Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

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miamivice
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Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by miamivice » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:07 pm

Bogleheads,

I'm wondering if anyone here is skilled in handling the etiquette of going out to eat. Over this Thanksgiving holiday, we had some out of town guests, who stayed with us. We also hosted Thanksgiving dinner.

Well, the out of town guests decided that my wife deserved a night off from cooking, and suggested we go out to dinner instead. She thought they were taking us out to dinner, but when we all sat down and the server asked how the bill was going to be handled, it was decided by the guests that everyone would be on separate checks.

So, while it was nice that my wife had the night off cooking, I ended up with a $65 restaurant bill that I hadn't budgeted for. For those that know my financial situation, you know this won't break the bank. But at the same time, we already volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner, and I wasn't sure that we needed to go out to dinner the night before.

It rubbed me a bit the wrong way - I felt we were put in a bit of a difficult position. I wouldn't want to offend the guests by declining to go out if that's what they wanted to do. I didn't really feel that having a conversation about who pays for dinner before dinner is very good social etiquette. And I certainly don't expect others to pay for my family.

Yet, I don't want to get in the habit of unplanned meals out everytime we have out of town guests, as that will add up, and I would prefer that we not spend more due to hosting out of town guests.

I'm wondering how you and your family handles paying for meals out with regards to out of town visitors that you may be hosting.

GUtiger
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by GUtiger » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:13 pm

I always expect to pay for guests whenever they're in town; and I always pick the restaurant. On the occasions when they then offer to pay it's a welcome surprise. Conversely, when I'm a guest at someone else's house I also always expect to pay when going out to eat. Both ways I'm mentally and financially prepared!

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by BolderBoy » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:18 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:07 pm
Well, the out of town guests decided that my wife deserved a night off from cooking, and suggested we go out to dinner instead. She thought they were taking us out to dinner...
I think your wife was right to think that they were inviting you two out to dinner as their guests.

I've been backed into corners like this before and now rather pointedly clear any question in advance, "Are you inviting me/us out to dinner?"

Miss Manners would find your guests' approach to be wanting.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

student
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by student » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:44 pm

I think this is bad etiquette on their part. In any case, don't let this change your lifestyle. Next time when they are in town, you will be prepared.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:57 pm

"Let's go out to eat?"

"Great Idea. . . . . you're treat?" . . . or. . "Who's treating who?". . . .

(awkward laughter. . . )

simple. :D

JBTX
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by JBTX » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:00 pm

Generally when the group goes out multiple parties offer to pay. We are lucky that parents and siblings are all successful enough for this not to be an issue and all want to carry their share. Tonight we went out and about 15 of us ate dinner and we picked up the bill since one family prepared thanksgiving one family paid for movie tickets and wife’s parents hosted us for 3 days and paid for one other night out. There wasn’t any real orchestration of all that, it just happened.

As to OP situation I would agree the couple probably should have paid it but I wouldn’t sweat $65 for family on thanksgiving

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by LarryAllen » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:00 pm

We had similar but the out of town guests didn't reach for their wallets even so you got it good! Lol.

poker27
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by poker27 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:09 pm

if I was staying in someone’s house, I would offer to cover the tab. However if it was the opposite I really wouldn’t care. I don’t know what your financial situation is, but if $65 won’t kill you, you should let things go

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by JonnyDVM » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:34 pm

They were wrong but I would let it go. I offer to pay both as the guest and the host. Usually it works itself out after some arguing over who is going to pay.
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:35 pm

I would consider them to be inconsiderate at best, rude at worst.

If the suggestion to eat out seems to be an invitation, as in your case, rather than just an idea being kicked around, I consider that as an offer to pick up the check by whoever initiated the discussion. If I were staying in someone's home for more than a couple of nights, I would almost always make such an offer.

I would consider it gauche to discuss who pays prior to going to the restaurant except when the person doing the inviting makes it clear that they are taking the others out to dinner.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by SrGrumpy » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:40 pm

What is your guests' history in this regard? Did they pay their way in other matters at your place? Bring the booze? Gifts? Unless they specify "our treat" you should probably brace yourself for the worst: the entire check. Which you luckily avoided with the separate checks. Your guests probably think they were being generous.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by IMO » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:03 am

miamivice wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:07 pm
Yet, I don't want to get in the habit of unplanned meals out everytime we have out of town guests, as that will add up, and I would prefer that we not spend more due to hosting out of town guests.

I'm wondering how you and your family handles paying for meals out with regards to out of town visitors that you may be hosting.
As we have significant costs when we are traveling and visiting out of town family (and friends), we are very understanding of the cost/hassles that come on the travelers side for visits. For example, for a family of 3, it will have cost us $600+ for flights just to physically make it out to for the holiday/family bday, etc. Not to mention the hassles of airports and all that. This is in comparison to other family that may have the simple cost and travel expense of driving an hour. When the spouses family is even farther away and more expensive to visit, these trips can add up.

Note that we don't typically eat out at frequently as that really isn't in our budget.

So when family/friends make the physical/financial effort to visit us, I keep the above in mind because when others visit us, it saves us money in the life expense of keeping up with out of town family/friends. What we do like to do is ask what they prefer for meals/drinks and make an effort to go shopping and have those things available to make meals/drinks at home to save money. We also make sure we are there to pick them up from the airport, make arrangements to let them use one of our cars if needed, and make sure the sleeping/bathroom arrangements provide the most privacy we can provide.

But, typically when people are visiting, it is common that we try to make that one of the occasions that we go out to eat. People like to go see what's in our town, and it's common that they will want to go out for at least one meal while visiting. If it weren't in your budget to go out, just be honest (or make up a small lie about having some unexpected expenses recently). People seem to have so much social pressure against say something like, "we're really having to watch our budget closely, and we've already spend too much on eating out this month" or something like that. You can always "pre-eat" and then go and just get an appetizer, or perhaps just a drink with them. Unless it's a really formal place, it won't feel that odd to just hang out, talking with your visitors and having just a beer, or having an appetizer and some water. Odds are they want your company and want to talk with you more so than worrying about how much you're going to personally eat/drink.

It is common etiquette to offer to pay for your hosts dinner when you stay with them. If you're honest about the budget, you're guests will probably say, "no problem, dinner is on us." And it can be rude to not accept that gesture. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, then just be conscious about what you're ordering and don't order drinks as that's what seems to drive the bill higher.

However, we make it a definitive rule for guests: We tell them, we appreciate them visiting with the costs involved, and as such, we specifically tell them we don't want them paying for our meal. And perhaps if you were to visit them, they would understand that you really can't afford to buy them dinner after you've forked out for flights, etc to see them.

So I guess what I'm trying to convey is that probably out of town family/friends really don't visit that often, and it should be seen as a positive thing vs. making it a negative thing. (Just ask someone who has moved to Hawaii how often people actually even come visit when everyone says they will be visiting.) Everyone seems to have an "eat out" amount in their budgets, so perhaps just plan to use your eat out budget when you are fortunate to have family/friends visit you.

If these guests are not people you really want in your home, (perhaps inlaws you don't like?), then just tell them it's not in your budget and perhaps offer them use of your car to go have dinner with your recommendation on a restaurant. Why go to dinner if with them or have them at your house if you don't want them as guests?

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by darrvao777 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:37 am

I typically almost always offer to pay (either as the host or the guest)

If the other side really fights me on it, I'll let them treat.

If they ask to split it, perfect.

If not, I'm used to treating.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by eye.surgeon » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:56 am

Remember you're saving and investing to allow you to enjoy life. At the end of your life, are you going to want that $65 or the friendship of those people?
"I would rather be certain of a good return than hopeful of a great one" | Warren Buffett

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by rocket354 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:10 am

miamivice wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:07 pm

I'm wondering how you and your family handles paying for meals out with regards to out of town visitors that you may be hosting.
I can't claim to be skilled in etiquette, but I agree with your wife. Given the circumstances, I would have assumed they were treating. Not knowing the larger flow of your relationship (eg, old friends who would treat you and/or have treated you many times), I also in many circumstances would have expected them to pay for a meal or have offered some similar token of appreciation.

That they didn't, I can conclude one of a couple things: 1) they view your relationship as close enough that these types of things will even out in the long run and are very willing to return the favor at some point, 2) they are somewhat selfish/manipulative/opportunistic.

I have a similar story that illustrates point #2: I had a free two nights in a swanky hotel in my town ($300+/night). I gave them to a friend for his parents to come visit in style. This required me to drive 30 mins each way to check in under my name and give them the key card and trust them in the room under my name. When I got there, meeting them for the first time, they invited me to dinner. I went, ordered a very reasonable dish at a relatively modest restaurant...and was surprised when the check came and they split the check with very deliberate looks in my direction. Came to realize in my time interacting with them that they're just a family of self-absorbed misers, and that they would never return any favor in any circumstance. They take what they can get, and then move on to the next opportunity.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Gnirk » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:15 am

Whenever we are guests, we always treat our hosts to dinner out at least once, if not more. We have a snowbird home, and have several couples who stay a week or more with us every year. Most, but not all, of our guests treat us to dinner out. Those who don’t are as well off as we are, but have a very entitled outlook on life. Let’s just say our hospitality is becoming less available to them.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by bigred77 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:25 am

My wife and I hosted thanksgiving this year for 17 people including 5 overnight guests for multiple nights. The cost of everything was paid for by us (and man was it more than I expected). We also went out to dinner on Wed and everyone split checks. I was just happy the bill didn’t get set down in the middle of the table and everyone pretend they don’t see it until I pick it up, which happens more often than I appreciate.

I think it’s just expectations and family history. I would be mindful of it, many bogleheads would be mindful of it, but many people are just not thinking about it (or are just inconsiderate). I try to stay positive and just be thankful can pay for these things in stride.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by TwstdSista » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:00 am

I disagree -- I would assume we were splitting the check.

We have a friend who visits us so often that we nicknamed our spare bedroom "Friend's room". When she visits alone, we pick up the tab for most meals out when it's just the three of us and we do separate checks when we meet up with other friends (she grew up here and we get together with lots of people).

And when she visits with her husband (and/or kids), we almost always split the check.

The funny thing about this line of thinking for me is that I'm a natural "mooch". I tend to always want them to pay, but it never occurred to me that she should should pay for all of our meals....

(We also get together with other couples throughout the year and we always split the check)

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snackdog
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by snackdog » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:53 am

I hope you presented them with a bill for half the Thanksgiving food and drink. I had a friend who used to do this at dinner parties he hosted. People were horrified yet they paid up. He was cheap as hell, despite owning a Rolls-Royce.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by denovo » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:00 am

Are these friends? Relatives? When you have gone out together before what was the custom?
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WillRetire
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by WillRetire » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:03 am

miamivice wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:07 pm
... the out of town guests decided that my wife deserved a night off from cooking, and suggested we go out to dinner instead.
He who suggests it [going out to eat] pays for it. The guests who suggested it should have paid.

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msi
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by msi » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:08 am

You handled it just fine. They're the ones who should have offered.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by stemikger » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:30 am

msi wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:08 am
You handled it just fine. They're the ones who should have offered.
I agree! The way they proposed the idea was it was their way of showing their appreciation to your wife and you for hosting Thanksgiving. What they did was tacky, there is no other word for it. At the very least they should have taken you out, no questions asked.

I'm the wrong one to ask because I really hate cheap people or nervy people. It sounds like they fit the bill on both. I am a big sport to a fault, but I also don't appreciate the gaul of what they did. Sorry for being so blunt, but they should be embarrassed.
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Wildebeest » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:48 am

miamivice wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:07 pm
Bogleheads,

I'm wondering if anyone here is skilled in handling the etiquette of going out to eat. Over this Thanksgiving holiday, we had some out of town guests, who stayed with us. We also hosted Thanksgiving dinner.

Well, the out of town guests decided that my wife deserved a night off from cooking, and suggested we go out to dinner instead. She thought they were taking us out to dinner, but when we all sat down and the server asked how the bill was going to be handled, it was decided by the guests that everyone would be on separate checks.

So, while it was nice that my wife had the night off cooking, I ended up with a $65 restaurant bill that I hadn't budgeted for. For those that know my financial situation, you know this won't break the bank. But at the same time, we already volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner, and I wasn't sure that we needed to go out to dinner the night before.

It rubbed me a bit the wrong way - I felt we were put in a bit of a difficult position. I wouldn't want to offend the guests by declining to go out if that's what they wanted to do. I didn't really feel that having a conversation about who pays for dinner before dinner is very good social etiquette. And I certainly don't expect others to pay for my family.

Yet, I don't want to get in the habit of unplanned meals out everytime we have out of town guests, as that will add up, and I would prefer that we not spend more due to hosting out of town guests.

I'm wondering how you and your family handles paying for meals out with regards to out of town visitors that you may be hosting.
I would have felt the same way were I in your wife's and your shoes.

We solved it by driving the bus: Guests who come are typically invited and we make clear how long they are going to stay and what is on the schedule as dinner plans and that we will pay when we are going out to dinner. If they are here for more that a couple of days than we will suggest they might want to go out one or two night to dinner by themselves and offer suggestions as to what restaurants they might like.

In spite of this we still go through the awkward fighting for the check. We often end giving the credit card to the waiter when we first get to the restaurant to make sure the bill does not make it to the table at the end of the dinner.

In spite of having these boundaries, it remains challenging. We had invited my sister and brother and law and were surprised to find out that they were coming for two weeks to stay with us and one week in Manhattan and they wanted us to take at least a week off to spend with them( we declined spending a week in NYC with them). I will take the week off, because we do not know how long we all be in good health, and we will not visiting them this year( different continents).

My suggestion is not to invite this couple again if it leaves a bad taste in your mouth ( I assume it is not the $ 65, that really matters to you it is the feeling taking advantage off)
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

mouses
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by mouses » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:52 am

If I invite people out to dinner, I am always sure to include "My treat." Then we argue a bit about who paid previously etc., and decide who pays for this one. Everyone is always trying to pay, so there is no mooching and this works out well.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by gclancer » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:10 am

Assuming you’re accurately recalling what transpired, the out of town guests should have absolutely paid, no further conversation needed. When this sort of thing happens to me I’ll tell third-party friends/family later and they’ll inevitably act like I’m crazy for thinking the out of town guests should have paid so I’m apparently a bad data point to rely on.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Lonestarz » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:00 am

Our rule is if you’re staying at someone’s house for free you take them out to dinner as a thanks (still way cheaper than buying a hotel). If you can’t afford to travel, maybe you shouldn’t go? Or if it’s a family event at least make it known that you would like to go but you didn’t budget for it and look for a handout. (I have some siblings with good but low paying jobs that I wouldn’t mind gifting a ticket too but others who would make the holidays better by being absent)

In any case, $65 is a cheap cost for insight into this person. If we were ever invited out to someplace that was over our budget or where we didn’t want to spend the money - I’m sure we would find a nice way to clarify the arrangement. Otherwise, just go with the flow and gossip with your SO after they are gone.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by TwstdSista » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:08 am

Wow. This thread is eye opening.... If I make the choice to host out of town guests, they are required to buy me dinner. Huh?

Nope, I refuse. Mooching off of my friends is not acceptable. I value them too much.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by staythecourse » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:34 am

So interesting on how social "norms" are never "normal". My wife and I stick to the hosts host. Meaning if you stay with us we pay. If we go out to dinner or anything we pay. Luckily, Our family and friends are in the same frame of thinking. Interesting to see if there would be any changes if one side was gaining more then the other. Likely, we just wouldn't be hanging out with them as much.

Not to side track the thread is how many different ways friend couples split bills when going out to dinner. We all tend to split it evenly. That was very nice by a few of our friends who were childless at the time we had 2 kids.

Good luck.
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:38 am

I just try to be as generous as possible. I personally would hate to host them in my home and that would be the deal breaker for me.
Last edited by Dottie57 on Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:40 am

TwstdSista wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:08 am
Wow. This thread is eye opening.... If I make the choice to host out of town guests, they are required to buy me dinner. Huh?

Nope, I refuse. Mooching off of my friends is not acceptable. I value them too much.

I don't think that is the consensus... Or at-least i hope it isn't.

When we host people. my wife has a meal plan.. and its posted. It might include meals out, it might not. if the hosts plan it, then the hosts should plan on paying.

I've been in the Ops position, where we have a plan, then the guests suggest going out to give my wife a break, and then they either want to go dutch, or expect us to pick up the tab because we picked up the tab for something we planned for.

I'm frustrated too when this happens.

My family is blessed with more than enough. We typically pay when people are here, and we typically try to pay when we stay with people.

It just isn't appreciated when you get voluntold to do something that isn't your plan.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by dbr » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:44 am

It depends on what was actually said. In this situation "Why don't we eat out?" clearly means everyone pays and "Let's take you out to dinner." means they are treating. If I were the guest I would treat and I would be clear that was the plan. The default for non-family groups would always be that everybody pays unless someone offers otherwise from the get-go. Yes, a possible option as well is for the hosts to treat everyone if that is clear from the beginning as forcing guests into an unplanned expensive meal is also inappropriate. Most guests should have brought some measure of "hostess gifts" as well.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:52 am

That's a tough one. You could split up the cost of the Thanksgiving dinner and send them a bill :P (including lodging)
This isn't one I would worry about or hold a grudge. You might do the same thing if you have a holiday at their place though if they think that's kosher.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:55 am

JonnyDVM wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:34 pm
They were wrong but I would let it go. I offer to pay both as the guest and the host. Usually it works itself out after some arguing over who is going to pay.
Solid advice. You can nitpick what they did wrong or you misunderstood and make yourself mad and resentful or you can go with the flow and have a good time. Always good to remember you control yourself not others.
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TheTimeLord
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:01 am

TwstdSista wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:08 am
Wow. This thread is eye opening.... If I make the choice to host out of town guests, they are required to buy me dinner. Huh?

Nope, I refuse. Mooching off of my friends is not acceptable. I value them too much.
I think the question was if you of town guests invite you out to dinner. And to be honest the expectation of who pays depends more on the wording of the invite instead of the fact they suggested you go out. If they said "Hey, let's eat out tonight instead" I would assume we would be splitting the check. If they said "You guys worked hard making us Thanksgiving dinner let's go out tonight" I would assume they were picking up the check, but wouldn't be shocked if they wanted to split it. If they said "Let us take you to a restaurant tonight" then I expect them to pick up the check and would find it a touch cheeky if they didn't.
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by TwstdSista » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:10 am

I keep seeing posts about how the guests were "wrong" and how the hosts has a "plan". No. Just no.

Are people that inflexible? If I host out of town guests, then they are near and dear to me. I do not host people I do not like. And out of town guests require some flexibility. They may have plans that do not align with my own, and that should be okay. They are allowed to have their own ideas of what this trip will entail.

If I choose to make Thanksgiving dinner, it was a choice I made. I do not expect my guests to reciprocate in any way. I merely hope they enjoy themselves. If they suggest going out to dinner, I expect to at least split the bill. I might even pick up the whole tab, depending on the circumstances. My friends are not obligated to pay my way simply because I chose to make dinner the night before or because this isn't in the "plan". My friends are not required to eat out of my kitchen for the duration of their trip. And if I can't be flexible enough to go out to eat, then give them the car keys and wish them a delightful dinner.

I'm sorry, but inflexibility with guests and tit-for-tat on who pays for what is just not how I choose to spend my time with my friends. (that being said -- a constant moocher would soon no longer be a friend....)

jaqueisse
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by jaqueisse » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:21 am

Really don't know all the details of what happened here. Who picked the restaurant? Quite possible that they did have the intention of paying, but the restaurant chosen gave some sticker shock, which led into this situation...

Nowizard
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Nowizard » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:59 am

Inconsiderate from where I sit. Clearly, we would take a guest (s) out in the situation you describe, state we were going to pay the bill and ask the hosts to choose a restaurant, knowing they were more familiar with their locality than we. We would also assume we knew the host well enough that nothing would need to be said about the cost of the restaurant chosen since we would state something like,"Why not take us to your favorite restaurant," a comment that could lead to expensive or moderate, or "Why not take us to a restaurant you would not normally go to" which would signal no concern about the price point. Alternatively, we might say, "Let's go out for a restaurant serving a little lighter fare than we had for Thanksgiving." All would be prefaced by our stating it was our treat, probably with additional comments that it did not begin to cover their efforts in hosting us.

Tim

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rocket354
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by rocket354 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:37 pm

TwstdSista wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:10 am
I'm sorry, but inflexibility with guests and tit-for-tat on who pays for what is just not how I choose to spend my time with my friends. (that being said -- a constant moocher would soon no longer be a friend....)
I'm guessing most people, even those you may feel you disagree with, have more or less this attitude. I think underlying this whole scenario is really "what type of people are these, friends or mooches?"

That said, if someone hosted me and served me Thanksgiving, even if it's my sister (and from my viewpoint, especially if it's my sister), and I was going to suggest going out to eat then I would definitely pay. The guests in this scenario might not have had an obligation to pay for dinner, but in those circumstances saying "hey, take a break from cooking, let's all go out!" can very reasonably be interpreted as an offer to treat and so was fairly tone-deaf, at best. I hope for the OP's sake they are good people who would happily return the hosting/cooking favor at a future point in time.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by dm200 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:52 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:07 pm
Bogleheads,
I'm wondering if anyone here is skilled in handling the etiquette of going out to eat. Over this Thanksgiving holiday, we had some out of town guests, who stayed with us. We also hosted Thanksgiving dinner.
Well, the out of town guests decided that my wife deserved a night off from cooking, and suggested we go out to dinner instead. She thought they were taking us out to dinner, but when we all sat down and the server asked how the bill was going to be handled, it was decided by the guests that everyone would be on separate checks.
So, while it was nice that my wife had the night off cooking, I ended up with a $65 restaurant bill that I hadn't budgeted for. For those that know my financial situation, you know this won't break the bank. But at the same time, we already volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner, and I wasn't sure that we needed to go out to dinner the night before.
It rubbed me a bit the wrong way - I felt we were put in a bit of a difficult position. I wouldn't want to offend the guests by declining to go out if that's what they wanted to do. I didn't really feel that having a conversation about who pays for dinner before dinner is very good social etiquette. And I certainly don't expect others to pay for my family.
Yet, I don't want to get in the habit of unplanned meals out everytime we have out of town guests, as that will add up, and I would prefer that we not spend more due to hosting out of town guests.
I'm wondering how you and your family handles paying for meals out with regards to out of town visitors that you may be hosting.
To me, this is strange indeed. It would be one thing, perhaps, if this was your idea ... (maybe). Actually, you were lucky the bill for you was only $65. it almost sounds like some kind of "miscommunication" among the "guests" OR some kind of great (perhaps cultural) misunderstanding.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:18 pm

Given OP's past posts about his family's finances, they wouldn't have decided on their own to eat out on their own, largely because of the cost. Not that one meal out breaks their budget, but because they have a budget and have prioritized many other things over paying people to prepare and serve their meal. So the restaurant meal may have seemed like a "break" to the guests, but it felt like an unexpected bill to OP, who would have preferred the extra work to the extra expense. I'm not sure what the price difference was between the meal OP had planned at home, for 4, and the price of OP and wife's meal at the restaurant. Less than $65, greater than $0.

I agree that the guests should not suggested going out without either a) planning to treat the hosts or b) clearly stating that each couple would be on their own. But it's a minor sin. Maybe they felt uncomfortable watching OP's wife work, and thought they could all relax more if someone else were doing the work.

Chalk it up to lessons learned and communicate better next time.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:38 pm

I was responding to the wrong thread. Next time suggest fast food. We were dining at Carl’s Junior the night before the holidays.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:45 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:38 pm
I was responding to the wrong thread. Next time suggest fast food. We were dining at Carl’s Junior the night before the holidays.
Yeah! Two competing threads on the same issue. Vexing. Where's a moderator when you need one?

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by cfs » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:35 pm

Duplicate conversations?

What's going on?

But anyway, I already replied on the other side, so, copy and paste follows:

"This is a good time to show some class and to give everyone a life lesson. I collect all the separate bills and then I pull the stack of $20s I have parked in my wallet and pay ALL of them in cash. Wishing you a Merry Christmas. Thanks for reading."
~ Member of the Active Retired Force since 2014 ~

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:45 pm

cfs wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:35 pm
Duplicate conversations?

What's going on?

But anyway, I already replied on the other side, so, copy and paste follows:

"This is a good time to show some class and to give everyone a life lesson. I collect all the separate bills and then I pull the stack of $20s I have parked in my wallet and pay ALL of them in cash. Wishing you a Merry Christmas. Thanks for reading."
Apparently somebody requested separate checks, er, threads.

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cfs
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by cfs » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:46 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:45 pm
cfs wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:35 pm
Duplicate conversations?

What's going on?

But anyway, I already replied on the other side, so, copy and paste follows:

"This is a good time to show some class and to give everyone a life lesson. I collect all the separate bills and then I pull the stack of $20s I have parked in my wallet and pay ALL of them in cash. Wishing you a Merry Christmas. Thanks for reading."
Apparently somebody requested separate checks, er, threads.
Ha!
~ Member of the Active Retired Force since 2014 ~

theplayer11
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by theplayer11 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:54 pm

cheapos...anytime you stay at someone's house, IMO you should pay for a meal. Saying your wife needed a break from cooking and still not picking up the check is ridiculous.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by KlangFool » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:12 pm

Folks,

I will play devil advocate here.

A) Guest that flew in had lived in a 200K house.

B) Hosted by OP with a big expensive 850K house.

C) Guest used up most of their budget in paying for the plane ticket.

D) Obviously, OP is a lot richer than the guest by the size of the house.

E) So, what is the big deal for the OP to pay for the meal?

This is one of the problems of living in a big expensive house. Everyone assumes that you are rich enough to pay for everything.

KlangFool

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Wildebeest
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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by Wildebeest » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:45 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:12 pm
Folks,

I will play devil advocate here.

A) Guest that flew in had lived in a 200K house.

B) Hosted by OP with a big expensive 850K house.

C) Guest used up most of their budget in paying for the plane ticket.

D) Obviously, OP is a lot richer than the guest by the size of the house.

E) So, what is the big deal for the OP to pay for the meal?

This is one of the problems of living in a big expensive house. Everyone assumes that you are rich enough to pay for everything.

KlangFool
A lot of assumptions on Klangfool's A to E.

Say he is correct, my experience has been the opposite: that the richer people are, the more tight they are with their money ( sometimes I wonder if that is how they got rich, they hate spending money) so if the guests were poor, they would have been more generous.

My bet is the house guests could easily afford to pay for dinner for Mr and Mrs Miamivice. The guests are just cheap and/or tone deaf and are not impressed by miamivice's wealth.

I share Klangfool's sentiment though that living a big expensive house make everybody assume you are rich and should pay, but not necessarily for dinner.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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Re: Etiquette question: Paying for meals out & out of town guests

Post by 123 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:45 pm

If the guest suggests we go out to dinner and then doesn't pick up the entire bill and provide hospitality to the "host" it strikes me that maybe they are saying (implied) that they didn't like the food the host provides and maybe going out to eat with everyone providing for their own meal would be better. I just see a deeper insult.
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