General Question

nikipedia's avatar

Two money questions? (I'm abusing punctuation?)

Asked by nikipedia (27519points) July 18th, 2008

(1) When your friends ask you to donate to X cause (and let’s assume it’s a worthy one), what’s the least you can give and not look like a jerk? What if you get hit up multiple times in the same week?

(2) You’re out to dinner with a small group. The bill comes. Do you:

(a) divide evenly
(b) negotiate separate payment agreements based on what each person ordered

Why?

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17 Answers

monsoon's avatar

I don’t know about number one, but for number two I always pass the bill around so people can pay their own portion, and then have everyone chip in for tip. Tip can be split evenly if it’s huge, or people can throw in however much they feel like as long as you trust every one to do their part.

I’ve never had a big dinner and had people split it evenly. That’s just odd.

Knotmyday's avatar

1. If you already donated, tell them so. If you are asked to donate to similar causes, let them know which you prefer.

2. Ask the wait to itemize the bill, and pass it around. (Or separate checks if possible)

In both cases, you stand to lose hard-won wages unnecessarily.

urugeht's avatar

(1) The least amount of money I donate is usually about $5 or $10, but if people from the same organization ask you to donate again, you can tell them that you’ve already donated.

(2) When I eat out with my group of friends we usually go with option B: separate payment. Mostly because we all have different appetites. I don’t really eat a lot and so it wouldn’t be fair if I had to pay more than I ate.

marinelife's avatar

1. I say “I’m sorry, my charitable allotment for this year has already gone to the causes I support.”

2. A. Ask for separate checks.
B. Everyone pays their portion plus tip. Because there’s usually at least one piker, someone monitors what goes in. Maybe some people had alcohol and some did not. Why should the non-drinkers pay for someone else’s drink? Maybe someone had a huge lunch and only ordered an appetizer to be sociable.

C. I only do this if we both essentially had the same thing. it is too hard in a big group.

In theory, neither of the situations you describe should be a big deal. It has been my experience, however, that especially in office settings people take advantage of it.

You are probably too young to remember the Tim Conway and Harvey Korman sketch on Carol Burnett where Tim is a new hire who gets paid the first time, and people come and take dollar after dollar from him for this cause and tht cause until his whole check is gone. I looked for it on YouTube, but could not find it.

scamp's avatar

1. I donate privately to the chairites of choice, and don’t let friends talk me into donating to one I would not.

2. When dining out, I pay for my own. Dividing the check never seems to work our fairly.

shilolo's avatar

For the later situation, we typically just split the bill evenly. Haggling over who had two drinks versus one, dessert, appetizer, steak vs salad, etc. seems so painful and gauche. I come from the Seinfeld school of thought, which is that in the end, I will be even steven.

skfinkel's avatar

On the second question, I usually split the bill. As long as what was consumed was approximately even. If one of you guzzles wine, then hopefully that person will offer to pay more.

Knotmyday's avatar

Speaking of guzzling wine- Darth Vader attacks!.

“10 litres” seems like a lot.

jlm11f's avatar

I think the answers to your questions depends on the stage of life of the person in question. As a broke college student, who is already in debt and can only expect further loans and debt for medical school, I really can’t swipe my credit card everywhere and just imagine it to be a magical piece of plastic. If someone asks me to donate for a charity, I tell them that I am not currently in the position to help them out. Some of my friends do use the “oh i already donated” method, but I know I haven’t and have no intention of donating anything so I would rather not lie about it. As for the second dilemma, it is always avoided by “separate checks” or if the restaurant doesn’t do that, I am usually the “banker” who ensures that everyone pays for their meal + tip. So far, no one has tried to gyp the others while paying for the check…so it all works out.

That said, I believe that once a person is in position to donate, 10 or 20$ should be happily given without any regret. Once I am set in my career, I will find it my civic duty to give back to the community, and will be glad to do what little I can. Once you are older, and have the money, the dinner situations also become a lot more relaxed, sometimes you might decide to foot the whole bill, or people just don’t pay that much attention to who pays how much. Of course, if one person decided to empty the bar of all it’s liquor, and thus has a considerably higher bill, then they should themselves have the decency to pay for it, but if they don’t, I would be happy to step in and tell them to pay :).

Going back to the “not in position to donate currently” bit, even though students and other financially troubled people cannot donate, they can still give back by volunteering for the same charities etc. If I really like the sound of a certain charity, I let the person know that I can’t help out financially but would be happy to assist them in any other way. Money is rarely the only way you can help someone out.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Funny, I just read this article this morning!

1. My friend’s and I have an understanding not to ask each other for money whether it be for charity or as a favor. If there is some sort of charity event going on they think I might be interested in they give me the information and leave me to do with it as I wish never knowing whether I donated or not and we do the same for them.

2. Sometimes with our friends and family we play a game of who can pay first. We fight over who pays for the meal. When the check is dropped we all make a dash for it to see who can get it first and then the loser glares at the winner of the bill.

Other times we’ll say “Let’s go to dinner, our treat.” Or if we are paying for ourselves then we ask for our own bill, but I always take the shared items onto my bill.

scamp's avatar

I’m taking you out to dinner!

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Where we going? Meet with me in a month, you can buy me a drink to go with it. ;-)

scamp's avatar

Deal! You name the place, and I’m there!

anonyjelly16's avatar

I really like this question because I have to deal with this all the time. So, I will try and write out how I deal with it and perhaps that will be helpful.

1) Charities:

My friends know not to ask me to donate to certain kinds of causes because they would rather not have to hear my annoying speeches.

First, I ask if the charity is religion-based. If so, its an immediate and non-negotiable refusal—I cannot support it because I simply do not know of any religion that has not caused misery to its own people or some other people under an implied agency of higher authority. So, that takes care of a lot of charities. Besides, so many people give to religious charities that they probably wont miss my measly donation anyway.

Second, I explain that I focus all my charitable giving on organizations that fit within my belief system. E.g. I believe there are lot of causes that are more immediate and pressing than religion, space research, or cancer research (even though my mom has it). So, I prefer charities that focus on basic survival (e.g. Hippo Rollers, clean drinking water, food, homelessness) and provides tools to lift oneself out of a miserable existence e.g. micro-credit organizations (focused on poverty and self-reliance through self-employment or business) or education (math, english, not a religious school), one laptop per child, Kiva, etc.

Third, I ask if the charity is focused only on a specific geographic area or is global. I prefer to give to those charities that don’t discriminate between countries, ethnicities, religions etc.

By the time this speech is over, the person has either left or has a cause that is actually worthwhile. And, if that is the case, I tell them that I have a “random” non-discriminatory system and will give them the smallest bill I have in my pocket that is greater than $1 but less than $50. Usually, that will turn out to be $5, $10 or $20. At this point, the person just wants me to be gone so they will take it and move on.

2) Dinner Bill:

This has taken a lot of work because culturally, I feel compelled to pick up the whole tab every time (the theory being that if I insist on it this time, someone else might the next time, and it will all even out in the long run amongst friends).

Now, after having been in the US for 15 years, I am able to resist that impulse sometimes and will just split it unless I clearly had more expensive food than the others—in which case, I will split it evenly and take care of the tip.

I have not yet been able to get to the point where everyone pays what they ordered unless there were separate checks anyway.

So, I am probably not the best equipped to answer question 2.

marinelife's avatar

@atharkhan I love your approach on the charitable giving. I might use that next time!

skfinkel's avatar

I thought I hadn’t been asked by friends to contribute, but I realize I have. It’s been in the form of lunches or auctions. A donation is paid, and then more if you buy something. But I would not attend if I didn’t like the cause. I have a system also for what I give to: it’s stuff that is preventative. So, I give to education endeavors, things which train or teach and lead, perhaps. to some kind of new understanding. I don’t tend to give to police, since they are mostly after the fact. I can give to environmental causes that are into preserving, but not to diseases of any kind—these are mostly for cures. I am looking for prevention. Public radio etc. is fine, since it’s educational. It’s kind of a fine line, but it works for me.

qashqai's avatar

I really don’t know how to answer question number one.

For the second, I ask the waiter to modify the bill by showing I was the only one taking dinner, and putting all the expenses of my friends (or whoever is dining with me) under the voice named “extras”.
Then I pay the bill entirely, and If it was a good lunch or dinner I tip generously.

Forgot to mention, my company at the end of the month will re-fund me the full amount shown on the receipt, plus the tip. (I still cannot invite anyone for dinner on saturdays and sundays, though).

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