Dear ELV

Dear ELV,

My girlfriends and I love to check-out the latest & greatest bar and restaurant scene together for a “Girls’ Night Out” type of thing. Therefore, we tend to descend upon hot spots like a posse in a group as large as 8-10 peeps. Occasionally, we catch the condescending look from the wait staff when we ask for separate checks.

I’m not paying for the guzzling appetite of “Lucy the Lush” when I’m a lightweight with a budget to match. I see both sides of this argument as the waiters shouldn’t have to take additional time to remember each of our orders and keep the math straight on a busy night hoping to get a good tip from each for the extra efforts. My question is who is right or wrong here, or who stands on the moral high ground, or what is the right thing to do?


Sober and Sensible

Dear Boring,

ELV loves seeing groups of drunk women in bars and restaurants. It’s what he calls a TARGET-RICH ENVIRONMENT! He understands, though, that his enthusiasm for your clippy-cloppy-heeled, fake Prada purse, Carrie Bradshaw-wannbe crowd may not be shared by those paid to wait on you.

For better or worse, groups of women, like groups of dentists or aerospace engineers, aren’t as valued as customers as they should be. They are perceived as penny-pinching tightwads who cause more trouble than they are worth with such requests as: “May have have the sauce on the side?” or “Could you check with the sommelier about what the relative brix of the grapes was at harvest?” Add these to the burdens of a harried waitstaff and you have a recipe for a failed relationship.

When you pester the waitstaff with what YOU want, a la Carrie with her CONSTANT NAGGING of Mr. Big in seasons 1-4, all you do is drive them away. Better to kneel before Zod, a la Samantha and her early days with Smith Jerrod, in order to win their trust, confidence, and the occasional free J├Ąger shot.

The fact of the matter is, your waiter is much more in charge of your happiness than you are. You must submit to him, playfully at first, and then, as your evening progresses from one slow, sultry stage to the next, completely and passionately to his turgid-yet-tender demands. In other words: SEPARATE CHECKS ENSURE CELIBACY! You could look it up.



10 thoughts on “Dear ELV

  1. ELV has watched four seasons of SITY. That’s impressive.

    On the serious side, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask for separate checks, but would strongly recommend doing it when ordering, and just being conscious that it does involve a little more work. I don’t think it unreasonable that parties asking for separate checks have an automatic gratuity added, but that’s up to the restaurant obviously (it’s typical with such a large party anyway). For your part, just appreciate the server and they’ll appreciate you back. And p.s. serving a party that large on short notice is always a trick, so cut them some slack. Or, if you’re ELV, show them some leg.

    By the way, in Vegas, STK seems to be *extremely* popular with large parties, for some reason. And with groups of ladies. That may be the Girls Night Out capital of Vegas at the moment.

  2. I say take charge of the situation and tell your constantly inebriated friends to pay up. Forget separate checks, drop what you think you owe with a nice tip, and let them fend for the rest. To be honest, if your friends were hot, guys would be buying their drinks anyway. Sorry for the blunt response, but as the song goes….the truth hurts, if your scared, go to church…

  3. I never have a problem creating separate checks. Just politely let the server know at the start of the meal so that every drink can be assigned a seat or check number throughout dinner. The computers we use now make separate checks easy and painless. At least less painful than watching people do math in their head and argue about $3.00.

  4. It’s really hard to not be condescending here. Are you really so helpless when it comes to figuring out what you ate/drank? Knowing you will be paying individually, why don’t just take out some cash before entering the restaurant? Casinos have ATM’s conveniently located every three feet or so, and if you don’t want to pay the fee, you probably passed six branches of your bank on the drive to the strip. If it means you pay an extra couple bucks here or there, be thankful for the extra 15 minutes of your evening you just gained by being prepared.

  5. Dear Sober and Sensible,

    Any server as sensible as you understands that a table of 10 ladies paying separately is better than an empty table. Taking charge of the situation (clearly your goal here) is certainly the best policy. Let them know up front about the separate checks and you’ve identified your group as having a particular need – there should be no surprises! It also wouldn’t hurt to let the group know what’s happening beforehand and the extra work involved for the server. Perhaps it will end with a more sizeable tip in the end.

    The other option of passing a check around the table and asking for everyone to figure their total usually ends up one of two ways – 1) the server getting stiffed on the tip (and holding a grudge for similiar groups in the future) or 2) some kind hearted person in the group seeing the misfortune about to happen and kicking in extra to make up for someone’s chintzyness (is that a word?)

    I’m guessing that Sober and Sensible has previously been in group in group #2…

    PS – what’s the fascination with STK? Either I’m old, not getting it, or both

  6. I have been in the service industry for quite some time. Seperate checks is a NON issue. The computer systems make it SUPER easy and can be expedited rather quickly, provided the majority of payments are by credit card or need no change. I often listen to the “gripes” or servers and tenders, it’s the same in every restaurant!! Just a reminder…. servers CHOOSE to be servers. Bartenders CHOOSE to pour liquor for a living. Take the good, take the bad or get out of the restaurant and let the ten people in line for your JOB have a shot at NOT SWEATING THE SMALL sh#@!!!!

  7. the only reason this seperate checks happen is because theres always the cheap fuck at the table wants to order up the menu and big gulp apple martinis.

    And the chick saying seperate checks is the one that does yoga, eats healthy, has one drink and in a relationship with that mans voice in her head saying. “I know what you eat, you spend maybe $20 fucking dollars, its bullshit you fucking drop $50 plus when you go out with those bitches to happy hour and that lush bitch friend of yours (whats her name, the one that jumps job to job and fucks everyone?) is big gulping apple martinis all night and ordering up the menu. Fuck that slut! Seperate checks this time. If you dont have the balls to do seperate checks then tell you poor ass friend to get a life and pay the fucking bill. And if that aint an option than those people arent friends”.

    She whispers in the waiters ear beforehand, “Excuse me sir, we will be doing seperate checks.”

    In her head saying. “Fuck, why does he always have to be right”.

    BTW… I have yet to hang out with guys that have this problem. One of two happen. 1) we take turns getting each other 2) YOu say what the fuck

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