t say that. It would seem cheap. Rude. In polite British society, you choke back your annoyance and smile tightly. Saying nothing.
So now I’m writing instead about how livid I am that I had to pay £28 when I’d carefully stayed within budget to ensure I wasn’t out-of-pocket in a super speedy week within my super spendy month! I know that they were all aware that they had spent more than the even split. It’s so unfair to everyone who didn’t drink alcohol or chose only one course. I’ll charge in the £20 but watch out for an even angrier post if for any reason I’m not given a refund for that soon.