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324. The art of Going Dutch

April 10, 2013

We often don’t realise the basic rules involved in Going Dutch. The west gets it very well and in India the concept is still evolving. The most common situations that the need to Go Dutch arises is when one is on a date, one is out on a formal lunch meeting and when one is out with friends.

This blog is for those moments when we are with friends because there are umpteen articles available for the first two scenarios. My experience tells me and the fact that most food and beverage outlets provide separate bills for alcohol and food. The best way to deal with it is to split the food cost equally among number of people and divide the alcohol cost between those who drank or based on individual consumption.

Going Dutch is different from Pot Luck because in the latter people plan in advance who brings what and there is usually no involvement of a cash transaction at the end of the meal. We often think we should not be paying as much as the other person because we just ate a salad where as all the others had a three course meal. But that is a warped argument because food is the reason we are there and meeting one another is secondary (One may argue to say this is the opposite and that meeting is the primary objective and food is just incidental – in that case meeting at a restaurant or with restaurant food that some pay for is not justified).

I write this blog because we are often faced with awkward situations that can be delicate and we don’t know the way out or find the wrong way out. The rule is simple. Whether you ate one gram of food or a whole lot the decent thing to do is to pay up equally or not be part of a gathering.

The same rule can be applied to alcoholic consumption though the common practice is that either each pays for their own unless it is someone’s treat and they are footing the entire bill. Well, it is even worse when one is the host and does not want to pay the bill because he or she is fasting. Why offer to host in that case?

I happened to be invited my the Global COO of a company for lunch once and at the end of the meal he got me to pay. No wonder he is the Global COO. This is not a crib blog but just a piece of etiquette for a process that one can refer to from time to time.

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