How to deal with a check-splitting deadbeat


All too often, when I dine with a large group of people in a restaurant that does not provide separate checks, the last person to receive the check and accumulated money finds the cash isn't enough to cover the bill. Does he then risk embarrassing members of the group by demanding more money, or pay the shortfall himself? The check-splitting deadbeat counts on the latter.

The check dodger, you see, never has the right change, accidentally forgets the second beer he ordered, and doesn't understand the concept of sharing the cost of appetizers, or taxes, or tipping. He does understand letting others cover his underpayment.

How can you deal with a check dodger?

First, try to select restaurants ahead of time that will provide separate checks. I'm always surprised when I encounter those that won't, yet automatically add a 20% gratuity. If you end up at one of these customer-unfriendly spots, ask the waiter to at least run a cash bar. A shared open bar tab is a recipe for disaster.