Recently I went for a meal out in a restaurant with a small group of people. There were six of us. The restaurant was somewhat better than the usual pub style and I was very happy to be able to go. Beloved and I often went out for a meal and occasionally we treated ourselves to a fancier, classier place. Since he's been gone that's happened less and less for me, so an opportunity for a smart meal out is something I enjoy.
One of my fellow diners was new to me, that is to say I knew them but had never been to a restaurant with them.
I was sitting at one end of the table and the waitress came to me first to take my order; I gave it and chose a glass of wine to go with the meal. It honestly never occurred to me to wait and see what everybody else was having, as we were all going to pay for our meals and drinks ourselves.
Gradually I became aware that ordering took the others rather a long time and there was much discussion as to what everybody should have and which wine to choose. And the new-to-me person decided that they should choose the wine and buy a bottle rather than for everybody to have a glass of their own preference.
As I had already ordered this did not apply to me and I kept quiet. The waitress had gone and promised to be back once the table was ready to order.
Eventually the discussion ended and the meals plus a bottle of wine were duly ordered. Embarrassment over, for now.
The meal was good and we had a pleasant evening with everybody happy to talk and laugh.
Until it was time to pay up. Again my bill was relatively easy and straightforward. I paid, added my tip and awaited events.
There was now a great need for debate on how to pay; should everybody pay for their own meal and share the cost of the wine, or add up the cost of the total bills and wine; one person would pay by card; they would then get out their calculator and work out how much everybody's share came to. That also meant that everybody would have to have the exact amount of cash in their wallet to reimburse.
The waitress had disappeared once more and I was embarrassed all over again. Eventually they sorted it out somehow, I am not sure how they did it in the end. I went to the bathroom.
What would you have done? Waited and consulted everybody else? I get to go out so rarely nowadays that I feel entitled to choose my own meal and drink. I also heartily dislike the kerfuffle arising when it comes to paying. I eat and drink what I like and pay for it myself.
Right? Or bad manners?