The Great Vegan Dilemma – Splitting Bills and Dining Out

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In an age where dietary preferences and dining etiquette continue to evolve, a recent social media post has ignited a fiery debate. The story revolves around a vegan couple who found themselves at the epicenter of a contentious dinner bill dispute. Is it fair to expect them to pay the full price for a meal in which they could only nibble on a bit of bread? Let’s delve into the details of the original post and explore the various perspectives shared on social media.

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The Vegan Predicament

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The original poster (OP) sets the stage for this culinary conundrum. OP shared that he and his wife are vegan but don’t make a fuss about it, understanding that their dietary choices may not align with everyone’s preferences. They typically manage to find something vegan-friendly when dining out or, if the options are limited, opt to have a snack before joining their friends.

The twist in the tale occurred when a friend invited them to a birthday dinner at a Brooklyn restaurant, describing it as a last-minute gathering without time for reservations.

An Impromptu Invitation

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The couple, keen to join the celebration, checked the restaurant’s online menu and discovered limited vegan options, mainly revolving around chips and guacamole, hummus, and bread. Mindful of recent financial constraints due to medical expenses, they decided to snack at home and only order drinks and appetizers at the restaurant to keep their costs in check.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, the couple was confronted with an unexpected revelation: the meal was to be served family-style, with the bill evenly divided among the approximately 15 attendees. However, the majority of dishes ordered were meat or cheese-based, leaving the vegan couple with the meager option of bread and the drinks they had ordered. Consequently, they partook in a couple of slices of bread each and two beers apiece.

Sticker Shock

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The climactic moment arrived when the friend, who had organized the gathering, sent OP a Venmo request for $120, which represented their share of the dinner. Shocked by the hefty bill, OP explained the situation to his host. OP clarified that he and his wife weren’t aware that the meal would be served family-style and that they had merely consumed drinks and some bread. In an attempt to reach an amicable resolution, OP offered to send $60 to cover their drinks and a bit extra for the bread.

However, OP’s friend’s response was far from what he anticipated. The friend expressed disappointment, asserting that OP should have disclosed his dietary preferences. In his friend’s view, it was impolite not to participate in the family-style dinner.

OP’s friend argued that everyone else had paid their fair share, and OP’s stance was perceived as cheap and selfish. He insisted that they should pay the full amount.

Perplexed, OP turned to the online community seeking advice.

Online Opinions

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Tartlet_77 criticized the bill-splitting method, stating,

“No chance I would be paying $120 for bread and beer. I bloody hate that way of splitting bills!”

This sentiment echoes the frustration many feel when splitting a bill that doesn’t account for individual preferences or dietary restrictions.

Biomax315 highlighted that OP did actually pay his fair share, stating,

“For you to pay your fair share means paying the $40 worth of food and drinks that you ordered, plus an extra ‘Happy Birthday’ $20.”

More Support For OP

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Another user, Theitguy1968, defended OP, asserting,

“The $60 you paid was over generous for a couple of beers and some bread.”

This perspective challenges the idea of social obligation and raises questions about whether generosity should be obligatory or voluntary.

SamSpayedPI, a thoughtful commentator, suggested an alternative course of action for OP.

“You should have told him when you realized that everyone was going to order family style and split the bill evenly that you and your wife wanted to be excluded since you were vegan.”

SamSpayedPI’s viewpoint brings up an interesting solution, where OP could have opted out of the shared bill, catering to his vegan preferences, and covered only his expenses.

One more voice chimed in, with Alternative-Gur-6208 sharing their disdain for shared bills. The user pointed out how shared bills can create financial imbalances and leave some diners feeling unjustly burdened.

The Verdict

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The verdict on OP’s situation and the views of commenters appears to be divided.

Some empathize with OP’s predicament, finding it unreasonable for him to be charged $120 for essentially bread and beer, particularly in light of financial constraints and last-minute changes to the dining arrangement.

Others argue that had OP communicated his and his wife’s dietary preferences and opted for a separate bill, the situation could have been avoided.

Ultimately, it highlights the need for open communication, flexibility in splitting bills, and understanding of diverse dietary preferences in social gatherings, leaving the final judgment in this case a matter of personal perspective.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

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Annika Stepanov

Annika is passionate about personal finance and travel, pouring her extensive experience into her writing on these topics. She has a diploma in Creative English Writing and has been working in the industry since 2016.